Dead tracks prompt Jayawardene to bat for bowlers
After more than 800 runs were plundered in the first ODI in Rajkot, Mahela Jayawardene has called for lifting restrictions on bowlers, including relaxing the one-bouncer-an-over rule and leniency in the definition of a wide in ODIs.
"I have always been critical of the fact that bowlers now have to bowl in the 'strike zone' basically," Jayawardene said ahead of the second one-dayer in Nagpur. "You can't bowl down the leg side. Anything outside the off stump is a wide.
"With the Power Plays and all the restrictions it's important we give bowlers leverage as well. Another option would be to give them another bouncer. Give them two bouncers an over. Restrictions are probably easing up and have given them a bit more in third Power Play. But we need to balance it out a bit more."
It has been a batsman-dominated tour so far, with big runs scored in the Tests and Twenty20s. In the first ODI on Tuesday, Sri Lanka fell three short of overhauling India's 414, which would have made it the second-highest successful chase ever.
Jayawardene expected plenty of runs in Nagpur as well but said the bigger size of the ground should make the totals lower than in the first ODI. "It was a really good wicket at Rajkot. It was a fast outfield and smaller ground. History shows it's a high scoring ground," he said. "Here it's a bigger ground but a really good wicket as well. We need to adjust to that and to the different combinations. It's a fresh start."
India's batting unit is working well and the loss of three first-choice bowlers - Muttiah Muralitharan, Thilan Thushara and Dilhara Fernando - to injury adds to Sri Lanka's worries. Jayawardene, though, was confident the replacement bowlers would step up. "I don't see a problem. Obviously injuries in the past have taken good players away from us but we have not stopped playing or winning. It's a good opportunity for another guy to show what he's capable of."