Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 5th day April 7, 2012

Swann over was decisive - Jayawardene

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Mahela Jayawardene was left to rue missing the opportunity for Sri Lanka's first Test series victory since 2009 and believes if they had survived Graeme Swann's last over on the fourth evening they would have saved the match.

The complexion of the game was changed by Swann who claimed two wickets in the penultimate over to leave the home side with a huge task on the final day. A couple of early dropped catches by Alastair Cook suggested it would be a frustrating time for England, but when Jayawardene received one that spat from Swann this time the catch was taken and Sri Lanka's main hope had gone.

"On a fourth-day wicket that will happen, especially against the second new ball and we knew Graeme would get more bite with it," Jayawardene said. "It was a period we had to survive and if we'd got through the situation I think we would have batted through two more sessions and the game would have been different but that's the quality Swann has.

"Graeme is one of the best offspinners I've faced and he's got variety. We knew going into the series that he would be the challenge. Him and Jimmy Anderson are the two main bowlers that will bowl well in any conditions, which proved the case. We handled them well on some occasions but when you are up against two quality bowlers they will strike as well."

Although those late losses on the fourth evening knocked the stuffing out of Sri Lanka, Jayawardene pinpointed the first two days as the key period of the game. Having won what was expected to be an important toss Sri Lanka could only post 275 and England's top three set a platform from where Kevin Pietersen was able to take the game away from them with a destructive 151 on the third day.

"Before the game started I said the first innings is a very important part, especially in the subcontinent where you need to take advantage up front to put the opposition under pressure," Jayawardene said. "We didn't do that, but credit to the England bowlers who did really well on the first day. I thought 350-375 would have been a good score and the difference was that towards the end. We were playing against a strong team. I thought KP came and changed the game with the way he batted. He took some risks and it paid off."

Jayawardene also stood out with the bat and was named Man of the Series for his 354 runs at 88.50, includeding two centuries. "Over the previous two overseas tours I hadn't been consistent so I had to improve," Jayawardene said of his own performance. "In Australia my one-day form was pretty good and I was able to continue with that. I felt in Test cricket I went too negative, going into my shell but in Galle I came out of that very quickly. Even though at times it looked slow I was in control. I'm doing a lot of things right but the next tour will be a different challenge."

With a little more support the outcome could have been different for Sri Lanka. Kumar Sangakkara's struggles left a big hole in their run-scoring capability although Angelo Mathews suggested during the second Test that he can forge a career as a specialist batsman. Overall, however, Jayawardene was content with his team's performance and the fact they shared a series against the No. 1 Test side. The game in Sri Lanka faces a number of difficulties - not least financial - but following on from their impressive showing in the one-day tournament in Australia, where they almost claimed the title, there were signs that their longer game can develop.

"Good players will step up and that's what England have got. But I'm quite happy, we kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance," he said. "Going forward we can develop the youngsters so as long as the commitment levels are there I'm quite happy. It was a good indication of where we are right now, especially in our conditions. We played against very good opposition and that gave us the chance to challenge ourselves."

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on April 9, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @ Test-is-the-Best - Apologies. You seemed to indicate that poor selection (obviously nothing to do with Eng actually playing well) cost SL and then mentioned about bringing in guys for Sanga, MJ etc on the same post. Understand.

  • on April 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @Voma i suggest you can check swanns bowling figures against India . Well they are not impressive mate.

  • gularan on April 9, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    The test series against England is done and dusted and it once again proved a point viz; that SL's no. 1, 2,and 3 batsmen are non starters and big liabilities along with the opening bowlers. Sri lanka always was and will always be a spin dominant cricket entity and it is a pity that the selectors have not been able to recognise this all important fact. Where was Ajantha Mendis hidden during this series ????? and the moment Sanga sheds his wicket keeping gloves and becomes a man on the street , so to speak, he becomes vulnerable both in his batting and fielding-- the writing is onthe wall for him

  • Test-is-the-best on April 9, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    @JG2704- Mate you are not reading the comment thoroughly. I need to mention that new comers should be ready to take the place of Mahela,Sanga,Dilshan and Thilan ONCE THEY ARE GOING TO RETIRE. If not SL will be left with inexperienced batting line up after few years.

  • on April 8, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    @CricIndia208, Mate dont you think that the same goes for India as well. India does not deserve to play test cricket overseas because of the whitewashes that we have been seeing recently. SL always manage to avoid this unfortunate situation. Besides India has all those SUPERSTARS and CHAMPIONS. @ Sagleeaf, In my understanding Dhammika Prasad is a good lower order batsman. He was batting no. 4 for his college. He also bats little higher in domestic cricket. I have seen him scoring quite a few 30s in test arena too. I think this guy along with Dilhara/Eranga should be playing more often for SL. We need some speed and firepower up front.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    @Test-is-the-Best on (April 08 2012, 13:22 PM GMT) Thought Sanga was rated world numer 1 a few months ago. Is Mahela old then? Surely you're not thinking of replacing him?

  • voma on April 8, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    @RandyOz , how can you be lucky taking 10 wickets ? . Err i suggest you check out Swanns bowling figures against the West Indies . There pretty impressive .

  • voma on April 8, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    It would just be nice for Graeme Swann to recieve the credit that he is due . He is approaching 200 test wickets , if he had been selected earlier in his career . It would be 400 , in both formats .The guy is a match winner , anywhere around the world .

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    @clarke501 on (April 08 2012, 16:35 PM GMT) To be fair in the last test series Sehwag wasn't long enough at the crease to go up against Swann in the 1st 3 inns which I think lasted a combined 8 balls. In the 4th inns Sehwag finally delivered a massive 37 at a blistering pace before Swann got him. In all seriousness I'm sure Sehwag is a different animal at home

  • shillingsworth on April 8, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    @rsrinath - It will be a test series. ODI form is irrelevant. Sehwag etc didn't look particularly impressive against Swann in their last test encounter. I saw no 'hammering', nor anything to back up the rest of the hyperbole in your post.

  • JG2704 on April 9, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @ Test-is-the-Best - Apologies. You seemed to indicate that poor selection (obviously nothing to do with Eng actually playing well) cost SL and then mentioned about bringing in guys for Sanga, MJ etc on the same post. Understand.

  • on April 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @Voma i suggest you can check swanns bowling figures against India . Well they are not impressive mate.

  • gularan on April 9, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    The test series against England is done and dusted and it once again proved a point viz; that SL's no. 1, 2,and 3 batsmen are non starters and big liabilities along with the opening bowlers. Sri lanka always was and will always be a spin dominant cricket entity and it is a pity that the selectors have not been able to recognise this all important fact. Where was Ajantha Mendis hidden during this series ????? and the moment Sanga sheds his wicket keeping gloves and becomes a man on the street , so to speak, he becomes vulnerable both in his batting and fielding-- the writing is onthe wall for him

  • Test-is-the-best on April 9, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    @JG2704- Mate you are not reading the comment thoroughly. I need to mention that new comers should be ready to take the place of Mahela,Sanga,Dilshan and Thilan ONCE THEY ARE GOING TO RETIRE. If not SL will be left with inexperienced batting line up after few years.

  • on April 8, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    @CricIndia208, Mate dont you think that the same goes for India as well. India does not deserve to play test cricket overseas because of the whitewashes that we have been seeing recently. SL always manage to avoid this unfortunate situation. Besides India has all those SUPERSTARS and CHAMPIONS. @ Sagleeaf, In my understanding Dhammika Prasad is a good lower order batsman. He was batting no. 4 for his college. He also bats little higher in domestic cricket. I have seen him scoring quite a few 30s in test arena too. I think this guy along with Dilhara/Eranga should be playing more often for SL. We need some speed and firepower up front.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    @Test-is-the-Best on (April 08 2012, 13:22 PM GMT) Thought Sanga was rated world numer 1 a few months ago. Is Mahela old then? Surely you're not thinking of replacing him?

  • voma on April 8, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    @RandyOz , how can you be lucky taking 10 wickets ? . Err i suggest you check out Swanns bowling figures against the West Indies . There pretty impressive .

  • voma on April 8, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    It would just be nice for Graeme Swann to recieve the credit that he is due . He is approaching 200 test wickets , if he had been selected earlier in his career . It would be 400 , in both formats .The guy is a match winner , anywhere around the world .

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    @clarke501 on (April 08 2012, 16:35 PM GMT) To be fair in the last test series Sehwag wasn't long enough at the crease to go up against Swann in the 1st 3 inns which I think lasted a combined 8 balls. In the 4th inns Sehwag finally delivered a massive 37 at a blistering pace before Swann got him. In all seriousness I'm sure Sehwag is a different animal at home

  • shillingsworth on April 8, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    @rsrinath - It will be a test series. ODI form is irrelevant. Sehwag etc didn't look particularly impressive against Swann in their last test encounter. I saw no 'hammering', nor anything to back up the rest of the hyperbole in your post.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on April 8, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    RandyOz Swan has been very lucky the past 3 years actually. He's been lucky to take 160 odd wickets at 28. Very lucky to have 2 10 wicket matches and 11 5 wicket hauls also. In fact, everywhere I look all I see is a very lucky, mediocre bowler who;s been lucky to terrorise every single test playing nation. I wholeheartedly agree with you. You are a fount of wisdom along with Jonesy and I salute your amazing insight and witty repartee.

  • Test-is-the-best on April 8, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Poor Selection costs the series win. Bring in Sachithra Senanayake, Kulasekara for the next series. Its time to groom few new players to take up the place of Dilshan/Mahela/Sanga & Thilan.....

  • StJohn on April 8, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    I would have picked Panesar over Patel and I think England did Panesar a gross disservice by dropping him so quickly after his great performances in the UAE. I thought stability of selection was a virtue of current England management, but picking Patel seems to be a throwback to the flip-flop caprice and the frequent selection of bits-and-pieces cricketers that characterised the horror years of the 1980s and 90s when England were probably the worst Test side in the world for much of that period. This series also highlights how frustrating 2 Test series can be: there should have been a deciding Test.

  • Sageleaf on April 8, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    People love to find fault with Sri Lankan cricketers. I'm one of the main culprits too. That's because we love the game and our cricketers very much. Whatever I say don't have to be right it's just an opinion. I told before the 2nd test that we are gonna lose and it happened. The reason is I feel Sri Lankans are very good at playing defensive cricket and waiting things t happen instead of find ways to win or make match of it. It has been in their game since 2007 and that why we couldn't go beyond the finishing line and end of been runner up in most tournaments. So I feel even the coaches have not done much otherwise we could have been better. Tell me If Dammika Prasad can bat well how come our top players fail in both tests? Where is our commitment? We are a good team and have to protect home turf advantage. I thought England were a far better side and hope our cricketers have learn something. Mathews has lot of potential but does not play his natural game.

  • dr.thirsty on April 8, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I see a few comments debating whether Swann will have much impact against India. Obviously it remains to be seen, but a line needs to be drawn between performances in ODI's, with their contrived fielding regs and 10 over limits for bowlers, and test matches where the skipper sets his field and the bowler builds on a plan. Swann has only played 2 tests in India (in fact his first 2 tests), and his figures aren't too bad for a debutant offie. He took 8 wickets, including 2 in his very first test match over, against excellent players of spin. His victims were no mugs either - Dravid 3 times; Gambhir 3 times; Sehwag, Laxman and Tendulkar. Personally, I'd just about settle for an average of 4 wkts per match this time around.

  • JG2704 on April 8, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    @yorkslanka on (April 07 2012, 17:11 PM GMT) Nothing related to your post , but just wondering where the Yorkslanka user name comes from. Are you a Sri Lankan living in Yorkshire?

  • spence1324 on April 8, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @randyoz least england can produce a spinner of any quality and not having to pluck one out from the Adelaide oval house keeping staff!

  • shillingsworth on April 8, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    @RandyOZ - in the 4 tests you refer to Swann took 19 wickets at an average of 27. The statement that his performances in these matches 'proved how really bad he is' seems strange, to say the least.

  • m0se on April 8, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Prior missed stumping of Thirimanne off Swann. Prasad was dropped by Finn and Matthews by Cook off Swann. Swann should have had 9 wickets to his name.

  • cbradbury on April 8, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    I have to agree, randyoz, Swann is no Xavier Doherty, that's for sure...

  • Lord.emsworth on April 8, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    While Swann deserves the praise that MJ so rightly gives him it would have been nice if the Capt. gave Herath a leg up in the same statement too. Still, it was not just Swann who brought up the England win...It was the very poor SL top order that failed miserably & consistently with a few (MJ, Sam) exceptions.

  • CricIndia208 on April 8, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    sri lanka's record in India is pathetic. sri lanka do not deserve to play tests.

  • rsrinath on April 8, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @clarke501 swann was badly exposed by the likes of kohli, gambhir,dhoni and rahane in the odi series in india.so he can expect a similar hammering in the tests this year when sachin,VVS,sehwag(who can handle him even when in half sleep) return.

  • INDIKAOPC on April 8, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    Batting has let SL down again.Three top players Dilshan/Sanga and Thilan were not able to make their usual contributions.It's time that at least two batsmans should be able to get more than 80+ and let the ever perfoming tail come and do the rest with All rounder AM.This willl get us in to +400. I know its easy to say this but our guys are capable and thats the very reason why there in that spot representating SL. Also did the wicket play a crucial part in this game?? Guess not. If England can get 400+ in this wicket batting second against one of the reputed spin attacks, that tells the story. We need to put up a plan to overcome these issues as we are loosing tests away as well as in our own soil.

  • TheDoctor394 on April 8, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    RandyOZ... personally, I think any bowler who has 182 wickets after 41 tests, at an average of 27, has done a lot more than just "get lucky".

  • VillageBlacksmith on April 8, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    @captmeanster... Are u really suggesting that 3 wkts in max 4 overs in a tin pot 20/20 tournament like the tedious and irrelevant IPL means a retired bowler should suddenly be in a 5day 40+C test match??

  • Drew2 on April 8, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Interestingly, Graeme Swann's bowling average is, at the moment, better than any Indian spin bowler in Test history. This for a bowler brought up on English and not sub continent pitches. He is definitely a big part of England's recent success. When it is all said and done, England have struggled on the subcontinent pitches, but not as much as the subcontinent teams on English pitches, so they are still a top two side.

  • RedShirt on April 8, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Nice post match analysis by MJ. A tad bit disappointed that he and Sanga didnt say a word yet about india's overseas record. Maybe next when SL loses to india they will point it out very boldly.

  • RandyOZ on April 8, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Swann got lucky, that's about it. His previous 4 tests proved how bad he really is. He will get carted by the Windies, SA and then India. However, until then, he is surely due an OBE.

  • whyowhy on April 8, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    There was no third test only because of the IPL and I hope Dilshan gets his hot spot during the IPL........maybe he will not play because India does not have DRS leave alone the hot spot.

  • on April 8, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    Well done SL but you will need to go back on to your drawing board on selection issues. This guy Lakmal, refresh my memory , has he ever taken 3-4 wickets in a test match? PJ is a superb wicketkeeper and a good batsman. He is not a specialist batsman. I think it would be better for Sanga to take over the wicketkeeping duties and SL to play an another specialist batsman. After all Sanga is completely out of form these days. Lahiru needs more time in domestic cricket. Chandimal should be opening up with Dilshan. Mendis, Dilhara, Eranga should be looked at for future tests.

  • rajabojuna on April 7, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Sanga of course will come good soon (hopefully) and his class will show again, but I thought he started off in Galle with an air of over-confidence if not a tad of 'arrogance' which is fatal for any cricketer, a la a Kevin Peterson? Perhaps greatness and humility can co-exist in this world?! Mahela should strive not to fall into that same trap, now that he has demonstrated his overall prowess once again, coming off a relatively lean patch - there's a lot to look forward to with these two Lankan blokes in the final few years of their impressive careers, so I hope they will not disappoint!

  • rajabojuna on April 7, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    Not sure about whether that Swann over was the decider here, as Sri Lanka was really not on par (frankly) in either bowling or batting. Its bowling lacks penetration, especially the "pacies", and the spinners (with apologies to Herath) were likewise not able to exploit the fairly placid wicket as Swann proved could be done effectively. In the batting department, Lanka should seriously consider it's opening pair of Thirimanne and Dilshan. The former needs a lot more maturity under his belt in order to provide that necessary aura of dependability required of an opener, and the latter, well... enough said already of his flashing blade. While the best of teams do suffer from a 15-3 or 20-3 score sometimes within the first five overs, Lanka needs to put in place some serious remedies to obviate this risk which has happened all too often, causing consistent slides of epic proportions insofar as test cricket goes.

  • razors_1981 on April 7, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    what i don't get is why SL keep playing 2 fast bowlers when playing in slow, low Asian conditions. if Dily and Rangana can open the bowling with the new bowl. Ok may be 1 faster men. why don't we get an another batter(Chandimal) or even a spinner instead.Using 2 faster men in these 2 test matches were just a waist.

  • shillingsworth on April 7, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    @Spelele - The Indian batsman who 'unsettled' Swann most during the 2011 series (Dravid) has retired. The only pitch which helped the spinners during that series was at the Oval and Swann duly took 9 wickets in the match. So much for him being 'taken out of the equation'. I'd suggest that it is India who need a 'Plan B'.

  • JG2704 on April 7, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    @Vindaliew on (April 07 2012, 13:43 PM GMT) I'd say you'd have to look at your top 3s failures as above everything else. If any of them contributed a decent score in either inns you'd have probably been looking at drawing the match - saving the series

  • CricketingStargazer on April 7, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    Well played Sri Lanka. Your lads did the country proud with two fighting performances. What a pity we didn't have a Third Test to give us a series winner. Excellent comeback from England who justified a slightly controversial team selection with the win that they needed by playing to the stengths that took them to #1. Kudos all round.

  • Valavan on April 7, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    @Sinhaya, it matters only winning tests, i feel not just SL, all teams have issues in selection and so on, SLC really made sportive pitches, not like in India with high scoring draws. cricinfo please publish.

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 7, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    England will take some confidence from this result. But in no way are they yet a good team on slow, low Asian conditions. Having said that, any experience from winning or drawing games in such conditions would put them in a brisk state of mind. SL on the other hand, well they are a bit weak in the bowling department. Did any of you guys see the IPL game between RCB and DD ? Murali was in great form picking up 3 wickets !! why isn't this man playing test cricket for SL ?! Hmm...

  • jmcilhinney on April 7, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    It's all very well saying that Sl could/would have won if they hadn;t lost those two wickets to Swann at the end of day 4 but then England could just as easily say that they could/would have won in Galle if they hadn't lost two of their wickets, or Anderson had caught MJ on 90 or Broad hadn't overstepped. Swann could just as easily have taken those wickets in his first over on day 5. Stuff like that is like saying "we would have won if we hadn't lost".

  • yorkslanka on April 7, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    we should have played Eranga, he proved it agianst the aussies in his first series and as a result of his injury, he never ot another chance..now he is recovered, get him into the tem to gain experience...

  • dalpadadu on April 7, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    if you take the cricket talent between england and srilanka, england are far better than present srilanka team.as we are very famous playing well against spin in asian conditions but the present pack does not have that talent to proove.just memorise how mahela and peterson handled the spinners.mahela was over cautious and peterson was in aggresive mood to face spinners.no srilankan player was in a aggresive mood to face swan and patel.our scoring rate was very poor if you compare with england run rate.sanga and dilshan is realy out of form but nobody cannot do anything to them because we dont have any replacement for those 2 players.its a fault of the present srilanka cricket oficials.what is new coacher doing no improvments, there is a batting coacher but i have not seen any changes from batsman side still playing the old strokes and they dont have a idea to handle swan.if you need to score against swan the batsman should play ver aggresively.he is not a good turner to defend.

  • Spelele on April 7, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Jayawardene is right. In a match, there is always that one defining point which turns the match one way or the other. Thilan is a tough customer who loves batting when SL have their backs to the wall. Had he survived into Day 5, things might well have been different. Swann really deserves credit for that super over! However, England's reliance on Swann to turn matches around at decisive points in this series does not bode too well for the tour of India later this year. As they've shown before, Indian batsmen can easily unsettle Swann and take him out of the equation. Will be interesting to see whether ENG will have a plan B in India.

  • on April 7, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    eally fascinating 2 test matches on truly sporting wkts ..there was really the meaning of test in every moment in both colombo and galle .who says SL pitches are roads ? ..shame there is no third test to decide ..1-1 going in to third match at kandy will be amazing to watch..what more a test cricket fan need ..shame shame SLC y not 3 rd test ? was it because IPL ..P this is a right result to mahelas and de mels stupid selections of not picking talented chandimal and Eranga and playing below avg lakmal and thirimanne.stupidity at its best .and Prasanna once agn failed when the team needs most ..chandimal shuld play every game for thiri or if not prasanna..damn this MEl & mahela agn .we remeber what they did few yers back when selecting school level MUBARAk and ARNOLD ahead of Dilshan and Atapattu .wil it be agn happaning ?ENg at the moment has the spin factor to rate higher than SA and Aus .and because of every other teams r rubbish away home Eng team is good or deserve 1:)

  • Ksaminda on April 7, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    yeah a great fight. its sri lanka played all the two tests without a first 3 batsmen.its not normal to them bcos nrmly sanga is very consistent also dilshan.. i dnt knw y upul tharanga is not playing as the opener he is in good form and for 5 or 6 years they havent even check upul as a teat bats men..and talking about the team most of the guys whoget tch with sri lanka cricket ws suprsd bcos thy didnt gave a chance to shaminda eranga.. after all even in the first game i felt Ajantha mendis should have been playing but unftnly he is having an injury...also all the sri lankan regular players looks so tired as they should br bcos even for the last year they havent had a rest..but i dnt think they will have it even now.(#IPL) so it was good fight by mahela.samare,anji,Pjayawardena,herath, also lakmal n dhammika gave there best to..so lets wish for the best good luck lions :D

  • Sinhaya on April 7, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    @Valavan, I fully agree. Also, poor thinking by our cricket board. We could have prepared a dead pitch which would have allowed free flow scoring of 500 and drawn the match and won the series. Our eager to win 2-0 has backfired. Mahela is a good captain, but our bowling is toothless. Just Herath doing everything in the post Murali era. We need Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad and Sachithra Senanayake to be our bowlers along with Herath of course for the next test series with Pakistan.

  • on April 7, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Mahela is a great batsman and gentleman. I wish SL the best of luck but feel while they have quality batsmen they will struggle to win series with their current bowlers. Herath is good but the fast bowlers really lack penetration. The fact that Mahela did not give them a single over in the second inning is remarkable and suggests he does not trust them, perhaps rightly.

  • Vindaliew on April 7, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    I don't understand it - they lost one set batsman and one nightwatchman. How devastating can that be? In my opinion the backbone was broken early in the morning when both Jayawardenes departed within a few overs of each other, leaving Matthews to bat with a tail already truncated through the loss of two nightwatchmen.

  • Valavan on April 7, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Mahela is real gentleman of cricket from subcontinent. i can also give that credit to players like Younis Khan, they accept their faults and appreciates opposition whenever credit is due. cricinfo please publish.

  • on April 7, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Like some suggested, it would have better had Sanga and Dilshan (Mahela too, but he played excellently here as well) been rested for Asia Cup. Also, I think we did a mistake by opening with Thirimanna, that position should have been given to Tharanga as he is in good form (also, with his batting, he can be developed as a good test batsman, he has more than 12 100s in ODI matches, means he can play long innings regularly as well). One more thing is that, with this way of batting, Dilshan should be sent in middle order or totally dropped until he finds forms in long version or he should be clearly informed that he needs to score runs otherwise will be dropped. Also, coaching staff should tell lower order batsmens that they cannot simply gift their wickets, we have seen so many occations if they really want, they can support other regular batsmens to score some usuful runs, but in Sri Lanka, it seems bowlers never think (or have been asked) to work on their batting.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 7, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Having reigned supreme for at the last three years, he's been a touch out of form in the last three months but he hadn't played any cricket for 4 months before that so we'll let him off given that his strike rate has remained consistently good. The tormentor of the Aussies, India et all, the world number one spinner is back!

  • nair_ottappalam on April 7, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Mahela is a good fighter and one of the finest batsmen in the sub-continent. He has 10000 + runs in both forms of cricket. And ha, he has made the right observation. But for Swann's over they would have survived the match. Was the Lankan decision to send Randiv (nightwatchman) ahead of Mathews really called for? Was it not a decisive factor?Overall, England have played some quality cricket after their debacle in the gulf recently. Now they can go home and look forward to crush the windies

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  • nair_ottappalam on April 7, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Mahela is a good fighter and one of the finest batsmen in the sub-continent. He has 10000 + runs in both forms of cricket. And ha, he has made the right observation. But for Swann's over they would have survived the match. Was the Lankan decision to send Randiv (nightwatchman) ahead of Mathews really called for? Was it not a decisive factor?Overall, England have played some quality cricket after their debacle in the gulf recently. Now they can go home and look forward to crush the windies

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on April 7, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Having reigned supreme for at the last three years, he's been a touch out of form in the last three months but he hadn't played any cricket for 4 months before that so we'll let him off given that his strike rate has remained consistently good. The tormentor of the Aussies, India et all, the world number one spinner is back!

  • on April 7, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Like some suggested, it would have better had Sanga and Dilshan (Mahela too, but he played excellently here as well) been rested for Asia Cup. Also, I think we did a mistake by opening with Thirimanna, that position should have been given to Tharanga as he is in good form (also, with his batting, he can be developed as a good test batsman, he has more than 12 100s in ODI matches, means he can play long innings regularly as well). One more thing is that, with this way of batting, Dilshan should be sent in middle order or totally dropped until he finds forms in long version or he should be clearly informed that he needs to score runs otherwise will be dropped. Also, coaching staff should tell lower order batsmens that they cannot simply gift their wickets, we have seen so many occations if they really want, they can support other regular batsmens to score some usuful runs, but in Sri Lanka, it seems bowlers never think (or have been asked) to work on their batting.

  • Valavan on April 7, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Mahela is real gentleman of cricket from subcontinent. i can also give that credit to players like Younis Khan, they accept their faults and appreciates opposition whenever credit is due. cricinfo please publish.

  • Vindaliew on April 7, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    I don't understand it - they lost one set batsman and one nightwatchman. How devastating can that be? In my opinion the backbone was broken early in the morning when both Jayawardenes departed within a few overs of each other, leaving Matthews to bat with a tail already truncated through the loss of two nightwatchmen.

  • on April 7, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Mahela is a great batsman and gentleman. I wish SL the best of luck but feel while they have quality batsmen they will struggle to win series with their current bowlers. Herath is good but the fast bowlers really lack penetration. The fact that Mahela did not give them a single over in the second inning is remarkable and suggests he does not trust them, perhaps rightly.

  • Sinhaya on April 7, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    @Valavan, I fully agree. Also, poor thinking by our cricket board. We could have prepared a dead pitch which would have allowed free flow scoring of 500 and drawn the match and won the series. Our eager to win 2-0 has backfired. Mahela is a good captain, but our bowling is toothless. Just Herath doing everything in the post Murali era. We need Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad and Sachithra Senanayake to be our bowlers along with Herath of course for the next test series with Pakistan.

  • Ksaminda on April 7, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    yeah a great fight. its sri lanka played all the two tests without a first 3 batsmen.its not normal to them bcos nrmly sanga is very consistent also dilshan.. i dnt knw y upul tharanga is not playing as the opener he is in good form and for 5 or 6 years they havent even check upul as a teat bats men..and talking about the team most of the guys whoget tch with sri lanka cricket ws suprsd bcos thy didnt gave a chance to shaminda eranga.. after all even in the first game i felt Ajantha mendis should have been playing but unftnly he is having an injury...also all the sri lankan regular players looks so tired as they should br bcos even for the last year they havent had a rest..but i dnt think they will have it even now.(#IPL) so it was good fight by mahela.samare,anji,Pjayawardena,herath, also lakmal n dhammika gave there best to..so lets wish for the best good luck lions :D

  • on April 7, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    eally fascinating 2 test matches on truly sporting wkts ..there was really the meaning of test in every moment in both colombo and galle .who says SL pitches are roads ? ..shame there is no third test to decide ..1-1 going in to third match at kandy will be amazing to watch..what more a test cricket fan need ..shame shame SLC y not 3 rd test ? was it because IPL ..P this is a right result to mahelas and de mels stupid selections of not picking talented chandimal and Eranga and playing below avg lakmal and thirimanne.stupidity at its best .and Prasanna once agn failed when the team needs most ..chandimal shuld play every game for thiri or if not prasanna..damn this MEl & mahela agn .we remeber what they did few yers back when selecting school level MUBARAk and ARNOLD ahead of Dilshan and Atapattu .wil it be agn happaning ?ENg at the moment has the spin factor to rate higher than SA and Aus .and because of every other teams r rubbish away home Eng team is good or deserve 1:)

  • Spelele on April 7, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Jayawardene is right. In a match, there is always that one defining point which turns the match one way or the other. Thilan is a tough customer who loves batting when SL have their backs to the wall. Had he survived into Day 5, things might well have been different. Swann really deserves credit for that super over! However, England's reliance on Swann to turn matches around at decisive points in this series does not bode too well for the tour of India later this year. As they've shown before, Indian batsmen can easily unsettle Swann and take him out of the equation. Will be interesting to see whether ENG will have a plan B in India.