Need better tactics against pace trio - Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has said his team's batsmen need to prepare better to take on Pakistan's pace attack. The trio of Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir have caused the hosts' top order problems on the tour so far; Gul and Sami shared six wickets in Pakistan's win in the first ODI in Pallekele. Sri Lanka were restricted to 135 for 8 in a rain-affected game after they had been reduced to 56 for 6 at one stage.
"They are wicket-taking bowlers and are creating opportunities," Jayawardene said after the game. "We discussed it is important we don't give too many wickets upfront with the new ball especially to those three guys.
"Once you expose the middle order, then they get some quality spinners and it's going to be tough for the rest of the batsmen. That's something we need to tactically tackle and see how we can combat properly."
Jayawardene said Tanvir, in particular, had improved since the last time Sri Lanka played him and his unusual action together with the swing and movement was a challenge. "We played Tanvir about three to four years ago but he wasn't accurate at the time. We were getting a lot of loose deliveries. Now he's got more control and a bit of pace as well.
"We need to try and get a good rhythm going with him because he is unusual than the other bowlers, so we need to make sure we tackle that swing first of all and at the same time the variation he has."
Jayawardene defended his decision to bat in conditions that seemed favourable for bowling, given the track had been under the covers and had some moisture in it. "I don't think batting first was the case," he said. "It was just that we had to make sure we didn't lose too many wickets in the first 20-25 overs, especially with the two new balls, and then try to set it up for the last 20 overs.
"If we had batted a bit better and got somewhere to 190, it would have been a tougher challenge chasing. Pakistan's track record in the last six months against us has been pretty good and it was up to us to try and change that but we didn't play to our potential."
The game in Pallekele was Mohammad Hafeez's 100th ODI and proved to be a good one for him. He picked up 2 for 20 in 10 overs and made 37. "As an opener and as a senior player my role is just to go there and spend more time on the pitch," Hafeez said.