Jayawardene hails team for 'winning tough moments'
After the opening hour on the second day of the Galle Test, Sri Lanka were 50 for 5 in their first innings, in response to New Zealand's 221. Before the third day was done, the Test was finished, and Sri Lanka had won by ten wickets.
"This is what winning Test matches is all about," Mahela Jayawardene said after his team took a 1-0 lead in the series. "Winning tough moments and getting ourselves into a winning position under pressure.
"It was a good Test match for the first two days. New Zealand fought really well with the new ball and put us under a lot of pressure. We managed to fight through that situation and get ourselves into a position where the first innings wouldn't have mattered."
Through half-centuries from Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka bounced back from 50 for 5 and made 247, taking a slender first-innings lead. The Test had effectively become a one-innings contest.
"We then had to play the last two innings well to win the Test match, and Rangana [Herath] and Nuwan [Kulasekara] bowled really well this morning to give us that opportunity," Jayawardene said.
New Zealand began the third day on 35 for 1 but collapsed against Kulasekara and Herath, who finished with 11 wickets in the match. They were dismissed for 118 and Sri Lanka's openers achieved the target of 93 in the 19th over. Despite New Zealand's capitulation, Jayawardene said they were "a fighting team".
"Their batsmen struggled purely because of some quality bowling," he said. "Usually at Galle, the team that wins the toss and bats first holds the advantage and goes onto win the match. When we lost the toss, what we spoke about was to make sure that we kept the pressure on. The only thing we could do was to make sure we didn't give them a good advantage after the first day."
Jayawardene said the Galle pitch was "a very good wicket, not one that will deteriorate much until the fourth and fifth day."
"It still looked a very good wicket after the match," Jayawardene said. "I thought Shaminda [Eranga] and Kule [Kulesekara] bowled really well up front, to take some early wickets and put their middle order under pressure, and Rangana came and bowled really well. When you lose the toss in these situations, you have to play safe and stay in control."