Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, 1st ODI, Colombo July 19, 2007

Sri Lanka strengthened by Jayasuriya return



Not that they missed him, but Sri Lanka won't mind the return of Sanath Jayasuriya © AFP

Mahela Jayawardene acknowledged Bangladesh's growing one-day prowess but warned that his team was determined to win the three-match series starting at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo on Friday at any cost.

"We always respected Bangladesh whenever we played them in Test or ODIs, especially in ODIs where they can be a handful. They've shown that when we played them in Bangladesh. They beat us once," Jayawardene said.

"You can't take the eye off the ball when you play them. We just have to make sure we play the best cricket possible and be consistent about our all round performance. The main thing is to win the series. It doesn't matter how you win it," he said.

For this series Sri Lanka has rested Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan who have captured nearly 700 one-day wickets between them. Jayawardene said: "It's a good opportunity for the others without Vaas and Murali. That's how we look at it. Both of them have been great campaigners for us. What we try to do is try to manage them and give exposure to the other players.

"Their absence is not going to put too much pressure on the rest of the bowlers. The amount of cricket guys like (Farveez) Maharoof, Dilhara (Fernando), Lasith (Malinga) and (Malinga) Bandara have played they know what it is all about. It's a healthy atmosphere and competition that we've got," Jayawardene said.

"In the recent past I haven't thrown the ball to Murali and Vaas at all because I know that guys like Lasith and Dilhara have picked up wickets whenever I had thrown the ball to them. It's not a big issue for us."

The return of Sanath Jayasuriya, the most capped one-day cricketer, adds considerable strength to the batting. "Sanath is fresh and wants to play one-day cricket again. He has played well for Lancashire and he had some really good games. He is looking forward to the opportunity," Jayawardene said.

Sri Lanka delayed finalising their eleven because three of the players (Jayasuriya, Jehan Mubarak and Chamara Kapugedera) arrived from England only on Tuesday.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, remain wary of playing the World Cup runners up, at home to boot. Shaun Williams, the coach, said: "If we are to beat Sri Lanka we need to play better than we did against them in the Test series.

"We have quite a few new players who have come into the one-day team and one of them is Aftab Ahmed who played a fabulous knock to steer us to victory in the practice game on Wednesday," Williams said.

"We are confident of putting up a better performance. To do that our batting must click. I was disappointed with our top order in the practice match with the exception of Tamim Iqbal when we lost half the side for 100. But we showed we had the batting depth and we didn't panic with Aftab leading the way at six," he said.

Aftab, who hit a run-a-ball 91in Bangladesh's three-wicket win, will continue to bat at the same position. The second and third ODIs will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium on July 23 and 25.

Sri Lanka (from): Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Malinga Bandara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Upul Chandana

Bangladesh: Shariar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Thushar Imran, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Shakib al Hassan, Aftab Ahmed, Mushfiqur Rahim, Farhad Reza, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak