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June 12, 2012
Sri Lanka may not have beaten Pakistan in the last five one-dayers the teams have played at the R Premadasa Stadium, but the hosts' captain, Mahela Jayawardene, is confident of his team doing well in Wednesday's ODI. The way Sri Lanka performed in the second match - winning by 76 runs - following the thumping they received in the first, he said, demonstrated the team's character.
"We haven't played that well against Pakistan [at the R Premadasa Stadium]. It's up to us to challenge ourselves," Jayawardene said. "Pakistan are a quality team. The bowling unit, with the variations they have, has the fire power to play in any conditions, that that is why they are successful in these conditions.
"But the way we played in the first ODI, I thought the guys showed lot of character in the second game when we bounced back. We need to make sure that we [continue to] play to our strength. Like in the last game, we will be challenged in certain situations and we need to handle those situations well. If we do that successfully, the results will be in our favour."
Jayawardene said he was pleased with Sri Lanka's all-round show in Saturday's game. "Against a quality bowling side, we had batting plans and that worked. I thought we put in a disciplined effort with the ball. If we can be aggressive, that's good.
Sri Lanka go into the next game with a tweaked squad; Rangana Herath has been rested for the final three ODIs, and uncapped left-arm spinner Sajeewa Weerakoon has been included in his place. However, Jayawardene said, they were yet to decide on the playing XI.
"We just have to assess the pitch. It looks good from outside. The two side wickets we played on were pretty good. The tracks that we played the last few games on favoured the quicks. You just need to work it out in the middle.
"[In the last match] we were very flexible. Upul [Tharanga] batted well and that set us a good solid platform. We don't want to change too many things quickly. With a right-hand/left-hand combination [opening the batting], we can change the [opposition bowlers'] line, which is good."
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