Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo April 2, 2012

We'll try and win - Jayawardene


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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajani on April 3, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @KingOwl stole my thoughts. Dropping Chandimal could be better for him in the long run. He has the potential but he needs to fine tune his temperament to be able to play long innings while Mathews has the more suitable game at the moment. Mathews is the incumbent and Chandimal did not do enough to grab the opportunity so Chandimal cannot blame anyone.

  • Simon on April 3, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    If Mathews was the incumbent in the side and only not selected because of injury then he should return when ready. Chandimal certainly looks the goods and will soon be in the team when another player is dropped. In this instance he may have been filling in for an injured player in the first test.

  • Randika on April 3, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    While being overly expressively about selection, SL fans need to take a wider perspective on these matters as well. I too feel that Mathews hasn't done enough to replace Chandimal and to come into the side as a specialist batsman. I think its wise for everyone to reserve their comments till the game is over. I believe the best alternative for Chandimal right now is to re-invent himself as a test opener as Sanath did several years ago. We have a real vaccum upfront with Sanga failing consistently

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Looks like the selectors have made another blunder with selections. Is Mathew's fully fit to play? Isn't this killing the the enthusiasm of a youngster like Chandimal. There are batsmen who have fared worse to be dropped if needed.

  • Satish on April 3, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Why rush Mathews? Retain the 11 which won the game comprehensively and complete the series.. Allow Mathews to get good rest and comeback stronger..

  • Denham on April 3, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    Yet another selection blunder.Chandimal dropped?????? What in the world is the thinking pattern of the selectors????? Yes, he is so young and have a long way ahead but how is he to see to that long future of his if he is dropped and not allowed to prove or perform?? I really don't know what's happening at SLC...a disappointed Sri Lankan

  • Chatty on April 3, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    Here we go again. All the 'expert' fans commenting about selection. Chandimal was dropped because of his poor shot selection. Mathews will be much more solid down the order. Chandimal is a better batsman than Thirimanna. But if Thirimanna is dropped, then who opens? Chandimal? That would be dumb. If Thirimanna was dropped, Paranawithana will have to be brought in. I think that would have been a serious option. But that does not solve the issue with Chandimal. He competes with Mathews for that spot in the lower middle order and it is clear that Mathews has better test match temperament at this stage of his career than Chandimal. So, good selection.

  • Chintaka on April 2, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    Yes, Thirimanna is not a natural opener and could be better prospect in the middle order like Thillekeratne or a Samaraweera. Chandimal is natural No.3/4 for me where you play your best batters (e.g. Richards, Bradman, Lara, Miandad, Tendulkar, Jayawardena, Sanga, Kallis ......)

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    wwe will never be succesfull with these kind of selectors

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    what the hell? whose stupid decision was it to drop Chandimal? they could have dropped Thirimanne instead! it's decisions like this from the selectors that make it hard for Sri Lanka to be a good team. Chandimal is one of the most talented young cricketers at present in the international stage, so give him a chance to improve. He has already proved how good a batsman he is. Very poor decision to drop him! I was shocked to hear the news!

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