ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group A, World Cup 2011, Mumbai

Jayawardene happy to be out of Sri Lanka

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 16, 2011

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Kumar Sangakkara in pursuit of Mahela Jayawardene, World Cup, Mumbai, March 15, 2011
Mahela Jayawardene is enjoying some of the games and team activities Sri Lanka have had since reaching Mumbai © AFP
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Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka vice-captain, has said travelling away from Sri Lanka has allowed the team to spend more time together, away from the distractions they face back home. Sri Lanka played their first five group games at home, but have travelled to Mumbai for their sixth match, against New Zealand on Friday.

"When we are at home as a team there are so many things that are happening; we hardly spend time together," Jayawardene told PTI. "When we were in Kandy and Hambantota, we spent some quality time. But, when we are in Colombo there is something or the other happening. We only practice, come back and everyone goes away.

"When we came to India, we had a couple of really good days when we played some games together and had some activities. It's a good thing for the team as well to come out of Sri Lanka and bond together, and analyse a bit more as a team what we need to do."

Tillakaratne Dilshan had said after Sri Lanka's win against Zimbabwe that playing at the Wankhede Stadium would give the team an opportunity to get a feel for the stadium, which will host the World Cup final. Jayawardene echoed those statements, saying playing on different conditions was good preparation for the games ahead.

"The wicket here is probably slightly different; a bit more flat I guess. The ground seems to be smaller, as well, than the ones we play on at home. But we have to adjust."

New Zealand will be missing their captain Daniel Vettori and experienced fast bowler Kyle Mills for the match, but Jayawardene said that would not affect them much because they are a side who concentrate on the team effort. "I think those two guys probably are the senior-most bowlers in their line-up. But of what I have seen of New Zealand, they always play as a unit. Individuals come out and perform but they always play as a team. Especially with Daniel and Mills not being there, they might get together and have a different game plan against us."

While both teams have already qualified for the quarter-finals, the match will play a role in deciding what position they finish at in the group, thus deciding who they will face in the next round. Finishing in the top two could mean avoiding playing South Africa or India, who are both among the tournament favourites, but Jayawardene was not too bothered about who Sri Lanka's opponents would be.

"We can't pick and choose who we want to play in the quarter-finals. We have spoken very little about it because there are a lot of equations. We want to concentrate on the New Zealand game and finish high up in our group. We have prepared for the World Cup knowing we can go all the way and win it. So for us to do that we have to play anybody; that's our attitude."

The statistics suggest Sri Lanka are the clear favourites to win the clash. In the last five years, they have beaten New Zealand in seven of their ten completed one-day matches. They have been in much better form coming into the World Cup, with a win-loss ratio of 1.80 in ODIs in the last two years compared to New Zealand's 0.73. Jayawardene, though, wasn't reading too much into those numbers.

"In this tournament we have seen on a given day anyone can beat anybody. It's a very open tournament, and it's important how you get yourself into a rhythm now, especially given the fact we have come to the business part of the tournament. So you want to try and execute what you want to execute, and brush up on areas which you want to brush up."

While New Zealand have confirmed the absence of two of their main bowlers from the match, Sri Lanka are yet to have settled on a bowling combination. So far in the tournament, they have shuffled the bowlers around, with everyone in the squad apart from Dilhara Fernando having been given a game. Jayawardene said the trend would continue against New Zealand.

"We have so many options with our bowling attack. The batting seems pretty much sorted, but with the bowlers, we have played them according to conditions and opposition. It has worked for us. We will see what is going to be the best combination to play New Zealand."

Jayawardene's own World Cup has dwindled a bit after a century in Sri Lanka's opening match, against Canada. He was out cheaply against Pakistan, and has not really had a chance to spend time at the wicket since. He said he had been hitting the ball well in the nets and was hoping to get the opportunity to bat for a long period of time.

"Hopefully I can spend some time out in the middle [against New Zealand] because I haven't had the chance to bat in the last two games. Against Pakistan I got a very good one from Shoaib [Akhtar]; he delivers one of those on a few occasions. Against Australia I got run out after a great start. The other two games I did not get a knock. I would love to spend some more time in the middle before the quarter-finals.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 45 
Posted by   on (March 18, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

Now we feel the importatance of Jayasuriya. His absent in this world cup will definately cost Sri Lanka.

At the Moment only Dilshan and Sangakkara are maintainig good rate. We cant expect much from Mahela since he perfoms well only for WEAK TEAMS.During Last tour to Australia he couldnt scored total of 30 runs in THREE INNINGS.. During this world cup also no any contribution against strong teams like Pakistan and Australia...

If srilanken want to go to the final they shouldnt much expect from mahela as he always fail for strong teams..They should send someoneto bat like Thisara or Angello after two wikets fall...

Posted by dhpr111 on (March 17, 2011, 19:40 GMT)

Indian played all their games @ home.Yep first match they played in Bangladesh.But they also a host.But Sri Lanka has to play away from the home with New Zealand.y z dat?It is fair if Sri Lanka play with Bangladesh or India.But with another country that is clearly unfair.

Posted by InsideHedge on (March 17, 2011, 18:59 GMT)

Jayawardene (and Sanga) like to have everything their own way. After India's warm-up game against Oz (when it spun), and Lanka's game against the might Canadians on a fresh track, Jaya'dene was quoted as saying the Blore track was "unfair". Apparently, it spun too much according to him. Now, the Wankhede track is too flat and the ground is rather small. Oh Dear.

Listen Jaya, you used up all your luck against Canada when you were OUT, umm like twice. And I'm sure you'd rather not play India in India. Bilateral head to heads *in* India is overwhelmingly in favour of India. Lanka have never won a Test or a ODI series in India. Yes, you'd better win against NZ and try to avoid India. But then if Windies beat India (not by a huge margin), SA beat Bangla then India may well place 3rd in their group. Your worst fears will have come true. Best not worry about it then.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2011, 14:02 GMT)

Great attitude SL, lets get the win!!

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (March 17, 2011, 13:26 GMT)

SL will face SA in the QF in Colombo. That will end SA's progress.

Posted by Amu123 on (March 17, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

"get a feel of the stadium which hosts the final"?? guess 1st SL has to pull their socksup,,, coz, if they lose to NZ, they are going to be 4th in group A which means they would face SA in QF, which means road ends for SL!!! They have not up to now lived up to the favourites tag,,, it would be nice to see someone otherthan Sangakara or Jayawardena perform against a tougher opponent....

Posted by sandunsba on (March 17, 2011, 11:32 GMT)

so where should India play against Bangladesh match? two host countries play that match.if they play that match in srilanka you can tell that india and banladesh miss the opportunity.here srilanka have to play with new zealand.new zealand isnt a hoat country.those who comment hvnt general knowledge.

Posted by ranga_s on (March 17, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

i think the point is that in this game SL is a host nation and NZ isn't where as India and Bangladesh both were hosts..In that game any team will lose the advantage and since Opening Ceremony was in BAN its fair the clash was there the next day..Financial wise it would have been great if this game was held in colombo with a jam packed stadium of 40000 ppl...I doubt 40000 or even half of that would turn out there in Mumbai to watch this game...Could have realised if the game was between SL V IND or SL V BAN... But in this case has to say bad management....But still not much of issue....There's a ground in Mumbai...and Balls and Bats will be used...so nothing new to international players....Vettori big loss for Kiwis...But I feel Tuffey can prove a better choice than Mills as SL would prefer Mills over Tuffey....Even still SL hold the edge..by fair few margin...

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (March 17, 2011, 9:58 GMT)

They should play the same combination as they did with Aussies. Try the 3 spinners and see how it goes. They didn't had to bowl in tandom due to the wash out. Select the 3 spinners and see whether they can destroy a solid batting line up.

Posted by ASub on (March 17, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

I think its good for the team itself to play on other grounds then there home. It will give them good preparation for the final stages of the game.

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