August 1, 2010

India not as aggressive as a No.1 team should be

It was disappointing to note that India did not go for an early declaration to make a game of the second Test. However, the third Test should produce a result on a livelier wicket

The most talked-about factor of the second Test was the pitch. The last one-and-a-half days may have made for dull cricket, but it was probably a better pitch than the ones we have played the last two to three SSC Tests on. It had more bounce, and the previous pitches kept getting slower and slower, and by the fourth and fifth day, the ball wouldn't even get up to your knees. The spinner didn't have anything, but this pitch gave the spinners some bounce.

But it just was a good wicket to bat on. You needed extraordinary bowlers to take wickets on this pitch. Probably that's why there weren't many wickets. At the same time both sides had quality batsmen, you had to take that into account as well. You shouldn't blame the pitch too much.

We probably need a bit more sporting pitches. One way of doing is to probably leave a bit of more moisture on, and not put those sponges on everyday. That's something they can think of, especially looking at the SSC pitch, so that it's not too dry: just leave a bit of moisture from the morning covers. I was happy there was bounce in that wicket, which we never had. We just need a bit more liveliness. If we can manage that, given the current bounce and pace, the SSC could become one of the best pitches in the island.

We shouldn't forget that we had still managed to exert a lot of pressure on India. Until we dropped Sachin Tendulkar, a follow-on was a distinct possibility. But Prasanna Jayawardene is probably the best wicketkeeper going around. Anybody can make a mistake. Unfortunately it was Tendulkar, and he made us pay for it.

He had Suresh Raina with him for company. We were all surprised he was not in the line-up earlier. Raina is a wonderful player. He now knows the feeling of a scoring a Test hundred. It took me three or four matches to get a hundred, and it is important to know that feeling. You know that you are good enough. Then you get hungry for that feeling all the time.

Overall we were quite happy with the way we played the Test. We were dominant, our bowlers bowled well in tough conditions, and created more opportunities than India's line-up did. We put a lot of pressure on their top order. We are quite happy that we were very consistent with bat and ball. We had a few fielding lapses, but I think we can take lot of heart from this.

We probably need a bit more sporting pitches. One way of doing is to probably leave a bit of more moisture on, and not put those sponges on everyday

We also had to go a bit easy on our bowling. Lasith Malinga wasn't a 100%, and Chanaka Welegedara wasn't in the greatest of rhythm. Even though he dismissed Virender Sehwag twice in Galle, we decided a week's work with the coaching staff will get his rhythm back. At the same time, playing two Tests in 12 days is not easy.

We are looking forward to the next match. We know we are playing the No. 1 team in the world, we are 1-0 up, and we know they didn't create any opportunities in the second Test. I was disappointed. I thought they might go for an early declaration and make a game out of it, which they didn't. I felt that they are not as aggressive as a No. 1 team should be. Hopefully we can take the upper hand and get a good start to the third Test.

The pitch at the P Sara Oval will have a bit more movement. It's usually livelier than the SSC. It will probably have more spin as well, on the fourth and fifth day of the Test. It will get slower towards the latter part, but it will be a result-orientated wicket.

A result is exactly what we are looking at, even though we now know we will not become No. 1 even if we win the series 2-0. It's not a big issue. Mentally you cannot go in that frame of mind of just protecting your lead, especially against a side like India. It's important that we play aggressive cricket. Even in the previous Test we went for the kill. The only way you can play good cricket is when you bowl the first ball or face the first ball, you know you are going for a win. As long as we know we have beaten a No. 1 team in a Test series, it would be a feather in our cap.

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is the country's leading Test run-scorer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Xpert on August 7, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    I think Mahela might just have spoken too soon. Also, one more thing - Mahela seems to be a serial cheater. He claims catches which actually aren't. He cheated by claiming a catch of M.Vijay. This was the second such 'catch' claimed by Mahela in the series. Is it not a huge shame that the Sri Lankans seem to be popularising the art of cheating either through dubious bowling actions or appealing for catches that have not been cleanly taken?

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    I hope you are happy today Jaya... And NRR of 3.08 is not aggressive either, especially when you bat first on a subcontinent wicket (that too in Sri-Lanka ), and neither is strike rate of 36.36

  • PADDY on August 3, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    India is waste in cricket :P

  • Manan on August 2, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Thanks a lot Jaya... I hope indian players read this article and answer all these questions to you over the next five days.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    Dear Mahela / SL fans!

    ur team couldn't win cause u dropped one R we to be blamed for it? do u want the 9 Indian players who are in the dressing area to field along with u?

    ur team has lost some important bowlers....what about the Indian team? Have they come with there full strength team?

    India is no. 1 as they have played more no. of matches? Do u want BCCI to fund and arrange matches for you guys out of sub continent?

    When people question the lack of wins of Indian team out side sub continent, do they ask to Aus if they are consistent winners in subcontinent? why the hard and green pitches be a benchmark for being worthy to be considered good team? if winning on flat & turning pitches are not to be considered as a benchmark for test rankings then please stop playing in sub continent.


  • Kalyanaraman on August 2, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    I think we are being harsh on India's bowlers. Even if Kumble and Zaheer were in the team, I don't think 20 wickets would have fallen in this test. The Indian team is doing what they can given the conditions and personnel. How about India Vs Sri Lanka tests in a neutral country like Australia?

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    Nice! You expect only one team to be aggressive to produce a result in a test match! lets bat first post 640 odd, lay out a defensive field to wait for Sehwag to make a mistake and take the first wicket! then expect a team to declare before taking a lead. hey wait! if they expect India to do everything to make a result of a dead match then what is Sri Lanka's role in it? Agreed the last wicket was a little to slow, but Sri Lanka also could have been a lil aggressive to wrap up things, rather than complaining TRY! As for India being too timid for being no.1 in test rankings, heres some news, we can expect India to win a match away from home, not Sri Lanka! when was the last time Sri Lanka won a test out side the sub continent?

  • Sumit on August 2, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    Well said, Arshdeep !! What did Mahela expected from India ---- that India declare at the score of 500 and then wait for Sri Lanka to set them a 500 plus target in the 4th Innings? What prevented Sangakkara from declaring earlier --- even at the score of 642 for 4, Sanga was not sure about declaring, and the TV Cameras focused on him showed him repeatedly looking at his coach for input, and looking confused if he should be declaring at 642 !!!

  • Tryden on August 2, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    Mahela Speaking about declaring earlier, your memory cannot be so weak that you do not remember the time, when you were part of a SL team that refused to declare their 1st innings despite scoring 900+ runs.

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    SL,Best known for dead and flat wickets.How can expect a win out if it

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