November 9, 2011

We've competed, but we've slipped up as well

One bad session apiece has cost Sri Lanka their last three series. Ironing out those mistakes will be top priority for the side

It's essentially been one bad innings that has cost us each of the last three series. In Cardiff against England and then against Australia in Galle and now here in Dubai. It is something that we have acknowledged and looked at and it is an area where we need to improve. We realise we have slipped up and cannot make mistakes that cause us to lose entire series.

At the same time, the positive is that we competed really well in all three Test series. Though we are rebuilding, we know we are not that far from turning the corner and becoming consistent enough to win matches and series. We have to believe in ourselves rather than listening to what everyone else is saying. We just need to focus on what we are doing well and improve on that.

Even against Australia, in the last Test match we had a lead but we just couldn't bowl them out in the second innings. We need to be ruthless and convert those opportunities.

The Pakistan series has taught us a few things. We made a few changes. Tillakaratne Dilshan going back up the order has been a good decision, I think. We have all realised the potential of him opening the batting. He gives us a good strike rate at the top and he can change the game. Sometimes he will get out early, but we should not be too bothered about that. His return to the opening position is a very big positive.

We played a six-five combination in the third Test, going in with the extra bowler. Unfortunately Dhammika [Prasad] got injured, otherwise we would possibly have bowled Pakistan out quicker in the first innings, and even in the second innings, with the extra bowler, we would have had a better chance of winning the game. Unfortunately these things are out of our control.

The moves we made were the right ones and we can keep improving. We can try different combinations, and different tricks in our bowling. We need to look at being consistent in our batting, especially in the first innings of a Test match, where you need to control things - just be patient and grind through.

Another big positive was the way Kumar [Sangakkara] batted through the series. It was fantastic to see him dominating the way he did and the way he handled the Pakistan bowlers. We just need to build on performances like his and keep pushing ourselves.

We are looking forward to the one-dayers, where we play a different game. Pakistan are a good team; they pose a lot of threats in their line-up that we need to be up for. Their bowling will be their strong point. They have two allrounders in their line-up, which gives them extra options. With Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Junaid Khan, they have a lot of pace options. They have Saeed Ajmal as well. So their bowling will have lots of variations. At the same time their batting will be strong with Umar Akmal coming back. They bat deep into their line-up as well. They look very solid as a unit.

As for us, our bowling attack will be much improved with two experienced bowlers, Lasith [Malinga] and Dilhara [Fernando], coming back into the side. We have had a steady one-day batting line-up the last year or so. With Dilshan opening and Angelo Mathews fit and a young Dinesh Chandimal coming back, we have a good side. It will be crucial to take control of the series early, so it is very important to win the first two.

We are used to switching between formats. Whatever has happened in the previous series, you turn around and say, "This is a fresh start." We have some fresh guys coming in and that does give you a bit more energy. A Test series can be really draining after three, maybe four, weeks of tough cricket. So to get a few fresh faces in raises the energy in the camp and does make a great difference.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roshini on November 11, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    So Mahela's well digested theory of "ONE BAD INNINGS" costing the side dear has been proved utterly wrong by the South Africans at Newlands.SA has just delivered a great cricketing lesson to all pundits who think otherwise. What a magnificent turn around by their bowlers after conceding a near double hundred lead.Can SL ever boast of a similar scenario? Your guess as good as mine... Roshini Vass - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • fabian on November 10, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    Mahela is a class batsman.Sure he's going through a 'lean' patch at the moment but even the greats like Sachin & others have struggled at some point in their careers. Both Mahela & Sangakkara are the backbone of the SL batting line-up and it's amazing how they've managed to deal with that pressure over the years.Without Murali working his magic Pakistan definitely have the edge in the bowling department.But with Malinga back it will be an interesting series.... From a Pakistan fan.

  • natmastak on November 10, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    i am afraid if this srilankan attack can even bowl out bangladesh twice.

  • Owais on November 10, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    Mahela you are a true gentleman and GREAT batsmen. There is a lot of respect for you and Sangakarra in Pakitan. Howver, I believe it was not just one session that cost you the series. Your batting under performed more than once and you seem to be lacking a good quality bowler that will run through a batting lineup. Actually even Pakistan does not have that kind of bowler, but we do have two or three bowlers that bring a lot of variety into our attack. You will see Pakistan bowlers hunting in packs rather than relying on one. So thats the area of concern for you guys, try to groom your attack to atleast start hunting in pairs !

  • Denham on November 10, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    Lot's of people are very critical of Mahela J's form nowadays. We all know everyone has a lean patch and we need to give time to this bloke too. Look at the great Sachin T, he has been struggling to score his hundredth hundred for such a long time and missed it yet again against the WI team a few days ago. Batsmen cannot score runs in every game, there are ups and downs and we as fans and supporters must back them instead of trying to write them off.

  • rakesh on November 10, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    mahela u r keeping ur eye blind to many issues.OSTRICH PHENOMENON.against aussies only RAIN saved you from 2-0 humiliation and poor fielding of pak gifted you another draw. you have to accept that without murali SL is toothless in their bowling and on the other hand except sanga your batting is also pathetic including you. keeping thilan outside playing wasnt a good move as u dont have justifiable replacement. IT IS TIME TO ACCEPT YOUR WEAKNESS AND WORK ON THEM.

  • amjad on November 10, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    The score line should have been 2 nil to Pakistan had Pakistan fielders taken the catches. Yes I agree with Mahela with regards to one bad session- which Pakistan had.

  • Roshini on November 10, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Common MJ you are experienced enough I guess to understand the underlying causes towards this rapid decline on test arena. Your "ONE BAD INNINGS" belief is good to fool the novice. Admit the fact that we were dominated and outplayed by England, Australia in "HOME CONDITIONS" and now by Pakistan on near "DEAD PITCHES". True enough our batting failed at times but it was our highly incompetent bowling unit's inability to get sides bowled out twice that made the difference between winning and losing. Since gaining test status we have had spent 29 years and out came just one consistent match winning spin bowler and two classy fast bowlers in Vass and Malinga. Sorry to say the truth here that our present crop of bowlers are simply not talented enough to trouble the international batters at test level and let alone men even Geoff Boycott's Mum would have fancied batting for two days against our current attack. Roshini Vass - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • amit on November 10, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Not a single Match winning bowler in this SL team . Missing u murali.

  • Ross on November 10, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    jezza 25 - I agree with 'Fauzer'. I have also been a great fan of MJ, classy player and carried the batting with KS for a few years now. But yes maybe put the 'pen' away and concentrate on finishing your individual career on a high plus contribute to the team and leave SLC with a positive and exciting future. They do have some talent there and need to start again. I understand when you say that one session can change the complexion of a match or the confidence of a team, but yes that should not be used as an excuse iin the final outcome (win,lose or draw). SLC has had too many changes at the helm in recent years, namely the board. They need to stabilise so that it has a chain reaction to the coaching staff and players, but with SLC that is an unknown quantity, justified by another 'change' next month (December).

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