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

Two-fifty is a good score under the new Powerplay rules

Large totals are going to be difficult to achieve without good starts. Teams are going to have to rethink their strategies

Mahela Jayawardene

November 17, 2011

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Lasith Malinga is fired up after dismissing Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Dubai, November 14, 2011
Lasith Malinga gives Sri Lanka's other one-day bowlers an edge with his presence in the side © AFP

It was quite pleasing to finally get that first win, considering how we lost the first one-dayer by a big margin. In the Test matches, we played some good cricket but didn't grasp some of the opportunities, and we repeated that in the first ODI. We had to make sure we didn't do that again in the second match, which we did. I think we controlled the game very well.

We had a very good chat after the first one-dayer, particularly about the areas we were found lacking in. We looked at where we didn't focus enough, and how we could get over a quality side like Pakistan. We were not consistent enough in our batting performances, and we didn't pick up early wickets. This time we managed a decent score, Lasith Malinga took early wickets, we controlled the middle overs, and as a good fielding side we knew we could create some run-out chances.

Pakistan's new-ball attack creates a different sort of challenge, so we had to see through that period. At the same time, we've tended to lose too many wickets in the middle order. That's an area we need to look at, because with the new Powerplay rules, I don't think we will see big totals unless a team gets a really good start and works towards 300. With two new balls at either end, the ball is going to do a lot more most of the time, so we need to rethink our strategy with the new ball and the Powerplays. Given the situation and momentum we got, we were maybe 20 runs short in the second game. I think 230-250 would be a par score these days with the new rules.

When I went in to bat it was the 27th over, we had lost a few wickets, and Pakistan were trying to get on top. I told Upul Tharanga not to panic as we had a Powerplay coming up in another six-seven overs. We just needed to settle the ship, get about three or four runs an over and launch during the Powerplay, and that's what we did. it came at the right time for us, at the 36th over, and we scored 48 runs without losing a wicket. Upul lost his wicket shortly after that but we had enough batsmen to come, so I just had to bat through with them and make sure we got to a competitive score.

During the interval we did fancy our chances, but given that Pakistan bat deep, we knew we had to strike early, and we had to cling on to every opportunity. We did take early wickets, which gave us a lot of confidence, but we dropped a catch off Umar Akmal, batted very well.

Lasith definitely adds a different dimension from our Test attack because he is an attacking bowler who takes wickets at different stages of the game, with the new and old ball. Because of him the others become more effective. We have a few guys with a lot of variations who give us options.

We knew in this second ODI that we had to take control in their batting Powerplay, as they still had Shahid Afridi to follow. Giving them just 26 runs and picking up three wickets was crucial. Till then it had been a 50-50 game.

Regarding my batting position at No. 5: we had spoken to the management and selectors about giving opportunities in different ODI series to youngsters. We talked about sandwiching Dinesh Chandimal between myself and Kumar Sangakkara so as to be able to control things better. We need to experiment more with this sort of thing going forward, and if it doesn't work, fall back on other plans. Chandimal is a very talented player, so hopefully we can guide him.

The Test matches were disappointing for me as a batsman, and I've been trying to spend time in the middle in the ODIs. I started well in the first one but couldn't handle the situation very well, as we were losing wickets. Here, I had the opportunity to take the initiative, which I did, so hopefully I can build on this.

Getting to 10,000 runs in both forms of the game has been one of my targets from about three years ago. I try not to think too much about those milestones. After I get to 10,000 I will sit down and set myself other goals to achieve over the next six months.

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

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Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 18, 2011, 7:35 GMT)

If ICC really want to make it hard for the batsman, allow 2 bouncers in an over.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 18, 2011, 6:50 GMT)

Oh boy... Problem with the Sri Lankan ODI team at the moment is the placement. Chandimal's addition messes all the orders and roles up but he is a very talented player. If Chandimal is playing, Mahela can not bat at number 5. It is a waste of talent. Opening the innings for Mahela in ODIs is ideal, but what then of Upul Tharanga who has shown some great form recently (record breaker too).... Huge chaos right now in Sri Lankan order. Hope they can mend it soon. To be perfectly honest, even though Sanga is a great player, ODI's is just not his song. I would promote Chandimal to 3 and Sanga to 4. Therefore if the three attacking batsman of Dilshan, Tharanga, Chandimal fail, we still have Mahela and Sanga to steady the innings. Very safe plan in my method then having the openers get out, followed by Sanga, then Chandimal (youngster under pressure), leaving everything to Mahela

Posted by DJyash on (November 18, 2011, 6:24 GMT)

@ longlivewoodoo did you see what my point is yes my point is also made the point that it was a whole team effore oneday one person will be a hero just like shahid afridi was the hero in first odi but you said it is just because of malinga we won,did we complain like that in the first was a good allround peformance by pakisthan and we never said no....but you are talking about winning the rest of the tournament just wait and see how will the todays match will go,@ salman_0902 and chapathishot i never said other bowlers took 7 wickets i said others took 7 wickets including three runouts and 4 wickets which shared by dilhara and thissara 2 each so it was all round effore bowling and batting bowlers bowl good areas and didn't allow to score freely,just like akistan did in the first match,but sopeople talk about our batting that is why i said mind about your own team and see who will win the series

Posted by bMike on (November 18, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

In terms of batting averages Mahela might not be the best but in terms of elegant shot selection I don't see any better batsman than Mahela among currently playing batsmen. It doesn't mean that other batsmen can't play all shots or other batsmen don't have a good shot selection. yes they have but most of them use to play their favorite shots when it's needed to accelerate but Mahela can send any bowl to the boundary anytime as he has special elegant shots for each and every bowl.

Posted by playitstraight on (November 18, 2011, 1:14 GMT)

Well said Mahela, and keep it up!!!

Posted by tradetekbiz on (November 17, 2011, 22:31 GMT)

Well that's good because Pakistan is putting up 300+ if they bat first.

Posted by SamAsh07 on (November 17, 2011, 19:09 GMT)

250 won't be enough in this new format, we are all very well aware of how bad Pakistan is during chase, they can chase small totals but when they see a 200+ target, they freak out and lose. Only sometimes do they pull off a miracle.

Posted by chapathishot on (November 17, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

@DJyash : You should correct yourself,Malinga took two wickets and Pakistani batsmen took eight wickets .The match was lost only because of some rush of blood by Umar.He needs to win matches and without doubt he will be one of the future batting stars in world cricket.He reminds me of one of my favorite batsmen Aravinda,Hopefully he might attain that level.

Posted by Charith99 on (November 17, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

Mahela eventhough you and our team is going through a lean period we are still behind you guys , we know that you are doing your best and soon you will get your form back .

Posted by salman_0902 on (November 17, 2011, 14:23 GMT)

Mr. or Miss DJyash seems like didnt see the score card of the 2nd ODI Melinga took 3 wickets and there were 3 tunouts. the other bowlers didnt take 7 wickets.

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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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