Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 4th day March 19, 2013

Jayawardene missed despite series win

Plays of the Day from the fourth day of he second Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo

The poor stroke

Nasir Hossain had largely batted responsibly in the series, before the final day, but as he and Mushfiqur Rahim - Bangladesh's final recognised batting pair - attempted to lift their side to a defendable total, a moment of indiscretion from Hossain saw his team slip even further. He had only arrived at the crease two overs before, after Rangana Herath had removed overnight batsman Mominul Haque, but spotting a flighted Herath delivery on leg stump, Hossain aimed an ambitious lofted drive, against the turn and across the line. The ball dipped beneath the shot, turned to travel through the gap in between bat and pad, and collected off stump.

The drops

Aside from his batting, Mahela Jayawardene has been a terrific slip fielder throughout his career, and his absence has been felt in both matches. On the third evening, Angelo Mathews spilt a chance off Herath, but on day four, it was second slip's turn. Nuwan Kulasekara drew an edge from Sohag Gazi, and even though the ball flew at waist-height, straight to Dimuth Karunaratne, the fielder got himself in a tangle trying to move to the left and couldn't hold on to the chance. Karunaratne moved to short leg for the spinners and grassed a catch there as well, when he let a bat-pad catch off Tillakaratne Dilshan slip through his fingers. 

The shot

The mark of a quality batsman in form, it is often said, is when he can drive a ball along the ground through mid-on. Though he might be considered a tailender, albeit the more capable kind, it was Gazi who produced two such strokes on the final day. The first, which rolled along the carpet from the time it left the bat was perhaps never going to reach the boundary, given the length of the outfield grass. But the second was a searing drive struck off Shaminda Eranga, which hurtled past the bowler at shin-height, and gave mid-on no chance of running across to cut it off.

The bonus
As early as the seventh over of Sri Lanka's chase, the Bangladesh defense was crumbling. Jahurul Islam tried an unnecessary throw at the striker's end with Dilshan inside the crease. The batsmen ran for the overthrow and were gifted another when the same throw was picked up by Tamim Iqbal running in from mid-on, and thrown towards the non-striker's end, only to have it ricochet far enough for Dilshan and Karunaratne to pick up another run.

The single

As soon as Lahiru Thirimanne drove powerfully through the covers with Sri Lanka needing just one to win, everyone, including the Bangladesh fielders, thought the game had ended. The batsmen didn't bother running, and the fielders didn't care for chasing after the ball. Non-striker Mathews even moved towards the stumps to uproot one that would serve as a souvenir of his first Test win as captain. Only, the ball had plugged in the slow outfield again, and had come to rest about a foot from the boundary. It took everyone about three seconds to realise this, and the batsmen looked at each other and ambled the final run, while a fielder looked back and trudged after the ball he never ended up collecting.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent and Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shamalka on March 20, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    @hawkeye: Please yaar give sometime to the new look captain and the new look team. Don't be so jealous and negative. Mahela, Sanga, Dilshan and Herath didn't become superstars overnight. So let the youngsters grow with the time. Until then please keep your mind shut and wait.

  • Neranjan on March 19, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    I totally agree with @hawlkeye , and the author of the article, Mahela's present would have made a huge difference in terms of the game plan concerned. Mahela's tactics is well respected among the players in the team, and Sanga when he was captain did mentioned that Mahela is the best man to lead the team itself. Sri Lanka should be thankful for Mahela for leading in the troubled period when there were no-one to proclaim the captaincy. For me Mahela is the greatest tactician to lead SL team, and he will always will be, but new captions should try to emulate or try to do better than him.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    Mahela won't be be missed any SL games. Mahela has records such as he scored a fifty after 3 years in foreign soil. (Aus 2012-13). He has the worst record in world cups. he scored 21 runs in 7 games, averaging 3 for the game. thats how sL frontline batmen performed. We never got in to the second round . He score runs only in good batting pitches and SL. Everyone knows that. HAWLKEYE said he is tactician!!! what kind a tactician? captains change the bowlers, change the field. select the players with the coach to the game. is it rocket science??? KngOWL made smart comments!!! As a captain he is a failure. Youngster batmen and bowlers won in AUS series.

  • ranjana on March 19, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    KingOwl Mahela earned a reputation as a tactician in the international cricket and also he is the best captain SL has ever produced but not Arjuna. Of course Arjuna won the world cup for SL but in practice and theory Mahela is very much superior than any other captain produced by SL. My point is his Mahela's application would have been different to Mathews's in the Galle test and control the opposition more effectively than Mathews. You are right Sanga and Dilshan were there for Mathews but they are known failures as far as the captanicy is concerned.

  • Chatty on March 19, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    hawlkeye: I totally disagree. It would have made no difference to the match in Galle. This same team could have scored 1000 runs on that pitch, if they had paid a bit more respect to BD. It was clear that the batsmen were pretty careless. On the captaincy front - absolutely not. There were two other ex captains on the field. Mathews had more than enough advice. I think Mahela will be missed against strong teams when playing at home. Away from home, I don't think Mahela will be missed. The young guys play better on fast, bouncy, seaming tracks than Mahela.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    jayawardene has made up a tendency to poke outside off from last couple of years and so his form has also dipped. I remember he used to avg 54-55 but its now under 50.

  • ranjana on March 19, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    SL would have won more respect in the Galle test if Mahela had played there. There is no doubt Mathews needs his assistance to control the opposition, if not we will be ended up loosing heavily to a good test side. Lucky we played with BD without Mahela

  • Mike on March 19, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    hehehe got to feel for Mahela he has a batting average of 49 and this was a very good opportunity for him to climb over that magical 50 and join that small elite club.

  • Philip on March 19, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    SL just managed to beat Bangladesh. It is a stark warning. Not to be able to win home series comfortably. This should be a fortress. Visiting teams rarely had a chance to beat SL at home. But, over the past two years SL have lost games at home. Rankings do not lie and they display the true state of affairs. SL need to get their act together and ensure that home pitches are prepared to their advantage as the OZ, England, India & SA do. You play to your strengths. Since tours are now not given much priority due to the money baggers in IPL, tests matches are at a premium..make hay while the sun shines. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • Chatty on March 19, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    I wonder whether anything other than slip catching was missed of Mahela? Batting-wise, I think not. Mahela would have no doubt hit a century or even a double in Galle. But, the result would have been the same. In Colombo, I don't think it would have made a big difference, which is great for SL. But against tougher opposition, it would probably make a difference - at least for the next year or so until the young ones mature. But, they will be around for a while longer. I think SL are transitioning well.

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