Jayawardene backs new-look attack
Mahela Jayawardene has said that Sri Lanka's bowlers will attack the Indian batsmen on the third day at the SSC. "We've got the runs on the board so we will attack," Jayawardene said. "We know that they have some quality batsmen who can bat for a long time.
"Today being a short session, we bowled to an attacking field and Viru [Virender Sehwag] got out of it a bit. We'll try and frustrate as much as we can. We need to put a lot of effort. The wicket is still good and we need to be smart about it."
Sri Lanka have four changes to the bowling line-up that won them the first Test in Galle but Jayawardene was confident the new-look attack could do the job. "The two fast bowlers with the old ball will reverse quite a bit. That's why we are playing them. They've got pace as well. Suraj [Randiv] I think was a bit nervous today playing his first Test. He's very dangerous especially if he gets bounce on this wicket. I know [Ajantha] Mendis is very eager to do well here."
Jayawardene said the difference between past SSC wickets and the present one was it was hard and had more bounce. "The ball seems to come on much better and obviously at SSC the first two-three days is pretty good for batting. Later on it will probably spin more and hopefully the bounce will remain the same."
Jayawardene with his captain Kumar Sangakkara created a new Sri Lanka record for the highest number of century partnerships in Tests. Their stand of 193 for the third wicket was the 12th instance they have put together over a hundred runs. It beat the previous record of eleven by Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga.
"We complement each other. Being right and left-handers we get more opportunities. Bowlers can't get into a rhythm. Both of us are more attacking as well. Earlier in our careers we were a lot (more) defensive. Now we attack and put pressure on the bowlers," Jayawardene said. "Kumar batted well. He took a lot of pressure off me early in the morning. After his hundred he was aggressive. I had an opportunity because of that to play my way."
Jayawardene also reached another milestone in his illustrious career when he surpassed Don Bradman's record of nine Test hundreds at one venue (Melbourne). Jayawardene's knock of 174 was his tenth century at the SSC. "He's played what, ten Tests at the MCG. That's Sir Don for you. I needed 23 Tests. That caps it off, I am pleased that I have got the record but I don't think we can compare what he has achieved with what we are doing right now. He's a legend.
"It's a moment for me to remember. I love playing on my home ground. I grew up playing here. It's always fun to play in front of club members and all the fans. You have to be very humble when you break something like Sir Don's record."
Jayawardene said that missing out on a double hundred did not worry him too much. "We knew that 600 would be our benchmark to declare. We knew we needed more time to get India out. I was too tired. With the field MS (Dhoni) set, it was difficult for me to get runs quickly. We had a chat at the tea break and decided to try to get to where we had planned. In a team cause, you can't have regrets like that. I guess I will get my opportunities."