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England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Edgbaston

Jayasuriya could yet play in second Test

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

May 21, 2006

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With the pitch at Edgbaston expected to turn, Sri Lanka could yet opt for Sanath Jayasuriya's slow-left-arm spin © Getty Images
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After his side drew with Sussex on a rain-affected final day at Hove, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has said Sanath Jayasuriya is still in the equation to play in the second Test against England at Edgbaston on Thursday, after the two openers in contention for a place failed to come up with any outstanding contributions.

With Jehan Mubarak making 26, and Michael Vandort scratching scores of 44 and 1, the door to Jayasuriya making a comeback to Test cricket has not been shut completely.

"None of the guys had a good outing," Jayawardene said after the game. "It is still open for us to do exactly what we want to do. Sanath is still in the picture. Depending on how the pitch is going to play everyone is in the picture.

"What we wanted to do was to give the young guys the opportunity because they are the ones who came with the original squad. The selectors sent Sanath to use him at our discretion for the Tests. He is there for the one-dayers," he said.

Jayawardene admitted he was disappointed with the performances of Mubarak and Vandort. "Mubarak threw his wicket away after starting so well in the first innings on a pitch like that. It was a very good pitch to bat on," he said. "Vandy, as well, got a 40 and got out. Those are opportunities that they should get their hands on and make sure they perform."

With the pitch at Edgbaston expected to be conducive to spin, Jaywardene admitted that Jayasuriya's slow-left-arm spin could sway the selectors into picking him.

"Sanath [has] been having net sessions since he arrived here. With his experience I am sure if he is called upon to do a job he is capable enough to do it. He's that kind of a person. It is not a problem," he said.

Jayawardene had reason to be satisfied with the bowling of Lasith Malinga, who missed out in the first Test, and the form of middle-order batsmen Tilan Samaraweera and Chamara Kapugedera. Both made hundreds along with opener Upul Tharanga.



'Every time Lasith Malinga has played, he has shown a lot of character' © Getty Images
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"Malinga has been pushing us a lot in this tour. Every time he played he's been showing us a lot of character. At the end of the Lord's Test I said [we] needed to figure out a way of getting 20 wickets. If Malinga is going to be the answer, so be it," said Jayawardene. With the middle-order also getting runs Jayawardene said another option available to them was to elevate one of the middle-order batsmen to open the innings, thus playing five bowlers.

"But if the wicket is going to be turning then we can go with three quicks and two spinners," he said. "If it is flat, Malinga probably has a better chance of getting wickets. He actually does not need any assistance from the pitch to get wickets.

"The only problem we have with him is if it is a seaming wicket he does not hit the seam so there is no movement for him whereas Nuwan Zoysa and Nuwan Kulasekera can be effective.

"If the guys are in form it's fine. We'll make the tough decisions. Some guys will be disappointed but that's how it is. Only 11 can play. We have to make sure that the best balanced combination plays," he said.

Persistent rain ruled out the chance of reserve wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene making a claim for a place. "We were looking forward to bat him at No. 4 in this match today because he has been getting a lot of runs for us in the county games, but unfortunately he could not get an opportunity. It puts Prasanna out of the equation," he said.

He added that Tillakaratne Dilshan had recovered from his mild hamstring injury and would be fit for the second Test.

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