Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle March 25, 2012

We need to be more consistent - Jayawardene

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has said performing well in the five-day format on a more consistent basis was his team's main objective. "We are mid-table which shows we haven't been consistent even though we played some really good Test cricket," Jayawardene said on the eve of the first Test against England in Galle.

"We had a good summer against England back in June-July [2011] and we won our first Test match in South Africa but in between we haven't been consistent. It is something that we will try and rectify and be more consistent as a Test-playing nation and try and climb up that ladder," he said.

Sri Lanka have slipped in the Test rankings - they are currently No.6 - following the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010. Since then Sri Lanka have won only one Test out of 17 and lost six.

"That's something we've got to change. We knew obviously after Murali it's going to be a tough challenge for the younger bowlers," Jayawardene said. "We tried different combinations and in South Africa we had a very good combination going and the guys came out pretty good. But we need to try and be consistent with that kind of performance throughout the next 12 months."

Jayawardene said the two Test matches against England were very important for his team and players to switch back to Test cricket after playing a series of one-day matches since January. "Over the last 10 years in international cricket, we've needed to switch pretty quickly between the two forms. We had a successful one-day stint dating back to January when we played South Africa.

"These two Test matches are very important for us and for the guys to switch back on. We have about six guys who are genuine Test players who will come into the squad. They have been training hard. The rest of the boys who have been touring, it's a good challenge to switch back to the longer version."

Late last year, the Sri Lanka players hadn't been paid their salaries from the 2011 World Cup but the board has since brought the payments on track. "We have been paid until the last series in Australia and once the logistics stuff is out they will pay us the balance. We were paid last week, about 10 days back," Jayawardene said. "It is something we just couldn't control but the newly-elected board made us a promise and they kept to it and we continued playing cricket. The boys were quite happy they stuck to their promise and paid us fully."

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