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April 2, 2012
News : Injured Welegedara out of second England Test
News : Jayawardene cherishes victory over England
Features : Herath now our No. 1 - Jayawardene
Matches: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS)
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Sri Lanka
Mahela Jayawardene has insisted that Sri Lanka will shelve all notion of playing for a draw in the second Test against England at the P Sara Oval even though that is all they need to secure their first series victory since 2009.
"We'll try and win the series 2-0 as that's when we play our best cricket," he said. "When you are playing a team like England you have to be aggressive, play to win from ball one and look to get in front of them. That's what we will try to do.
"As a team we need to be consistent. It is important for us to have a really good Test match and we'll play to win. To do that we need to do a lot of hard work like we did in Galle. We were put under pressure in certain situations and we came up strong."
Since they beat New Zealand 2-0 in 2009 Sri Lanka have lost five and drawn two Test series. They inflicted England's fourth straight defeat with their 75-run victory in Galle and can knock them off the top of the world rankings with a series victory. Jayawardene believes they remain a huge threat and said the difficulties they have had in Asia is like a team from the subcontinent struggling overseas.
"In the last few years they beat Australia in Australia and they played very good cricket in South Africa as well. They play really well in English conditions," he said. "There are five or six teams in the world who are playing some really good cricket and on any given day in different conditions they can beat each other. That's good for the game.
"England have set standards in the last two years. It's been difficult for them away from home in the subcontinent but for us it's about challenging them and moving on. When we play in conditions which are tougher for us, it's up to us to try and go and challenge ourselves and be consistent. That's a good balance to have."
Jayawardene expected the pitch at the P Sara Oval, which is staging its first Test since 2010, to offer something for batsmen and bowlers. The day before the game cracks were appearing as the surface dried out and they could provide some inconsistent bounce as the match wears on.
"For batsmen it gives good value for shots with a fast outfield," he said. "Most of our tracks have been result-oriented in the last six or seven years."
Sri Lanka will make two changes to their side with Angelo Mathews and Dhammika Prasad replacing Dinesh Chandimal and the injured Chanaka Welegedara. Jayawardene said Mathews would most likely to be played as a specialist batsman but had been bowling in the nets and added he would "see how he felt".
When Mathews was ruled out of the first Test the chairman of selectors, Ashantha de Mel, said his bowling days could be over although with seven wickets at 71.57 that would not be a major loss. A Test average of 39.85 after 22 Tests, with a career-best 105 not out against Australia is a solid base from which to build a career as a specialist batsman. Although he has replaced Chandimal for this Test, they are the future of Sri Lanka's middle order.
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