Sri Lanka v India, 2nd ODI, Hambantota

Jayawardene hails 'confident' Perera

Abhishek Purohit in Hambantota

July 24, 2012

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Isuru Udana, the left-arm fast bowler, had a forgettable ODI debut. His opening over contained five wides and two boundaries and went for 16. It was also the over that was to completely alter the course of the game. With India racing to 31 for 0 in three overs and Udana struggling to cope with the stiff breeze across the ground, Mahela Jayawardene handed the ball to Thisara Perera in the fourth. Perera started with three wicket-maidens taking out Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in each. Three successive wicket-maidens. Almost unbelievable. He could have had a double-wicket maiden but for a dropped catch. Almost ridiculous. India managed 138.

Jayawardene said Udana's waywardness turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Sri Lanka. "Isuru strayed all over the place in the first over," Jayawardene said. "I felt he was a bit too nervous trying to fight with the wind. He bowled really well at practice yesterday.

"The other experienced bowlers I had were Thisara and Angelo [Mathews] so I just gave him the ball because the other day he bowled well from that end and did the job for us. He's improved quite a bit in confidence and I think the consistency is the most important thing which he is striving for. He's been consistent for us in the last six months to one year. Every day he keeps improving and he is putting his hand up to play Test cricket as well."

Increasingly, there is hardly anything that Perera cannot pull off on a cricket field. He slams sixes so effectively that he has already been compared to Lance Klusener and Shahid Afridi, by no less than his coach and captain respectively. Increasingly, defending sides, even if they are ahead, don't feel a total is safe against Sri Lanka till Perera is dismissed.

Increasingly, he is turning out to be that deceptive kind of bowler who can seem innocuous as he runs in, but can easily run through sides. He already has a six-for in ODIs. And he is a big asset in the field. Sehwag fell to the latter quality today, as Perera hung on to an acrobatic return catch.

There was not much swing in the air, but Perera bowled a difficult length, got bounce with his height, and managed some seam movement. Just enough to take Kohli's and Raina's edges.

Perera is having a memorable 2012. He has won games with his batting and bowling, he was Player of the Series in the ODIs against Pakistan and he has shared the new ball in a Test. What has done the trick for him? Tips from Shaun Pollock, the former South Africa fast bowler and Mumbai Indians' bowling coach.

"I think he is a good learner but I will be correct if I say he has worked closely with Shaun Pollock on his action during the IPL time because he wasn't playing much," Jayawardene said. "Polly has given him some good tips with his action. Polly is a great bowler to discuss those kinds of things with. I think [it is] a great opportunity for him so with that and with fast-bowling coaches he has been working hard to get his pace, to get his accuracy.

"Something that he lacked was accuracy in hitting the seam in that good area. He is a tall boy. If he can hit that good area he is always going to create opportunities so I think that's been the change and at practices he is with the ball doing something or with the bat, batting nets, throw downs. He wants to learn so good to see young guys doing that."

Perera said Pollock had asked him to be more upright in his delivery stride so that he could put more force into his bowling and hit the seam with more control. As Jayawardene said, "The IPL sometimes does help some of the players."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (July 27, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

I wonder if this boring SRI-IND Series is ever going to end for once.

Posted by SLMaster on (July 26, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

@bravetigersmustwin, Murali (Doosra), Vaas (offcutter), and Mendis (Carom-ball) have magical deliveries. If you figure them out, (But I do not think Indian ever figure-out Vaas and Murali), of course it is easy to play. But Perera doesn't have magical deliveries other than bowling line & length. So what are you going to figure out. Remember MacGrath, he never had a magical delivery.

Posted by Black_Rider on (July 26, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

@arasrajeev :: Read it bro.Looking forward to see him in the SLPL...

Posted by Colombofan on (July 26, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

good win for SL. disappointing rohit sharma... too many opportunities were given to him and now Indian team management should looking for an alternative .....who was the best no 4 Indian batsman all time????

Posted by   on (July 26, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Perera is a bowling all rounder, please do not promote him in the batting order as 30s and 40s are more than handy from him, if you tell him to focus more on his batting i am sure he's going to loose his bowling skills...

Posted by Sinhaya on (July 26, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

@bravetigersmustwin, you are wrong. Murali and Vaas only failed against India in their last days of cricket. Dont talk too big. Thisara is young and has a long way to go and he will keep getting better and better.

Posted by arasrajeev on (July 26, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

any lankan fan read the article about Akila Dananjaya .it seems he is another ajantha mendis.with seven type of deliveries.he is already bowling in the nets and seniors are having hard time.great news for lanka cricket

Posted by CoverDriveSL on (July 26, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Jayawardene right now. is the Best captain playing International Cricket ..with his tactical moves SL can make This Indian team look like a non test playing nation...ahaa people see the NEW Minos India!!!!! 138 all out...SL will win next T20 also Under Jayawardene's Captaincy !!

Posted by CoverDriveSL on (July 26, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

SL roxxx!!! they will surely win the series 4-1!

Posted by Positive_Critic on (July 26, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

I can remember another guy... Thussara... he also was one of the guys who took a liking to the indian team.. left armer and was also super handy with the willow..

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