'We will always push ourselves' - Jayawardene
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said that his players were constantly challenging their individual comfort zones after his team had recorded their second straight three-day victory in a Test beating Bangladesh by an innings and 90 runs at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium. "If you are not put under pressure it's quite easy for us to take things easy. But if we focus on us improving ourselves challenging individually to be better cricketers, we will always push ourselves to come up with good performances," he said at a post-match press conference.
"Everyone is doing well, the way Malinda (Warnapura) came back after the first Test match it was brilliant. He showed a lot of patience. It's not easy for a guy who made his debut and got a first ball duck to settle down and start scoring runs. He looked really motivated and his temperament was good. There are a few areas he has to work on like technique and all that. When he plays more matches he can do that," Jayawardene said.
Jayawardene said he was not surprised by Bangladesh's late fightback when they prolonged the match into the final session of the third day after beginning at 69 for 4. "We knew they had the talent. Even in the first Test second innings their top order batted really well. It was for us to create pressure and opportunities. When we do that we get wickets but sometimes when we don't get those half chances going our way and not creating opportunities you have to be patient and wait for it to happen," he said.
"We've been spoilt a bit a couple of the first innings when we get sides out for 62 and 89. You think you could bowl them out but this is actually how Test cricket is when you play on good tracks. Any opposition if they put their head down and bat, it's going to be a struggle. There were a few half chances, close decisions."
The Sri Lanka captain was, however, quick to praise his bowlers. "(Chaminda) Vaas's bowling was brilliant. With him it's all about patience. With the old ball he will reverse a bit. He created a few opportunities but it didn't come his way. Yesterday him and Dilhara (Fernando) were both brilliant. With Lasith's (Malinga) and the unpredictability with (Muttiah) Muralitharan we got a decent line up. It's all about playing as a unit," he said.
Jayawardene rated his counterpart Mohammad Ashraful's unbeaten 129 as the best knock he's seen under the conditions. "Bangladesh were not under pressure. They probably knew the outcome and Ashraful just played himself in. He didn't play that many shots but he knew how to control the innings. He played a very good innings today. He had a good partner in Mushfiqur Rahim. He was a bit aggressive at the start but he settled down as well. The thing is Ashraful batted at No. 6. When you do that the side is gone. The best player should be batting right up in the order and taking more responsibilities. It's always good to have individuals doing well. Credit should go to Ashraful and the other guys. But its all about trying and being competitive in Test cricket. That's the area Bangladesh should be looking at not just the individual," he said.
Bangladesh coach Shaun Williams said Test cricket was a tough school and his team really needed to take a long hard look at themselves. "Our bowers need to be more consistent and we need to bowl better areas for longer periods. It's a tough ask when we haven't scored enough runs. We need to bat better and if we do that the bowlers will lift their standards as well," he said.
Williams went on to say that something needs to be done about their first innings batting performances. "Whether the guys are nervous on day one I am not sure. It is something we need to look at. The context of the game changes when you bat poorly in the first innings and then there is a big total facing you." He praised the batting of Ashraful and Mushfiqur and said the rest of the team should take the positives that came out of that record partnership and take it to the third and final Test starting at Kandy next Wednesday.