Jayawardene takes positives from stalemate
With a draw always on the cards on a flat deck, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, said he was pleased with the way his team performed at the National Stadium, barring the minor blip in their second innings in the final session on the final day, when they lost half their side in quick time.
"I think we always knew that the way the wicket played it would be tough for a result," Jayawardene said after the fifth day's play. "We dominated probably for four days in this Test. I am quite happy that we batted really well upfront and our bowlers bowled their heart out for long periods. So it's a good effort."
Jayawardene felt bowlers would be an "endangered species" if there were more such tracks at the international level. "The wicket didn't misbehave at all; as a batsman I don't think I have complaints. I think even our bowlers also wanted to bat on that wicket. It's always going to be tough for the bowlers if you want to play for a result," he said. "I'm quite happy finishing the first Test with a very good result for us and I'm looking forward to the next one.
"We knew batting first will be always crucial and we put a lot of pressure on them. We had our opportunities and a couple of chances with Younis [Khan] upfront. If we would have held on to those, probably [the result] would have been different so I am quite happy the way things went."
Pakistan were the team under pressure after Sri Lanka scored 644 for 7, but Younis Khan led their reply with a triple-century, eventually helping them gain a lead. "I thought he batted really well, especially his approach. He played lots of shots and controlled the innings," Jayawardene said. "He batted with concentration for quite a period of time. It was a brilliant knock and because of him we couldn't create more opportunities to win the match. He was a bit unfortunate to get out this morning going for that [Lara's] record. I think Dilhara [Fernando] bowled well to him throughout the match and deserved that wicket."
One Sri Lankan batsman who failed to utilise the conditions was their new opener Tharanga Paranavitana. He bagged a golden duck on his first outing and was run out for 9 in the second. "Tharanga is a very talented cricketer. He probably wasn't really himself but I am sure after the first game under his belt he will feel much more comfortable going into the second one," Jayawardene said. "Not many guys on their debuts have batted really well. It was a good experience for him. It's fine as long as he learns from his mistakes and keeps improving."