Mahela Jayawardene
Sri Lanka's captain and leading Test run scorer

Sri Lanka in England 2011

Forget day five

A look back at the Cardiff Test and what positives, if any, can be taken from it

Mahela Jayawardene

June 1, 2011

Comments: 117 | Text size: A | A

A delighted Mahela Jayawardene raises his bat on reaching a hundred, England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Lord's, May 14, 2006
Jayawardene gets to his hundred at Lord's in 2006; he has centuries in his last two Tests at the ground © Getty Images
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Right at this moment I can't believe what's just happened, but I'll probably go into my sorrows soon. We played a good four days of cricket in Cardiff, but then threw the entire Test match away in one session. Sadly, that's what can happen in Test cricket if you don't focus and concentrate throughout. We were not up for it, and the English boys showed why they are one of the best Test teams going around these days. They always come back and keep fighting, and we were not up for the challenge

It was always going to be a tricky situation to bat on the last day, when we weren't sure what the weather was doing, but to blame the rain would be nothing more than an excuse. Almost every day of the match had been a 1.30-2pm start, so we knew that whenever it stopped we'd have to focus and get on with it, like we'd done for four days already. Today it just didn't happen. We lost early wickets to pile the pressure on ourselves, but we didn't buckle down and take the fight back to England.

In Test cricket you really have to tough it out in those situations, but we didn't. Our job was just to bat the situation, but there wasn't much incentive because we weren't really going to get anything out of the day other than a bit of time in the middle and maybe a few unbeaten fifties. That would have been the only positive to come out of the day for us, but once we'd been put under pressure by good bowling and poor shot selection, things went out of control. We were not up for the task.

I can't put my finger on the reasons for the defeat, but it wasn't the way we planned it. Any defeat hurts, whether you have a really bad game or whether you lose a tight match in the last over, but to lose a Test like this hurts even more, because we were totally in control and just had to bat 40 overs. The first Test of any series is so important. We have to pick ourselves up and concentrate for the next one.

A lot of people have been saying that England are the best Test team in the world, and they really do look solid at the moment. But, for me, you have to win all over the world if you want to be considered the best, and the subcontinent is the one place they really need to come and dominate if they want that accolade. They have been playing some really good cricket of late - the way they played Australia in Australia, the way they fought well in South Africa as well. But if they are to say they are the No. 1 team in the world, they have to challenge themselves in all conditions, and that includes the subcontinent.

When England toured Sri Lanka three years ago, they seemed to struggle quite a bit with the conditions. That last series was a totally different scenario. We completely dominated the Galle Test before the rain came to save them, and we won the series 1-0. Here in England, the conditions are favourable to the home side and they know exactly what to do with them. We need to stand up for ourselves, which is a great challenge, but we've lost a great opportunity to go to Lord's at 0-0.

 
 
A lot of people have been saying that England are the best Test team in the world, and they really do look solid, but, for me, you have to win all over the world if you want to be considered the best
 

The final day was crazy, but really, this match was dominated by England's batsmen. Both Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott did really well to build a massive partnership, but in my opinion it was Trott who was the stand-out player. More than Alastair, he was in control of entire situation, and that's what you need when you are batting second with 400 already on the board. You need big partnerships to make sure you get into the game, and beyond, and that's what they did.

Lots of people have commented on the fact that this is Sri Lanka's first Test since Muttiah Muralitharan retired, and it's true our bowlers don't have the same variety now that he's not in the side - which is the main reason why we chose five of them for this match. But we have to move on from Murali, because we're not going to get him back. We have to find other options. Every team has to go through that transition period at some stage, and we need to make sure we get through it too.

I actually thought our bowlers bowled pretty well and were a bit unlucky at times. Cook and Trott did really well to stifle our ambitions. A big partnership is all about how you complement each other, rotate the strike, and attack different bowlers. Those two got through the tough situations, then dominated for a while, and were able to bat through sessions to make big runs.

The challenge now is to get our mindsets right, and our senior players, especially, need to score a lot of runs for Sri Lanka. I love batting at Lord's and I've made hundreds in each of my last two Tests there, although a third one is not really in my immediate planning. Records are great but we're 1-0 down and we have to win the Test match to get back into the series. I just need to start at ball one and get the job done for the team. That's the priority. That would be my personal objective and for the rest of the team as well.

Quite simply, we need to take the fifth day at Cardiff completely out of our minds, and think about what we did right on the first two, three, four days. Our batting was really good in the first innings. Prasanna Jayawardene carried a big responsibility at No. 6 and responded with a hundred, while Paranavitana and Samaraweera fought hard as well. The conditions helped England in the first innings, but we put runs on the board against a quality attack.

There are positives to take into the Lord's Test, but we need to keep working and fighting, and making and creating opportunities. The Cardiff Test is finished now and we need a fresh mindset for the next game, and we need 20 wickets to win a Test match.

Mahela Jayawardene is former captain of Sri Lanka

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Posted by SMadampege on (June 3, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

That test match was like a hindi film. No way to a win and game was going for a draw. Suddenly, there was an innings defeat. That's a shame. As a Sri Lankan, I am very angry with our bloody players. They always gave priority to IPL rather than country and that's the result of that. All players go home and lul babies. I think if lankan women team played that session, they could have easily drawn the match. Now whole Lankan sports are down like government. Hate to be a Sri Lankan.

Posted by Diyan82 on (June 3, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

No matter how good you are as a team or Individual and no matter how many times you have beaten a team on previous encounters you start on a clean slate in the beginning of every match. It may be 20ovr, 50ovr or a test match, at the end of the day it's all down to preparation and the mentality of the players. The Sri Lankan team must admit to the fact that they were not prepared to the conditions as well as the temperament of test cricket. From 20-20 to 50 over cricket can be easily done but from 20-20 to test match cricket is a whole new ball game. It's sad that the veterans in the Sri Lankan team failed to understand this. It's under preparation and underestimation of the opponents that undid the Sri Lankan line up. Let's hope they have learned from their mistakes and give themselves a better chance in the 2nd test.

Posted by achi82000 on (June 3, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

I think we lost bcz of pathetic team selection.How can we win a match with only 3 genuine bowlers?When we knew that we r not good enough to take wickets, batsmans lost confident.Thats wt happened.Captain and coach should take the responsibility...

Posted by   on (June 3, 2011, 5:24 GMT)

I think potentially England couldl become the number one test side. They seem to be getting better and better, while Sri Lanka through retirements are missing their key wicket taking bowlers. As for India I think they have peaked as the number 1 side and lets see how well they go when a few key players in that Indian side retire.

Posted by jr1972 on (June 3, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

Agree to some extent with the sentiment of this article. Indeed, forget the batting on day 5. What about the bowling on days 3 & 4? This to me should be a far bigger concern for Sri Lanka who now need to win a test and will need 20 wickets to do so.

All this talk about the number 1 test ranking for England is a little premature. Let's see how a much improved and improving team fair against India.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 23:19 GMT)

good luck to both teams...

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 22:34 GMT)

What jayawardene says is correct, England still not good enough to be No.1 We have some rankings by ICC and everyone should accept that. Its your consistency over a couple of years that would count. India will play England and we will see how it goes. When ever England does well they create a huge hype. If they start loosing its kept low.

Posted by pankajkumarsingh on (June 2, 2011, 22:20 GMT)

Ranking is really an inter-raking of how teams have faired against each other. Aus cannot retain #1 spot just because Waugh/Punter won a series in every country. Or WI cannot retain #1 spot because Clive Lloyd won test series in every part of the world. Questioning India's #1 spot on ground of their inability to win series in Aus and SA is simply silly. Also, to brand India's victory against NZ and SL as marginal is also silly. Fact of the matter is - statistically, India is ahead of any other team if you look at will/loss/draw ratio. Now, someone rightly said, age of total dominence is over. We dont have WI of 80s and Aus of 90s anymore. Having said that, if you HAVE to pick one #1 side, it'd be India.

Posted by Ups1 on (June 2, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

Mahela, thanks for the article. It's a good read. I truly hope you guys can do better so that we can square the series at Lord's. You say that you can't "put your finger" on the reason(s) for the loss. I think you've actually spotted it with your last sentence - we need the bowling firepower to get 20 wickets. You won't get through the Eng batting twice by bowling just line and length. We need Fernando, Welagedara, Perera, Herath and Mendis (give him another chance). That's the best we can do with the current options if we have taking wickets and winning a Test (not negatively just hanging on) in mind. It's precisely because the bowling put such a strain on the team that the batters lost their concentration and energy, which eventually cost us the match. Good luck. Our thoughts are with you guys.

Posted by Valavan on (June 2, 2011, 19:04 GMT)

@Jim1207, You are spamming about OZ here. Where did India won OZ in past 15 years, only in India except the one in2004. When did India won a series in OZ, no records for that, India yet to win a series in OZ in their 60 yr old career. Btw OZ won in SL, the 3 test series, in SL in 2004, when warne took the MOS. check cricinfo archive, is it Aus fear of SL in Sl (or) SL do not want to invite the invincible OZ then.Also a fact is that Aussies whitewashed SL in SL in 2004 March/April. And just accept the fact it is not that easy for SL to win a test in England this time.

Posted by Aloke_Mondkar on (June 2, 2011, 17:04 GMT)

My concern with Mahela and his runs are this - He has a excellent home average (64)..and a not to good overseas average (43). Take him out of the subcontinent..and his average drops drastically..34 in Australia..37 in England..27 in NZ..31 in SA..42 in WI...hardly the numbers of a great. I have always felt that he needed the protection of a Murali..and sub-continent conditions to do well..excellent example is vs. SA..31 in SA...70 vs. SA overall.. I dont think this is a one-off problem with this SL team (as much as I want them to soften England for the India tour). Without Murali..they will never take 20wickets.and even if they do..their batsmen can never score enough to win a game. We may not get a repeat of the 5th day again..but I do feel that they cant win a single test...+ may draw one..based purely on the brilliance of Sanga..and NOT Mahela... That is why..I will value Dravid/Laxman so much more than Mahela.

Posted by DubaiSiva on (June 2, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

Come on boys, jst one session...just forget about it. Else, you all played really well. So Mr Sanga, Dilshan and Mahela..just bat well at Lords... The rest will fall in place.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 2, 2011, 15:24 GMT)

Meety, Waugh's australian team won everywhere? Where have you been when India kept defeating Aussies for past 15 years apart from one series in 2004? That australian team did not tour Sri Lanka much fearing Murali and kept defeating poor England and Newzealand and all others at home to keep their points 10 points ahead of all other teams too. Why did not you suspect the ICC rankings then but doing now when India is #1, if you are a rational thinker? India has not lost a single test series under Dhoni as captain, which is from 2008. This is the reason why India is so many points ahead of the rest and 13 points ahead of England who is dreaming now as if they are already #1. Go Figure.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 14:17 GMT)

it realy dissapointing effet in last test!! M J & Sanga u ar the most dissapointed players! what happend to ure experiance, u should not play IPL u should go with da team!Lions hope fight back!!!

Posted by Arunsoorya on (June 2, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

Sri Lankans are a pretty good side than they appeared on the fifth day of the concluded test. What matters most is that they had only 40 overs to bat, which even their seventh and eighth down batsmen could have easily accomplished if it was their average day. But they were completely done in one session which is rather pitiful. Now, 4 days of very good play and one session of bad play cost them the match, is this what you call complacency? On any given day, Mahela and Sanga are very very dangerous. Them being the senior most in the team should have shouldered the responsibility. But, they miserably failed in both the innings. Being the first match, and losing it pretty badly in one session, puts lot of doubts in their minds. What kind of mental makeup they should have in their head in approaching the second match at Lord's. Also take into account the great form of tremlett and cook. What are the chances of Sri Lankan team to come back into the series. I seriously doubt it.

Posted by Kavum on (June 2, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

There is losing with honour and then there is abject surrender. We witnessed the latter. You can fight hard in sport and lose and no one will blame you for your failure. The Sri Lanka XI folded like a house of cards and disgraced an entire country- cricket being what it means to a nation with little other hope or prospect. We need to move on.... God knows how...

Posted by Eswar_Deepak on (June 2, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

Why is this the first test post Murali's retirement? They jolly well played one versus India and two against the Windies?

Posted by Fa04 on (June 2, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

Mahela we have a confident with you & all the other lion's. You can do something batter on Lords. English player's will come to know how lions will finish at the end.. Good Luck MJ

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

Where did Sri Lanka fail? Although their batters scored 400 in the first innings they could not bat out 40 overs in difficult condition. That is test cricket.

Posted by Roar911 on (June 2, 2011, 8:31 GMT)

hmm... first test lost and plenty of comments full of thrashing and opinions. had we won it, there will only be few congrats and ignorant comments about the luck of lankans.... give the youngsters a chance... we may lose all, but after u, sanga n dila goes, we'l b no better than zimbabwe. why the heck do we need 5 wicket keepers???? (sanga, dila, prasanna, chandimal, kaushal) give samaraweera's spot to chandimal. he'l be what virat kohli is for india!

Posted by EvoRyder on (June 2, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

Call me old school but I still feel a major part of the blame for this loss should go to the board and the ex-captain for the utter confusion in the team right now. Dilshan is NOT the best person for the role and it was quite evident, and sangakkara should have thought about the situation he's leaving the team in esp when some one like Murali is retiring. SL bowling as far as test matches go is very poor which is a big concern for me, I cannot see who and how they could get 20 wickets in a non-sub cont track, and thats the basis of winning a test match. We can bat to 400+ scored but on the day our batting fails we will lose the match just like what happen on day 5. Also i think a test team should be made of specialist batman, specialist bowlers and maybe 1 genuine all rounder, not two or more part-time alrounder like maharoof and thisara, they should never be part of the test team instead could fit well in the ODI squad. you cannot expect part-time alrounders to win a test match.

Posted by taniap on (June 2, 2011, 4:55 GMT)

It's woeful the way experienced batters like Jayawardena and Sangakkara batted at that track. I won't be surprised if match-fixing allagations come up again after this performance - it was really that bad.

I wish they'd just shut up get on with improving their game. Hope to see a much improved side at Lords.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 4:29 GMT)

I must admit that I was pretty disappointed by the way that Sri Lanka lost. The questions about the ability of Sri Lanka's bowling and batting are being rightfully raised. But we must also look back at India's recent tour of South Africa and see how the Saffers managed to annihilate the Indian team in the first test. The Indian bowlers gave away 600+ runs at almost 5 runs an over taking only 4 South African wicket. But then look at what the Indian bowlers did in the next test match. Similarly, no hope should be lost for Sri Lanka.

Having said that, I don't think its correct for Mahela to raise doubts over England's number one position. While I too don't consider England number one yet, Mahela might well have called this English team the best ever team in history. It would have done a fine job of hiding the failure of Sri Lankans. Much like, I remember, how Mohd. Yousuf used to do it in Pak's tour of Australia in 2009-10.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 4:16 GMT)

@Richard:Then what about the joker england team..always used to get drubbing in the hands of oz..i cannot recall in which england has lost less than 4 test in 5 match ashes..ha ha ha ha..and still, adelaide 2006 comes to mind..joker declared at 550 plus yet lost the test match...ha ha hah a..what a team..and for ur information, india has always run close to rsa, oz in their own den..barring rsa, all others have lost at our den..and scoring in flat track is so easy, then why your legends fail to do the same...india does not have to prove anything to be no.1..only botham and nasses hussain thinks this..and that tony greig..that is understandable..we are proud of our cricketers and want entire sport of this nation to get a lift like this..thanks indian team to bring laurel to us

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (June 2, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

Mahela J its good to hear your viewpoint. Also a very nice article. I am sure you and Sri Lankan team will do well at Lord's. All the best to Sri Lanka.

Posted by RecordHunter on (June 2, 2011, 3:41 GMT)

SL facing an issue in making a right combination following the Legends retirement. Whether to go off with 5 specialist bowlers or 4 Specialist bowlers. I beeleiveits better to give 6th Slot Spinning Allrounder like:Jeevan Mendis or Janaka Gunarathne. Then Prasanna @ 7 and thereafter 3 Fast bowlers and 1 Spinner. This will make 3 Fast bowlers+ 3 Spinners ( Along with Dilshan).

Posted by Rajitha88 on (June 2, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

LIONS will Roar AGAIN......dont be upset.

Posted by Meety on (June 2, 2011, 3:24 GMT)

@@CricketingStargazer - I actually believe that the Rankings ARE biased or can be manipulated. As India drew 1all home & away with Sth Africa - I am happy enough that they are the #1 side. Drawing in Sth Africa changed my opinion of the Indian side. That being said, apart from the Sth Africa series, they haven't really put their "crown" on the line since getting the #1 ranking. Despite a lot of marginally par performances (i.e NZ & SL series) - their points remain a long way ahead of 2nd place. If you looked at points only - you would say that this side was greater then Waugh, Taylor & Punters (early years), Oz teams. Those sides won everywhere - yet at times Sth Africa were rated #1! I think there should be a crown like in Boxing - which goes on the line EVERY time you play a test series. England stole the crown off Oz in 2009 (after Sth Africa briefly took it earlier that year). Now it is up to someone to knock the Poms off, (India?).

Posted by   on (June 2, 2011, 3:05 GMT)

He has got a bigger mouth than sanga. Just prove it!

Posted by nlambda on (June 2, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

@raza_sarani: Eng drew in 2006 but lost in 2008 in India. They also lost to India in 2007 in England. So right now India has the bragging rights. Also, we are the only team apart from Eng to have beaten Aus in past 2 series.

Posted by vimukthi77 on (June 2, 2011, 1:07 GMT)

Mahela , I am sorry to say this, the conditions in Lords is going to be worst than Cardiff, so the batsmen must work hard to score runs. Don't underestimate the England team,its not the same team which played in Sri Lanka three years a go, they are much improved side and looking for the number one spot in test cricket.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 1, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

Forgetting the bad things? I come to think of recent south african strategy of forgetting about the choking past in the world cup. They got reminded twice who they are.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 23:34 GMT)

@raza_sarani India already proved as world's best team....nothing remained to do.Although you have doubt on it's performance in tests....u will be surprised after Eng tour.Let's wait and see...which is in best side Lollll

Posted by delastbastion on (June 1, 2011, 21:57 GMT)

It seems mahela has avoided a huge point the matter of him n Sanga remaining in India to play ipl rather than coming to england with the team to get acclaimtise. this very thing happend to the WI tweam two years ago... the enlish are wallowing in our greed of the ipl dollars over country......it suits their purpose in their quest to get to the top

Posted by cric_freak88 on (June 1, 2011, 21:49 GMT)

go practice dude .. espn can pay u later .. ur country needs u more

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 1, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

Mathewjohn, you need to read a few lines further down. I compared the end of the Cardiff Test with exactly that perforance. The parallels were very strong. No England fan can forget that one. The point that I was making though was that just about EVERY TEST TEAM has had a day like that in lving memory.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

No one in the right mind would think England is the best team given their inability to win in sub continent conditions.

That said it was not England that has been going on about their status in test cricket. They have been saying they are targeting becoming no.1 while they acknowledge India is a top test side.

It is Stuart Law the coach of SL that has been mindlessly going on about how England is no.1 side in the world and how much SL wants to beat them.

I think Mahela should talk to Stuart Law and hand him over England's sub continent stats. No point writing in media while your coach goes on and on about how good England is. No wonder SL, the mindset itself isn't right as far as Stuart Law is concerned. Why make someone the best side when they are not? SL were defeated in the mind, thanks Stuart Law for hyping up.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 20:35 GMT)

What is this nonsense about having to do well in the subcontinent to be considered best in the world? Maybe Mr Jayawardene has India in mind as the best team (reasonable), but surely not Sri Lanka, or Pakistan given their miserable recent overseas performances. Then, I do not think that India has won in Australia for a very long time (if ever). Does that mean that India cannot be considered best. Perhaps right now there is no best team in the world -- only second-bests.

Posted by Quazar on (June 1, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

Some folks have the facts wrong here... Eng lost their last Test series in India 1-0 in 2008, while India had beaten them 1-0 in England in 2007 (there were 2 draws with each side dominating each of those drawn Tests). But both sides have progressed since those last encounters so the upcoming battle in England should be fascinating. And good luck to SL at Lord's... hope they do more justice to themselves, though it will be an uphill battle.

Posted by Raza_sarani on (June 1, 2011, 19:44 GMT)

I think last time when england toured india they drew the series after freddie's fantastic performance. That's brilliant for a team who is supposed not to play spin pretty fine, India would be touring england soon and i think england will gave them a hell of a time, good luck team india but england is the best test side.

Posted by crikkfan on (June 1, 2011, 18:29 GMT)

safe to say that Eng will have to beat Ind to maintain their aspirations. As far as Ind is concerned, they r current #1 team in the world as per rankings and if they dont beat Eng in Eng, rankings or otherwise - there will be mumblings about their #1. A drawn series is good enuf from Ind perspective.

Posted by shobhit2983 on (June 1, 2011, 18:04 GMT)

To forget Day 5, start playing on true pitches, not the one like in SL where murali, mendis will get 10-12 wickets/ match and you or sangakara will score a double century and win the game for SL.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 1, 2011, 17:56 GMT)

@cricketingstartgazer,how could u forget two years back west Indies dismissing England for 51 in runs kensington 2009 test match.Even before that England fell to west Indies for 46 runs.

Posted by Balumekka on (June 1, 2011, 17:28 GMT)

Sorry to say this Mahela. 50+ test avgs and thousands of runs become immaterial for die hard SL followers like us, if you guys cannot bat through 25-30 overs to save your country from defeat. I'm not sure whether forgetting the 5th day (rather than analyzing what happened in 5th day) would bring any goods for the team, . Sanga and Thilan both dismissed by Swann! We are so called masters of playing spin! As fans, we prepared for the English tour better than most of the SL players it seems. You guys really need to find yourselves back before Friday, otherwise more humiliation on cards!!!!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 1, 2011, 17:25 GMT)

Sanath, did not Andrew Flintoff's team go to India with 6 players missing due to injury and draw the series 1-1? The series was won on the final afternoon when India collapsed to the mighty Shaun Udal. The last 4 series between England and India home and away have all been extremely tight, a fact usually glossed over. The last series in England was also played with England just about at its lowest ebb over the last 10 years. I would like to see England win in Sri Lanka and it is true that they have not done so since winning 2-1 in 2001 since collapsing for under 80 in the final Test of the series to the England seamers.

Posted by Vindaliew on (June 1, 2011, 16:36 GMT)

When England lose in SL they "struggle quite a bit with the conditions" and "the subcontinent is the one place they really need to come and dominate if they want that accolade" while when SL lose in England it's because "Here in England, the conditions are favourable to the home side and they know exactly what to do with them". Conditions are favourable to the home side in almost all cases (unless you're a spinner visiting the Caribbean), so I'm quite shocked to see shades of Graeme Smith in Mahela's article.

Posted by 3rd_man on (June 1, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

I am 100% agree with cricfan 100.talk big do little. its sums up nicely.Most over estimated cricketer in srilankan side.people talk about 100 in WC final. before that what contribution he made for sl??100 against Canada.he always failed when team needs him.he scored 100 because poor Sanga always manage to rescue sl.IPL he opened the batting.against weak fast bowling he manage to score runs.then he dropped him self to no 4.against good sides,he cant score.I think SL cricket should look at his performance & analyze his contribution when team really needed a performance.after failing,once he get a dead wicket score big to make sure his average stays there.let journalists do there job.go and do your job with the bat. after sanga started to write in these forums he also wanted to write.I am sri lankan,but truth need to be said.Aravinda played many match winning innings for sl,same as Arjuna.can anyone remind what this guy done in his long career for sl?good captain.overestimated batsman.

Posted by Finn92 on (June 1, 2011, 15:47 GMT)

He is exactly right about us being number one in the world, we have underperformed in the sub continent and we will need a big series there next time we go before we can say that we are the best. What I will say is that ever since Andy Flower and latterly Andrew Strauss took over we have improved no end and we are on the right track to becoming the team to beat on the word stage but we have a long way to go still. It also seems to be transcending into the domestic game with the emergence of so many hugely talented 18-25 year olds on the county circuit whereas even a couple of years ago we would have struggled to name quality 16 man squad!

Posted by bumsonseats on (June 1, 2011, 15:30 GMT)

as far as i can remember england would like to be the top team in the next 18 month or so, not they think they are. i might not happen. but if u dont think that way, sport is not ur game. u awlays want to better yourselves. and that what england want to do and be. dpk

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 1, 2011, 15:20 GMT)

@cranaweera,mahela didn't mention England are no.1 team.But to consider them as no.1 they need to win series in srilanka especially in subcontinent pitches as they don't perform well here.

Posted by InsideHedge on (June 1, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

But the Cardiff Test wasn't SL's 1st since Murali retired - he retired after the 1st Test of a 3 match series against the touring Indians in the summer of 2010 when he reached the landmark of 800 Test wickets.

By my count, SL have played 2 Tests against Ind in Jul-Aug 2010, and then a further 3 in Nov-Dec 2010 against WI without Murali. SL haven't won a Test since he retired, and that should come as no surprise to anyone. It's an indication of Murali's skills rather than a reflection of SL's ability as a force in Test cricket.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 15:05 GMT)

(1) "I can't put my finger on the reasons for the defeat, but it wasn't the way we planned it." No kidding! (2) "But, for me, you have to win all over the world if you want to be considered the best" I'm not sure I quite agree with this (although Jayawardene hardly needs my approval!). Sure, to be unquestionably the best team in the world, as Australia were over the past couple of decades, you need to be able to beat anyone anywhere anytime. But there won't always be such a team. When there isn't, any team that can muster a strong home record and a merely reasonable away record, will probably be able to make a strong claim to be the world's top team. Of course, during such a time, the title of the world's top team will move around a lot - it's a great time to be a fan. (The big thing to watch over the next few years will whether IND can pull ahead of the pack and become the next Australia, or whether ENG, RSA, and maybe some others can remain competitive with them.)

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (June 1, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

By and large a good, honest article, although having had 500 and odd for 5 scored off you doesn't suggest that they played well for the rest of the match apart from day 5. I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that England have done nothing apart from winning the ashes- or suggesting that 3 innings wins in the ashes, under conditions where many pundits were saying England couldn't take a wicket can be trivialised because australia were in decline. England haven't proved to be the best team in the world yet- but having struggled in Sri Lanka 3 years ago doesn't mean that they may not deserve that title soon. In some ways the SA series shows England's virtues- they get wins when there should be draws and scrape draws when they should lose. It is a harder way to no.1 than being brilliant like WI or aus teams of the past, but it is valid all the same.

Posted by Praxis on (June 1, 2011, 14:54 GMT)

I love this Si Lankan team and the brand of cricket they play. Also Sri Lankan people who watches cricket, they support their team no matter what the performances are. This is a rebuilding phase and they've got talents, no doubt about that. It will take some time but they'll bring a world-class bowling attack.

Posted by KingOwl on (June 1, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

Test matches since 1995: England in SL: Won 2 lost 3 SL in England: Won 2 lost 4 (including most recent loss) With England's return series in SL, everything will be sqaure once again. So, stop this nonsense about SL's problems in England, as if it is something unique to SL!

Posted by irfans1 on (June 1, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

aah, what Pakistan would say when ask about playing home or away? as they don't have luxury of playing at home for so long now :(. still they perform better than other subcontinent teams. SL needs to focus on their performance instead of blaming about weather or Eng being No1 side, weather would be same for the rest of the series here, so nothing to loose really.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

mahela and sanga have to join the party with big hundreds if they wont be victorious at lord"s

Posted by Charindra on (June 1, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

@WPDDESILVA - I'm in disbelief at your ignorance. Nobody wants to see SL because we're poor travellers and everybody wants to see India because they fight to the death??? It's funny you forgot the hundreds of thousands of Indians living in these countries, and the massive TV audience for India matches. SL would not fill up stadiums for test matches in any of these countries unless we're the number 1 in the world. Even then it's doubtful. But yes, I do believe that SL really need to work hard to restore pride at Lords. Mahela might do well to practice a bit more and get into the test match mentality, instead of writing articles for Cricinfo. Just a suggestion :)

Posted by wenurakp on (June 1, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

Maybe it's time Mahela and Sanga let their bats do the talking? Whatever reasons they give we can see that IPL has had some impact in their batting. Had they come to England early they would have been better prepared for this test match. Their poor showings are a clear indication that they were not in a test cricket mentality. Money is important but too much greed is not. How many test matches we play against England and how often we get the chance to play on English conditions? IPL should limit it's matches to like one against each team and stop ruining the test cricket.

Posted by sanath007 on (June 1, 2011, 13:29 GMT)

Egnland is not the best team in the world, come to Sri Lanka and India and win a test. Then we'll say they are the best. not now

Posted by sanath007 on (June 1, 2011, 13:26 GMT)

theres nothing wrong with our batting line up on paper....it was one of those bad bad days..we were not mentally prepared to save the test. batsman was not in that mood

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 1, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

@Yevghenny: for under 100??? I can remember England dismissing New Zeakland, India and the West Indies for under 50 and Pakistan and Australia for 80 or less. I don't recall South Africa collapsing like that.

Posted by DazTaylor on (June 1, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

@ S Jude Perera "England beat a declining Australia in Australia 2 years after they were broken by South Africa" <--- Just curious, is that the same Australia that went and (to use your own words) broke SA in SA six months later? Again, to use your own words...I'm sorry that your memory is so short. "would have been crushed 3-1 in South Africa if not for two clutch games" But they didnt lose did they? Dont blame anything other than the SA inability to take 20 wickets. So England are overhyped is the gist of your post. Well, 3-1 away win in Australia (all 3 by Innings wins), 1-1 away to SA (again, an innings win) and now 1-0 up over SL (again, an innings win). Perhaps you should take your anti-English hat off?

Posted by loung_singh on (June 1, 2011, 13:20 GMT)

why target only england..? doesn,t d same apply 2 india as well...india havent won a test series in australia and south africa and just a single series victory in srl lanka back in 91 - 92..isnt their claim 2 be d no 1 faulty?.....

Posted by Sageleaf on (June 1, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

It's a shame on you Mahela to state the English boys showed why they are one of the best Test teams going around these days. They always come back and keep fighting, and we were not up for the challenge. Why can't Sri Lankans be like any other team? What are we lacking? Do you need more coaching staff? Or do you need more time for us to be a better side? We have the resources and all state of the art equipment. We also have talent. So get it done without complimenting other teams. You got to be ready. I guess your mind set was more on IPL than your country. If you don't play well drop yourself and give a youngster. You are a great cricketer so be it bring it on and show what you are made of. Complementing a country or a cricketer brings value and the spirit to the game. But surely Sri Lanka is a better side and it's up to the senior players to show what they are made of.

Posted by CricketPissek on (June 1, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

rustyryan has a rusty memory if he thinks Mahela can only play in ODIs and at home. Have you so easily forgotten the fact that Mahela's last two matches at Lords saw him get on the honours board both times? What makes you criticise Thilan after he scored 58 in the first innings? I am a big fan of Kapu, but he's not used his opportunities well enough to break into the team. The Lankan fans who scream for Chandimal to be included, purely based on one innings where he scored a 100 in abu dhabi against effectively an India A team, need a reality check! The kid has immense potential, but he needs to perform more in A team tours abroad before he can break into the SL side Remind yourself that he scored 0 and 5 against the England A team (aka the Lions) in Derby last month. He's good, but he's not ready yet.

Posted by skepticaloptimist on (June 1, 2011, 13:08 GMT)

Why the heck are people blaming the IPL? A majority of these players didn't play in the IPL. Plus, it's just a defeat; they are part of the game. The English players played like champs; the Sri Lankan players played with extreme negativity and high circumspection. I liked Parera's approach - playing the natural game. It took a stroke of brilliance to get him out. SL players should try playing their natural game next time around. I'm sure, they'll do much better. Most importantly, they shouldn't forget this defeat, but learn from it. I hope they do so, and put a great show next time. Not to take credit away from England, who were superb. They look like a very settled side now. Tremlett is doing very well. For me, as an Indian, it would be an intriguing competition to see the English new ball attack against the formidable Indian batting line-up.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

Dear Mahela, you have convinently omitted main factors which contributed to this debacle. These are IPL effect, poor preparations and insufficient time to acclimatize to conditions in UK. Mahela himself admitted in his previous article how drained out he was after taking 4 flights within 30 hours to reach on time to play in second warm-up match. Just look at how England prepared for the ashes series. They had a conditioning camp in Europe among many other things prior to departure. We came with a pretty ordinray bowling attack for English conditions. Therefore it was very vital for the two fast men Dilhara and Pradeep to play. But both of them broke down before first test. They did not undergo proper physical training for long with the team as they were warming the benches in IPL or playing the role of net practice bowlers there. We were lucky to get 400 in first innings considering all those playing and missing. As Udendra rightly said better perform first than writing articles.

Posted by KP_84 on (June 1, 2011, 12:47 GMT)

rustytyan: Kapugedera in the Test side? The guy would barely make it at state level in Australia. There are tail-enders these days with about as much technique as he's got. Same with Chamara Silva. That they are even being considered for the national teams (Test and limited overs) reflects on the shallow pool of talent in Sri Lankan cricket. There are barely enough high quality players to put together a strong international side, but the moment some of them retire or are injured (as has happened prior to this England tour with Dilhara and Malinga) there are no replacements.

Posted by Valavan on (June 1, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

after 3 tests are over, mahela will write a column, forget about the test series in England in 2011. if they loose all series, then he may write forget england series for good. SL can buy a franchise from the 10 in IPL and name it as Colombo Lions so they can share the IPL or change to APL. SL will have very tough going in England this time and India will go the phase as well.

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (June 1, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

@ Jude Perera - My man, History doesn't remember if the opposition had a declining team or a weakened team. History remembers wins and losses! Do you know why we do not tour Aussie, SA or Eng? Because no one wants to see SL. Because Sl are poor travellers and there aren't much demand for sponsors to invest on TV rights. Wait and see when India travels, lot of demand from even neutrals to see them because they fight till the end. Because of people like you, the team does not feel any pressure from fans (unlike India / Pak) to perform, cos they always know they get thier pay cheque and as Mahela said " forget about it". Easy for him to say. How long are you going to dwell on WI and NZ wins?? It was years ago man, my memory is short???

Posted by KingOwl on (June 1, 2011, 12:29 GMT)

I am glad Mahela highlighted that England are no #1 side. At the moment, there are 3-4 countries bunched together at the top. If we look at the last 15 years, since say 1995, SL and England have performed almost identically home and away, winning and losing pretty much the same number of tests home AND away. So, I was hoping that somebody would point out this nonsense about SL's performances in England. Having said that, this was a big loss and Mahela and Sanga especially need to stop the talk and start walk the talk.

Posted by rustyryan on (June 1, 2011, 12:14 GMT)

Why don't SLC just replace Mahela and Thilan with chandimal and Kapugedra.? Kapu, for me , is one of the best talent for SL. But much lik India's Rohit sharma he hasn't played to his potential. He's a classy one like Sanga. Agreed Mahela is a great player. But he is great only in home or in one day. He is in mid 30s and he hasn't got good reflexes to play in the away condition. They should play mahela nd thilan for home series and should give at least a chance for kapu in away matches. But poor guy he always fail at big time.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

WPDDESILVA England is not the best team in the World... India and South Africa will have alot to say to that... England beat a declining Australia in Australia 2 years after they were broken by South Africa (the first team since the WI of 1993)... I'm sorry that your memory is so short. England have done nothing apart from the Ashes tour, would have been crushed 3-1 in South Africa if not for two clutch games, have lost in India, Sri Lanka... also have their most recent results in the WI being a 1-0 lost and a 2-1 win over a low placed NZ... that glorified Ashes Series was nothing compared to South Africa vs India over the last 3 years... three consecutive 1-1 series.

Posted by stormy16 on (June 1, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

I dont think Mahela has a right to be talking about Eng winning on the sub continent - what he needs to explain is how a team can get bowled out in 40 overs on a pitch that both teams scored 400!! SL were like rabbits in the head lights and simply unable to absorb the pressure of saving the test and this is nothing new. There is also no point talking Murali - the issue was the inability to survive 50 overs. Eng bowled well sure but I dont think the wicket or bowling explains the collapse.

Posted by CricketMaan on (June 1, 2011, 11:47 GMT)

@ WPDDESILVA - Yeah its no more about Kochi & IPL, its all about SLPL & Wayamba, im sure you will be there cheering Mahela when SLPL starts..be honest to yourself before criticizing him, He was toast of SL when he scored a 88 ball 100 in CWC finals,..we in subcontinent need to learn to take loss with win..just cant keep winnning..What mahela said is true..yeah Poms beat Aussies but when after Aussies were dead snake..Let the Poms beat India, SL at home before they self praise themsleves..im an Indian but a fan of MJ.

Posted by Ellis on (June 1, 2011, 11:41 GMT)

Mahela, while the loss is very disappointing, it is not the end of the world. Many sides have come back from positions like this before and SL can do the same. It is not as if England dominated the match throughout.A loss of concentration, an unclear idea of the game plan, and a very focused and skilled attack by England, led to the defeat. However, the next game is a new one and unless the SL team allows it to be so, the last game has no relevance. Forget the naysayers and doomsday scenarios. Just go out there and fight it out.

Posted by Yevghenny on (June 1, 2011, 11:10 GMT)

" All the top sides have had at least one collapse like this in my memory (save, I believe, South Africa"

South Africa had a collapse at home to England, when England won by an innings

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 1, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

@Meety, the current Indian aversion to Test cricket is about to come back and bite them. England are playing long series where there are big points to be won and lost in the ICC Test table. India are playing almost nothing longer than 2-Test series (the 4-Test series this summer will be their first longer series for some time). They are also only playing series against opponents that are financially attractive. This has meant that they are not building up the sort of unassailable lead in the ICC Test table that Australia managed, when they could have stopped winning for a year and STILL held their lead and they are vulnerable. As England's ranking is high and rising, the summer series will have big points available to both sides. Win 2-0 and their position becomes well nigh impregnable; lose 2-0 and their #1 ranking will be under serious threat. I fear that if England take over at the top we will be told that the points system is biassed rather than that India have simply slipped up.

Posted by Nagu on (June 1, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

it is utterly funny to look at this article and the comments by the srilankans, like "my respect for mahela has increased". "we are proud cricketing sons"...wat balderdash!! every one knows SL are chickens outside their home, and they cannot match upto England in any case. And what great act Mahela has committed by accepting the fact that they messed up themselves? even the all time best attack cannot bowl out the opposition in 40 overs, unless the batting team is a bunch of no-brain guys. and this has been shown in the result. i only request the SL fans to sit back and watch out for more fun as SL will be shown their place in the remaining two tests...awesome fun to watch it'll be!!

Posted by zamith on (June 1, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

As an example...when SL toured Australia for 3 ODIs and a T20, we were there Eons before the series actually started. What resulted was a series victory, more over we looked like the home side..our preparations were the key. This time around half the squad was in the IPL rather than acclimatising.The officials know by now the ipl window. why cant they fit it into the FTP and not have overlapping tours? This way the players get "extra reward" and they can prepare well for a series like this.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

It's better to perform first, than writing articles! Wish you all the best.

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (June 1, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

Mahela, please stop your heavenly talks. England are the best team in the world because they won in Australia. Which you or Sri Lanka haven't done. Walk the Talk man, How can we forget the fifth day? Is it that easy for you guys? Fans were there from 10 in the morning in the rain and cold (you were in a nice dressing room) and you say to forget the 5th day?

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (June 1, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

Get out there and score some runs for your country! It's not about Kochi & IPL money - It is your country. Embarassing!! Disgrace!!

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

Spot on Mahela. The Australians had to rebuild after the losses of Messrs McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist etc, and there comes a time where teams need to rebuild after such losses of match winners. Murali gave Sri Lanka an end to tie up whilst the pace bowlers could rotate at the other end. However, it wasn't just bad batting that cost Sri Lanka the Test match, it was seriously good bowling. However, Sri Lanka doesn't have a very good bowling attack at the moment, and Malinga pulling out of Tests has really hurt the Test team. Sri Lanka has always had a very strong batting line-up, but if they're going to be bowled out for anything less than 300 then an innings defeat may be on the cards. Remember, Sri Lanka beat the Lions following on, and Sri Lanka are a very good side following on. Don't lose heart.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 1, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

@ meety ,not true.west Indies and aus used to be a dominance form in test and odi .But England is very poor in odi.England won last 8 series mostly played in home with Pakistan Bangladesh and ashes home n away ,then series draw in SA.Even if they beat India or srilanka ,still they are playing in home condition. And even though they reach no .1 rank after srilanka n India series,they yet to prove and win series in srilanka and India to prove their no1 .I guess England never won series against India for past 15 yrs includes home n away.SA n AUS pitch conditions bit similar to England whereas subcontinent is different.so to claim no1 ,they have lot to prove in Sri Lanka and India.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 1, 2011, 9:11 GMT)

To be fair to the Sri Lankans it was just one of those things. The circumstances favoured England: a short session with no expectations, allowing the bowlers to give everything without having to worry about coming back later and the sense that the match was doomed to a draw. England's one chance was to come out hard and make the Sri Lankan's nervous and, with an inexperienced lower order there was always the danger that if three wickets fell panic could set in. All the top sides have had at least one collapse like this in my memory (save, I believe, South Africa). The thing is to come back at Lords and do better.

Posted by Kavum on (June 1, 2011, 9:09 GMT)

Enough with the platitudes. All our batters had to do was eschew flashiness and survive for 3 to 3.5 hours, if that. It was not the non-penetrative bowling that lost us the test, it was incredibly spineless, inept and senseless batting. Reading between the lines in Marvan's interview - he seems to be saying that even Dilshan, Paranawithana and Samaraweera are way below the top two batters in the team: MJ & KS. There is a gulf in class between these two and the rest of SL batsman - which was never the case previously. It is this curse of Sanath's success and everyone from under-11 trying to become strokeplayers without learning technique. Sanath was unique and a one off genius - just like Sehwag. If everyone else tries to bat like them, they will end up with an average like Afridi. Bottom line: lets wait for the learning curve and expect class batters to emerge in 7 to 10 years. Until then, and without a quality couple of bowlers, grit your teeth like we did from 1982 to 1994 or so.

Posted by ChanaL on (June 1, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

A professional & a diplomatic article. Thats all it is. Being a realist, I really doubt whether the team without any prior practice on these types of wickets will be able to avoid a 3-0 white wash. I hope they prove me and everybody else wrong. Just like Australia & England wanting to conquer the last frontier by winning in sub continent. Our team also needs to have a plan and the passion to beat England/Aus/SA in their own den. I dont think this team has that. Their priorities/interest/passion & the talent to win away from the home soil is not there.

Posted by Sugath on (June 1, 2011, 8:38 GMT)

In my view the batsmen all of them took too much to heart the time frame left and had thhe mindset positioned for a draw from the beginning instead of taking things one moment at a time. So if you really look at it, they perished on their own. Too much IPL made the batsmen grope for those deliveries well over the stumps or well outside the stumps. The morale of all this should be do not search. In English conditions do not go searching every ball as you did at IPL

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

What im wondering is Mahela, don't you think playing the IPL left both and Sanga short of the sort of practice you needed which could have helped you save the test?

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

Best of luck to Lankans. Win at Lords. Sri Lankan supporters there to cheer you guys

Posted by Meety on (June 1, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

@agoramoorthy - totally not true! Now the era of Oz dominance is over, all a side has to do is be consistantly better. India have hardly won anywhere outside India since claiming the #1 spot. No disrespect to India - as I think they did very well to draw in Sth Africa. England ARE the FORM team in world cricket at the moment. No wins in India are going to change that. If England beat India in this season in England - they will go along way to claiming the #1 spot, as India's current points are based on them winning the last series in England. Should be a cracker of a series - if India win, they will be #1 for quite a while, if England win, they will surge up the ladder & could take #1 by the end of the year.

Posted by YoBro on (June 1, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

Forget day 5! Ah...how convenient! Forget the fact that you lost the game as well. Swell.

Posted by cmonaussiecmon on (June 1, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

england is pathetic... no way are they the # one team in the world.

Posted by Ranendra30 on (June 1, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

Thats why i like Mahela. He is really very classy both on and of the field. I think this SL batting lineup has enough experience and class to bounce back and make a pretty good performance at lords. Best of luck.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

@Great articale but I belive Sri Lankans should wake up now..play time is over...we just gave a way the mtach..yeshis wrds say's it all...and Wr are just stunned with what happend..but Friday's game in Lords will be another new test macth...Sri Lanka has to pull their socks....they need to get their mind set...I have seen lot of commnets accusing the currnet Sri Lanka team..."Without Murali they are nothing"...Flat track bullies...."hey cannot win a test in overseas"...well we knew these things will be said..but...I'm sure who ever the team will be playing the next match...has to get their mind set..forget Cardiff....get your basics right..hit the deck...look for the gaps....field well......I think you mught have a win.......it's still not the end for u......pride is on the line...better wake up...-humble Sri lankan Cricket fan.

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (June 1, 2011, 6:46 GMT)

Dont lose heart. SL have two more matches and each and every one of you must be determined more than ever now to give 100% +. Say to yourselves we must do it for yourselves and the fans. Having said that yourself, Sangakarra and Sam are not getting younger and should encourage the selectors to be bold with younger players (batsmen) if you want to build for the future. The bowling as you say wasnt that bad. The new young bowlers Thissara and Lakmal wernt taken to the cleaners as people thought they would. Randiv must be given a chance and if either you or Sanga miss out even in the 2nd test, be the big man and make way for Chandimal / Rajapakse.

Posted by Roar911 on (June 1, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

heck, only thing that i remember from last WC is ur century n Dhoni's final 6! :P ... we hav faith in u bro. do well .... try hard n dont go down without a fight. afterall it's their backyard ne ;)

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 6:35 GMT)

We respect Mahela.he has been one of the world class players ever Sri Llanka has produced....as I senior and as per your comments here..I agree with u on sum points...u got to forget the last test..and come out from the misery..we know how u guy's must have have felt...now u have to get over it...time to get back on your feet....it's tough conditions out there but this is a challange...i belive you guy's have to choose your correct bowling attack..and every player is a key and you guy' have to huddle up and take resposibility..right now Englishman are showing there class..but they still not the No.1 yet!! -Cosentrate on the Lord's game.....give a good fight...you might end up with a win!!..don't worry..We are sad..but we have faith in you guy's ...don't let us down....-A request from a humble Sri Lankan Cricket fan...

Posted by nlambda on (June 1, 2011, 6:32 GMT)

Shouldn't this guy be practicing instead of writing articles? It annoys me to see this one day after that debacle.

Posted by Viskal on (June 1, 2011, 6:23 GMT)

WOW! My respect for Mahela has just increased ten fold, it takes guts to write publicly/admit that the opposition dominated the game, rather than just shrug it off as a freak anomaly. Just look at KP and his denial of his weakness against left-arm spinners. But best of luck for the next game, I am pretty sure the last test will provide plenty inspiration and what better place to win than the 'home of cricket'?

Posted by dhpr111 on (June 1, 2011, 6:14 GMT)

Well said Mahela...We believe on you and we know you guys can beat any team in the world without a doubt.Play well and answer all the criticisms by taking attack to the English boys...You can do it.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (June 1, 2011, 6:13 GMT)

good on u mahela.well wriiten .we want you ,sanga and dilshan to stand up and play for the best to level up the series first.All the best.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 6:07 GMT)

Amazing as always by Mahela, lets try and win the next one at Lords. Cheers.

Posted by Black_Rider on (June 1, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

Go and play well Mahiya........@denwarlo70::Yes mate...Mahela has a great personality.We are with our team always.

Posted by cricfan100 on (June 1, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

Mahela this is really ridiculous, you always talk big and do little. First of all show your colours and then talk. you have forgot how to play test cricket right now due to money sucking ipl. We saw how lazy sanga looked in the field during the match. If you and sanga do not have any passion to play for your country any more then for god sake get lost without blocking the young talent. Then at least we will be a good team in nother four to five years. And everybody knows that you get money for writing these articles. That is why you are concentrating on these articles more than your training. I really can't remember a player writing these articles during a tour lately. Most of the cricket fans consider you as one of the best of all time, so live up to those expectations without going after money.

Posted by ranilranathunga on (June 1, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

Mahela and Sanga Pls retire and go and play IPL ...we need chandimal and bahnuka in our team....at least we will win in future....

Posted by mallik_1010 on (June 1, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

Nice article Mahela. All the best. Hope you guys do well in the 2nd test. Although I did not understand your comment that to be considered best, a team has to win in every part of the world. Surely, the team that wins more tests than anyone else is the best team? Plain and simple. We are only complicating it if we start saying things like 'you only won in your home conditions' etc.

Posted by A_Janaka on (June 1, 2011, 5:18 GMT)

Well if he would have left the IPL at the beginning of the month and prepared properly for this test match , maybe we should have done better !. I am not against people playing for money , this is their job , but they should really give someone else who has the time to prepare well and play a test match properly a chance rather than coming late and playing a test match without any preparation.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

Sri Lanka don't need to forget day 5, they should remember it and learn from it. Since England's horror collapse at Adelaide during the 2006/7 ashes they have become experts at hanging on for a draw. Sri Lanka should look at England's 2009 Ashes draw at Cardiff, the comparison to this innings is stark.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

The truth is you can't win a test without taking 20 wickets.for that we need wicket taking bowlers and senior players who can take more responsibility in the field. so drop the lethargic attitude shown so far and give some help to dilly on making decisions in the field. (call back VAAS, it won't be the first time player coming back from retirement)

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

It's pretty brave to put something out after what happened a few days ago... all the best for the rest of the series. In all honesty, SL got everything they could have gotten out of that first Test... batted well in helpful bowling conditions, conditions that were more hostile than those of Day 5... the bowling looked too ODI-centric... hopefully SL can get Fernando and a left-armer who can swing the ball in as well... Mahroof' action might work well in Lord' if he can get into that channel where McGrath use to make Englishmen hope... 20 wickets still seems a tough task. As for the best team, England have to prove themselves abroad... they've lost both in India and Sri Lanka on their last tours and couldn't beat South Africa in SA either... of the top three, SAfrica has the best away record in the past 5+ years... wins in Pak, WI, Aus, Eng, Bang and two drawn series in India. It will be interesting to see SA fare in Sri Lanka with Steyn and the like... NZ should be a cake walk.

Posted by zamith on (June 1, 2011, 4:57 GMT)

Mahela, which match were you watching? You thought SL bowled pretty well? really? while i say SL didnt bowl badly, by no means were they good. SL didnt even create any half chances for 75% of the England innings. When SL was batting, every over there was either an inside-or-outside edge and i felt a wicket was around except prolly when Prassana and Herath were batting. Lakmal is a waste of time...He bowled way outside off stump and the English didnt indulge. He didnt make them play enough. Maharoof should have never been called back. Thissara, in my opinion, was the pick of the SL bowlers. He did get some bounce and had those in-seamers. Herath was steady while not threatening, and i have to agree with David Lloyd on Mendis. The SL attack was toothless i must say. To compound it, two of SL's mainstays in the batting dept contributed the least to the match...should have stayed in the IPL and rejoined for the lords test..which is usually full of runs

Posted by   on (June 1, 2011, 4:55 GMT)

Best of luck Mahela. Hoping to see a more positive outcome next time around.

Posted by agoramoorthy on (June 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

Mahela is absolutely correct.. To claim No.1 status this english team have to win series in india/sri lanka... India drew the series in SA, SL and won in ENG,WI,NZ apart from winning series at home.. Ofcourse there biggest test will come this year when they travel ENG and AUS... Lets see what happens...

Posted by denwarlo70 on (June 1, 2011, 4:30 GMT)

Great personality. No excuses, no blaming, no pointing fingers, just sheer acceptance of playing bad and wanting to make amends. All the best Mahela, Sanga and team SRI LANKA. We've not deserted you in any ways and shall back you guys to the hilt. We are proud of our cricketing Sons of Lanka. Go back to the drawing board and map out your next plan in how to attack and counter when attacked. We've got faith in you guys.

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Mahela JayawardeneClose
Mahela Jayawardene Elegant and prolific, Mahela Jayawardene is easily one of the best batsmen around. By a fair margin he is the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka, and on his way to becoming an all-time great. His excellent slip catching, and sharp captaincy - until early in 2009 - made him a big contributor to Sri Lanka's cause. He and Kumar Sangakkara hold the world record for the highest partnership in Tests, 624 for the third wicket, against South Africa in Colombo. Jayawardene is one of cricket's gentlemen: well-mannered, humble, intelligent and articulate.

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