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

Chandimal earned his stripes

Maybe the go-slow at the end was not exactly ideal, but Dinesh Chandimal showed he could take whatever England dished out

Mahela Jayawardene

July 5, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Dinesh Chandimal was made to hop as England moved to a short-pitched attack, England v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Lord's July 3 2011
"Once [Chandimal] rode out that initial period, he showed what a good cricketer he is" © Getty Images

We're a happy and confident team at the moment, now that we've taken a 2-1 lead in the one-day series. Mind you, I have to admit we were a little bit anxious up on the balcony in the closing overs at Lord's, when Angelo Mathews was slowing the scoring down to help Dinesh Chandimal reach a hugely deserved hundred.

We would probably have finished the game off with five or six overs to spare if Chandi hadn't been going for his hundred, so we certainly didn't want it to come down to the last over. But the guys in the middle felt it was the right thing to do at the time. Besides, Angelo was a calm head at the other end, and if he had had to take a chance to win the match, he'd have backed himself to succeed.

Perhaps he should have rotated the strike a bit more, because it didn't look nice for the spectators, but he didn't want to take any chances with so few runs left, and that's fair enough, really. Whenever someone's close to a hundred you want to try to give them the opportunity if you can. On this occasion it took a bit more time than we'd anticipated, but we got there in the end, and everything was fine at the end of the day. We were convincing winners and a young guy got a hundred at Lord's after finishing the game off brilliantly.

As I know from personal experience, a century at Lord's is a big thing, especially for someone who's just starting out in the team. As a team we have tended to perform much better at Lord's than at other grounds. There's just something about the place that makes the guys lift their game.

Chandimal certainly earned his hundred, because it was a very good innings. It wasn't easy for him in his first 30 runs. England were at him all the time with short-pitched bowling, and he had some tough times out there. But once he rode out that initial period, he showed what a good cricketer he is. For a tiny bloke, he's got a great ability to hit big shots, as he showed with that six to reach his hundred, over the longest part of the boundary. I thoroughly enjoyed batting with him at the other end.

As a 21-year-old he's got a great temperament. He scored a brilliant hundred in Zimbabwe against India in a similar situation last year, chasing a big total and finishing the game off in about 40 overs. While we are winning matches it is our responsibility to build for the future, so it's great to have him coming through the system. We've always tended to introduce a lot of younger players to the side, and in the likes of Chandimal, Angelo and Jeevan Mendis, we've got a good brigade who'll be ready to take responsibility in a few years from now.

Another aspect of Chandimal's innings that impressed me was the way he stood up for himself against England's aggression. For a 21-year-old who's not well versed in English, he gave it to them out in the middle when they came at him. He wasn't going to give his innings away because of a bit of a rough time, and that was brilliant to see. It's not something I've ever seen him doing, and I enjoyed watching it from the other end. I was proud of him too

There are always words exchanged when you play England, but it's all good banter, and there was nothing ugly going on out there. But it was certainly very competitive, because no one wanted to give an inch.

I've got 144 and 79 in consecutive games, and I'm clearly really happy with how I am playing right now. Like I said during the Tests, I felt I was batting well in the nets but I couldn't get it right in the middle. Perhaps I should have been more aggressive, because I found that the Twenty20 really helped me free up a bit more and play a few shots. After that it was about consolidating my form, because you tend to go through these sorts of phases in cricket, and when you're in good form you have to maximise that.

I've definitely enjoyed opening the batting in the one-dayers, because I've had ample time to make a good start and then keep building on it. Whether I carry on as an opener depends on what the management want me to do, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it when I've had the opportunity, and every time an opener is sick, I've always put my hand up to do it.

For the last 10-12 years I have had a big responsibility in the middle order, being that bridge between the top order and the middle. That has been my role and it's been brilliant, but if I get the opportunity to open more often now, that would be a great challenge for this stage of my career.

"If I get the opportunity to open more often now, that would be a great challenge for this stage of my career"

For England, I thought Alastair Cook made a very good hundred, and batted very well in that middle period of the innings to get them to a competitive score, even though we didn't think it was enough on that wicket and with that outfield. Being captain, it's not an easy job, and in yesterday's situation he couldn't have done anything else with wickets falling all around him, although I probably helped him by dropping him on 15!

There's still some criticism of his slow scoring, but he's got his own game and he can't really get away from that. He just has to keep believing in himself and keep playing that role, and probably improve on it as well. Over a period of time, once you've played a certain number of matches, you find different ways of playing in a better way without getting away from your own game, and that's something Cook has to find by himself.

He has to stick to his own game rather than try to hit big shots and get out of shape, as he did towards the end of his innings at Lord's. You have to trust your ability and trust the shots you've been playing throughout, and hit those gaps - simple as that. It's tough when a guy like Lasith Malinga is coming at you, but every player has to trust his own ability and not try to be someone else.

We scored almost twice as many runs as England did in the first Powerplay at Lord's, and that made a big difference to the result. There are so many different ways you can handle the Powerplays. One way is taking big shots, if you have the ability - although that there is a good chance of giving your wicket away. Personally, I find that on these wickets, which are very good, with fast outfields, you can just hit the gaps and get value for your shots.

Of course, you have to strike a balance, and there are some situations when you might have to take a few calculated risks, but there are 300 balls in a one-day game, which is like half a Test innings. You have to give yourself time to settle down and then get the innings going.

Lord's in particular was a very good wicket, and the outfield was lightning quick, so whenever the ball was in my area I just had to hit the gaps and more often than not it carried through them. In another situation, on another day, I might have had to do something different and maybe go over the top, but yesterday I didn't have to do that.

In terms of their one-day tactics, England probably haven't evolved very much since I first played against them 15 years ago. I certainly believe they have the talent in the batting department, but it's the combinations and other factors that come into play. Finding the right combinations, and players finding their roles, is as important as having the right talent. Those are things they might have to work on to improve.

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

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Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (July 7, 2011, 12:13 GMT)

@truebleue_cricfan . thank god!, England bowlers were not as low as Suraj Randiv or Dilshan to bowl few wides to deny that 100!

Posted by Proteas123 on (July 7, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

Cook with his 95 showed how it is done, you play for your team and not for your self. @ itsankush - Saffers not jealous of Sachin, Kallis has a better batting record except that he has played fewer games and is a world class bowler.

Posted by Hughesy83 on (July 7, 2011, 8:39 GMT)

Maybe Cook should be giving MJ some tips on how to bat in ODIs now?

Posted by spiritwithin on (July 7, 2011, 8:37 GMT)

@truebleue_cricfan..that was a test match with enough overs left so no need to talk about opposition players who's scoring a century ..i think u forgot about 956/6 by SL in 1997 which was scored purely for record,infact SL even after gaining a 200run lead still batted the whole 4th day as well as the 5th day,what was that??utter selfish innings by SL for records

Posted by truebleue_cricfan on (July 7, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

That was a test match between Ind and SL in 2009 that ended in a draw. Tendulkar was playing for a hundred in the 2nd innings and finally got one. I remember Sanga, the epitome of gentlemanliness being clearly upset that he was being made to wait for SRT's hundred even though the match was heading for a draw. He had a few words for SRT from behind the stumps. .

Posted by itsankush on (July 7, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

@ Zaviaal Sikander.. How come sachin comes in this article. This shows that people like are so jealous of what Sachin has achieved

Posted by   on (July 7, 2011, 4:48 GMT)

Mahela, i think u should start writing after u retire......i don't know its just weird...:)

Posted by Dinesh.Parte on (July 7, 2011, 2:36 GMT)

I would have liked to see the reactions of Mahela & Co. if Swan would have bowled a no-ball to hand over win to Sri Lanka and deprive Dinesh from getting the 'deserving' hundred.

Posted by Anirjgd on (July 6, 2011, 20:20 GMT)

@Dynamite_Kid: I surely had a heart attack initially reading your statement.. but yes.. LOL LOL... :)

Posted by Anirjgd on (July 6, 2011, 20:17 GMT)

Well MJ... we all saw how well Chandimal or you hit the gaps in teh 4th ODI and how poorly Cook did the same.

Posted by rahulcricindia on (July 6, 2011, 20:03 GMT)

well i do not why SRT is always there in every article.......there is no comparison between SRT and no. of odi and test runs of MJ is equal to ODI runs of SRT and have a look at the average of MJ ..33 hahaha...

Posted by mktorpedo on (July 6, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

@Dave Burrow - apart from Harbajan Singh and Stuart Broad, don't forget the entire Aussie team and KP!

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

When Tharanga Came back to the side, after his banded period, I like to see tharanga & Mahi opened the inning, If Dilshan can 2 0r 3 steps down in the order and come to play in batting powerplay , I hope that will be a good advantage to the team...

Posted by anver777 on (July 6, 2011, 5:32 GMT)

Some encouraging comments from Mahela to young Chandimal......we all know he is the best young batsman in SL & must continue the good work !!!!

Posted by The_Dynamite_Kid on (July 6, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

@Anirjgd: With a mesmerizing average of 33 odd in Tests outside Asia, he surely is a better player than not just Sachin but also Sunny and Dravid, LOL.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 1:42 GMT)

Mahela the true Nalandian you are, we are really proud to have you in the team for you are the true Gentleman Cricketer.The Minister does not seem to understand Kumars speech. Tell the fellow that it is not a statement but celebrated speech.Tilak

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 21:42 GMT)

@ Dave Burrow - I like the way you see it. An insightful article. Indeed they are two top gentlemen in terms of how they carry on themselves on and off the field. Most of its down to the upbringing and the discipline in the Sri Lankan schooling system.

Posted by hawkeye30 on (July 5, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

@stormy16- it's called a personal opinion!!

Posted by Anirjgd on (July 5, 2011, 19:51 GMT)

MJ greater than Sachin?? Are you kidding??

Posted by stormy16 on (July 5, 2011, 19:03 GMT)

I cant see how Mahela can make these godly comments when the series is still up for grabs.

Posted by Mevan on (July 5, 2011, 18:12 GMT)

Mahela was too defensive in the test matches and he has realized that now. He could not find the fine balance between attack and survival necessary for a test innings, under the difficult batting conditions in England, in the early summer. But, Prasanna J to his great credit, did find the balance to perfection.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 17:31 GMT)

I've always enjoyed watching Sri Lanka play, even though I'm half Aussie, half Pom... And I've always enjoyed reading Mahela's articles. They're always so insightful, given his multiple roles in his team's success over the years. Plus, the Sri Lankan team probably has the top two gentlemen of the game in Jayawardene and Sangakarra... Very articulate, insightful and compassionate players. Perhaps they should hold a class and teach the likes of Harbajhan Singh and Stuart Broad how to behave themselves...

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 17:15 GMT)

wooooooow..what a innings...mahiya u right.....a hundred @ Lords is a dream.....

Posted by gautm on (July 5, 2011, 15:08 GMT)

Mahela has always been a classy, elegant batsman. Just wish he would score more runs in Tests especially abroad (SA, Aus, NZ etc) to answer his critics.

Posted by couchpundit on (July 5, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

I dont understand why Guys like Author (yes Mahela ) toe the lines of English...The same English crowd would have cheered every ball defended to help their player hit a century.

Shut up and congratulate your Team mate.Angelo Matthews is a TEAM MAN and its so nice to see a guy putting his head in the chopping Block for His Team Mate.

Idiots like KP and cook will make a big fuss about it because they are in loosing side and they will give stupidest reason to divert attention from their Loss.

Grow up guys dont live in the moment when you write an Article...Live in the moment only when you BAT.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 11:39 GMT)

Mahela is another legend!!! :)

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

At least Dilshan should learn from MJ to handle these issues and to think twice before opening his mouth!

Posted by amilag on (July 5, 2011, 10:39 GMT)

You are the best batsman in the game today! Cook should read this article. He has plenty of advice and lot to learn from Mahela.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 10:13 GMT)

Wao what a nice Artical.He is truly a great player more than sachin..

Posted by chandi69 on (July 5, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

Well Mahela, you played well. Well done !! But its not over. We need to win the series... We need to win at least one of the next 2. I heard there is going to be rain during these 2 matches. During this tour, when there has been rain..we had lost. Hope you guys will turn it around this time. If I need to critisice you guys, you guys showed the world that you did not like Chandimal making a 100. It should not have been done !! I also think that we was more intersted in the personal 100 than Sri Lanka. Of course he is young and every one wants to make a 100 at loards and we had enough time to spare. What you guys should have done is to have a word with him in the dressing room after the match rather than showing it to the rest of the world !!!

Posted by Devapriya on (July 5, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

I agree the 'go-slow' did not make the fielding side (who were obvioiusly going to loose) very happy to stay on for a few more overs. But A Cook to say that 'cricket gods will look down upon this with disgust' is an interesting comment. What would he have said about Alec Stewert's tactics on the field in the 1998 test when England were obviuously going to loose by 10 wickets - he got his bowlers to bowl balls that the batsman could not reach (big bouncers, jusr wide deliveries etc) and use up the few overs left to stop this. Disgusting I would say. And God may have had a stronger word!

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 9:28 GMT)

Angelo going slow allowing Chandimal to get to his hundred really amplified becuase he kept on blocking without even taking a single. He should have taken occasional single on offer and rotated the strike. Although it was an excellent gesture by Angelo, had Chandimal got out trying to go for big shots in the end England would have been back in the game with a chance. In closing overs of an ODI with lower middle order exposed anything could have happened. Dishan acted similarly in last WC quarter finals to allow Tharanga to reach his hundred.However, at that time we had all ten wickets in hand. The anxiety of Dilshan, senior players and the team management from the dressing room was quite understanable. Excellent article by Mahela.

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (July 5, 2011, 9:24 GMT)

A very fair and unbiased account of the 3rd ODI written by a true gentlemen and ambassador for the game even though Mathews actions didnt appeal to all, notably Sky's Nasser Hussein & most of the English press...and even a part of moi.

Posted by RecordHunter on (July 5, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

Mahela and Arjuna are the best captains SL produced since 1982. The so called "FLAT TRACK BULLY " has made 2 brilliant half centuries and a massive hundred in last three games !!!!!...Hey guys its time switch off the TV and sleep now...Because things are not going as you wish..The only failure in Mahela's batting is at the earlier phase of the inning due..Once he get through that shacky period he will be DANGEROUS..I wish Chandimal and Thirimaane to be the Mahela and Sanga in SL future team.

Posted by Black_Rider on (July 5, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

For me Mahela is the best captain Sri lanka ever had.Not Arjuna not Sanga.For me it is Mahela.I hope Angie will be like him.He showed he has the mindset to become a captain in the 3rd ODI.Take care of these young lads Mahela.They are really good.

Posted by TDIL on (July 5, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

maha is one of the best batsman we have in our team. He is really class batsman we love to watch him playing so beautiful shots your opinion is true maha but regret is we don't have skipper like you wish you all the best and keep performing...........

Posted by Stos on (July 5, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

Good innings, and a good article as well.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 4:19 GMT)

"I was proud of him too" - wow, what a compliment.

Posted by HILMY10730603 on (July 5, 2011, 4:13 GMT)

Brilliant Mahela. Very Educative. Go On with the Good Work of Diplomatic Writing. Meanwhile, take care of young guns like Chandimal and Jeevan of ODI Squad and Tharanga and Lahiru of Test Squad to be cricketers of your class and caliber. Keep your Good Form to win the Series 4-1.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 3:52 GMT)

"but every player has to trust his own ability and not try to be someone else" -MJ he keeps on proving this statement in t20s..

Posted by MDulithaTPerera12 on (July 5, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

Good job Mahela! Well done! I wish you all the best to continue what you have done during this series so far. You are a treat to watch! As Sri Lankans we are really proud of you.

Posted by Johnjoy on (July 5, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

Jayawardene is classy... He will be the first SL to score 10k in both formats.... also remember that he is their best in T20 too. And.... PIeterson has to fire for England to win....Simple

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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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