June 28, 2012

DRS could have made big impact

We need technology to help the umpires, the ICC can step in and help certain cricket boards finance it

Winning the first Test in Galle was a result of the improvements from our previous Test series and we need to continue the same effort. We need to be consistent in all departments to beat Pakistan.

Obviously the weather was playing at the back of my mind, but we still had two and a half days left. If a full day's play was washed out, we wouldn't have been able to win this Test match, even if I had enforced the follow-on. Those are things I cannot control. What I could control under the circumstances was that our bowlers had bowled around 60 overs so they were tired and even if we had picked up early wickets in Pakistan's second innings, we would have struggled to bowl them out for 300-350. My only concern was how to get these guys fresh enough for the new ball. When we batted the second time, it was still a decent pitch, so the plan was to bat Pakistan out of the Test, which we did. We picked up three crucial wickets in the second innings with the new ball which was vital because we could attack. Fingers crossed, it didn't rain.

There is some talk regarding the DRS and being able to finance it; I think the ICC can step in and help certain cricket boards in that regard. It's important we have the technology to help the umpires. But we don't know how practical this is going to be, in terms of which cricket boards they will support, depending on how much money they have. It's a tough call. But if a cricket board wants to use the DRS but is financially tied down, then the ICC can step in with sponsors and see if they can help them out.

If there is certain technology which is not 100% accurate, then we can keep away from that. But some can be trusted, which will help the umpires in a big way. In this Test, even if we had a scaled-down version of the DRS (like for the England-India series last year) we would have had half those decisions overturned.

Nuwan Kulasekara has been a vital addition to our Test squad. He keeps it very simple, bowls a consistent line and length and tends to move the ball. He keeps it on the off stump and asks questions and therefore he is always going to be successful. There was a period when he didn't have the pace to trouble the batsmen. His one-day performances have been brilliant. When he was out of the Test squad, we had Chaminda Vaas who's very similar to Kula, only of a left-arm variety. But we needed a much quicker bowler from the other end. That's why Kula wasn't picked as consistently while Vaas was playing, but I think now we can afford to pick him.

Kumar Sangakkara built his innings in a very methodical way. He knew which bowlers to attack and which to be watchful of. The way he handled Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal in certain situations was fantastic. The ability to control the innings and build partnerships are some of the things any youngster can learn by watching him bat. There was the drama as he neared his double-century. We were watching the television coverage and we knew the scoreboard had it wrong for a couple of overs and we were hoping they would correct that. When he acknowledged his double hundred we shouted to let him know he was one run short. At this level, you hope that these mistakes are rare but unfortunately he has to live with that.

Kumar can be quite a temperamental guy and obviously no one spoke to him for about 5-10 minutes (after he ended on 199*). He sat down on his chair and I sat next to him and he said, 'I just need some time to cool off' and I told him to take his time

Kumar can be quite a temperamental guy and obviously no one spoke to him for about 5-10 minutes. He sat down on his chair and I sat next to him and he said, 'I just need some time to cool off' and I told him to take his time. We sent out a substitute fielder, but after a couple overs he joined us, looking more relaxed and his frustrations released.

I wanted to be more positive in my approach as well and hence freely employed the scoop and the reverse-sweep against their best bowler Ajmal. I may not do it all the time, depending on the match situation. But at the time, we had scored over 200 runs. I knew we couldn't give them the upper hand and not let Ajmal control us.

We need to be consistent with our opening stands and be more patient with Tharanga (Paranavitana). He gets good starts, has a good technique but he doesn't always convert them. He and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been doing well together, staging a few fifty stands. He made a good comeback after being dropped, so obviously he would have been nervous. We're going to back him.

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

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