Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC, Colombo June 29, 2012

Sri Lanka won't play safe - Jayawardene

24

With Sri Lanka 1-0 up in the three-match series against Pakistan going into the second Test, the captain Mahela Jayawardene said his team will not adopt a defensive outlook as they chase their first Test series win in nearly three years. Jayawardene said it is not his style to play for a draw and that it is important to maintain the momentum gained from a comprehensive 209-run win in Galle.

"I don't play cricket like that. I play to win, including charity matches," Jayawardene said after a practice session at the Sinhalese Sports Club. "I try and influence that into my team as well. Playing safe is not going to win you matches or series. You have to be create that positive atmosphere from ball one. That's how you develop the culture of winning."

Sri Lanka clicked in all departments in Galle, shutting out Pakistan from the opening session, and building themselves a position from which they had the option of enforcing the follow-on. They have the chance to close out the series at the SSC, where they have not lost a Test since 2004, against Australia. Since then, the hosts have won six games and drawn five.

Going by the number of high scores at the ground in recent years, Jayawardene cautioned that the bowlers will have to be at their top to take 20 wickets. "Getting 20 wickets on this is hard work. It's a great place for a batsman to develop his game, but not so much for the bowlers," Jayawardene said. "We know Pakistan will come hard at us."

Though nobody in the squad is nursing an injury, Sri Lanka are in a quandary whether to retain their fastest bowler, Nuwan Pradeep, after the chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel cast doubts on whether Pradeep was fit enough to last consecutive Tests. Either Dilhara Fernando or Thisara Perera will replace him, should Sri Lanka force a change.

"It's not a bad headache to have. We need to think if we need to bring in an experienced bowler (Fernando)," Jayawardene said. "Thisara comes into the fold as well.

"Sometimes, the unknown quantity can surprise. A guy who hasn't played much may come in not overwhelmed by the occasion and have a great game. Those are factors you have to weigh in when you make a decision on the line-up."

Persistent injuries, particularly to the fast bowlers, have prevented Sri Lanka from fielding a settled bowling attack. While the batting line-up has plenty of experience, Jayawardene said there was still work to be done with the bowling.

"We are trying to develop a bowling attack that will hunt in a pack. We don't yet have the experience of a Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] or a [Chaminda] Vaas," he said. "We have Rangana Herath who has taken over the mantle after being Murali's understudy. Unfortunately, [Chanaka] Welegedera is injured."

Jayawardene had said at the start of the series that Sri Lanka's success would depend on how well his batsmen fared against Pakistan's bowlers. He said he was pleased with the progress so far, especially after their defeats in the Tests and ODIs in their previous encounter, in the UAE last year.

"I've seen it mentioned in a lot of places that it's their bowling versus our batting. We've probably won that battle until now. If we put runs on the board we will put their batting under pressure. In the UAE our batting didn't perform to expectations and that's why we lost."

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 2, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Paranawithana is gone. I want to see How over confident Mahela saves this test.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 1, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Rain will win this test, IF SL do not bat with Over-Confidence. Mahela should score a double century for the Mess he did.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    This is called Over Confidence. Mahela should have batted first.

  • drdani on June 30, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    @prasadGunawardane--agreed !!

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    This is called Over Confidence. Mahela should have batted first.

  • PrasadGunawardane on June 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    Well i deny this point of Mahela that 'he and his team do not play safe Cricket'. Having it 472 on the board and having dismissed the opposition for 100 runs with a first innings lead of 372 in probably the best spinning pitch in the world; Mahela was not confident to ask Pakistan to follow-on. Instead he decided to collect some quick runs and make sure the safe victory. I would never think that any other captain would have done so, as he did in Galle at the 1st Test. Even he had Muralitharan in his bag, he could have not asked the opposition to follow-on. Now in this 2nd TEST, having won the toss with a great experience in SSC pitch over 15 years; Mahela got afraid for what you call slight movement in the first half an hour. Hence he decided to field first in a prime batting pitch where tons are always produced. Having analyzed all these scenarios, i would say Mahela always plays safe Cricket as a team.

  • rsheryar on June 30, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    JAYAWARDENE IS FRUSTRATING WHILE THE PAKISTANI CAMP ARE ENJOYING HOPE THE PAKISTANI CAMP SHOULD BOWLED HARD TO WIN THE MATCH

  • praveen4honestremark on June 30, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    I have a doubt friends, any one clarify me please. Is this the same Randiv playing in the test matches who has deliberately bowled a no-ball Sri Lanka v India, 3rd ODI, Dambulla on 16th Aug 2010 ( http://www.espncricinfo.com/sl-tri2010/content/story/472780.html).. Another doubt is, whether his action is legal or not??

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    But he won the toss and put PAK in. What a mess he did. If SL batted first and put 500 the rest would have taken cared itself.

    I do not know how SL is going get out of this trouble

  • CheeseOnAStick on June 30, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Not play safe? I'll believe that when I see it. I haven't looked up the stats but it feels like every time I watch Sri Lanka play Test cricket it is about getting a big enough score to secure a draw. Winning just happens by chance.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 2, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Paranawithana is gone. I want to see How over confident Mahela saves this test.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 1, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Rain will win this test, IF SL do not bat with Over-Confidence. Mahela should score a double century for the Mess he did.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    This is called Over Confidence. Mahela should have batted first.

  • drdani on June 30, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    @prasadGunawardane--agreed !!

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    This is called Over Confidence. Mahela should have batted first.

  • PrasadGunawardane on June 30, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    Well i deny this point of Mahela that 'he and his team do not play safe Cricket'. Having it 472 on the board and having dismissed the opposition for 100 runs with a first innings lead of 372 in probably the best spinning pitch in the world; Mahela was not confident to ask Pakistan to follow-on. Instead he decided to collect some quick runs and make sure the safe victory. I would never think that any other captain would have done so, as he did in Galle at the 1st Test. Even he had Muralitharan in his bag, he could have not asked the opposition to follow-on. Now in this 2nd TEST, having won the toss with a great experience in SSC pitch over 15 years; Mahela got afraid for what you call slight movement in the first half an hour. Hence he decided to field first in a prime batting pitch where tons are always produced. Having analyzed all these scenarios, i would say Mahela always plays safe Cricket as a team.

  • rsheryar on June 30, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    JAYAWARDENE IS FRUSTRATING WHILE THE PAKISTANI CAMP ARE ENJOYING HOPE THE PAKISTANI CAMP SHOULD BOWLED HARD TO WIN THE MATCH

  • praveen4honestremark on June 30, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    I have a doubt friends, any one clarify me please. Is this the same Randiv playing in the test matches who has deliberately bowled a no-ball Sri Lanka v India, 3rd ODI, Dambulla on 16th Aug 2010 ( http://www.espncricinfo.com/sl-tri2010/content/story/472780.html).. Another doubt is, whether his action is legal or not??

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 30, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    But he won the toss and put PAK in. What a mess he did. If SL batted first and put 500 the rest would have taken cared itself.

    I do not know how SL is going get out of this trouble

  • CheeseOnAStick on June 30, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Not play safe? I'll believe that when I see it. I haven't looked up the stats but it feels like every time I watch Sri Lanka play Test cricket it is about getting a big enough score to secure a draw. Winning just happens by chance.

  • Dadu786 on June 30, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    Try Azhar with Hafeez and drop Taufeeq to bring Ayoub in middle order, good luck pakistan, Pakistan's middle order is better than shaky opners.

  • gularan on June 30, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Mahela please please follow the earlier batting order and send upul down the order in the tests which will give a bit of' " PANA " to the middle order.why not make dilshan bowl a few in the 2nd test. do not be stereotyped as this will make you predictable and hence easy to work out by the opposition.

  • Happy_AusBang on June 30, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    Pakistan's batting woes are nothing new so I won't worry too much about that. More worrying is their standard of fielding. I don't know whether they could have addressed that in the few days break, but fielding will be critical if Pakistan aim to square it up. Lastly, and frustratingly, the standard of umpiring has to improve substantially if we want a good game. Pakistan should make a decision not to play any tests if DRS is not there. They had a clean sweep against England earlier in the year only because DRS was there otherwise a lot of the decisions were going against them.

  • Htc-Android on June 29, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    by the way sri lanka should try youngsters like angelo perera,chandimal, dimuth karunaratne. thirmanne and bhanuka. persisting with the same group of players wont work sri lankan team. by the way dilshan has to retire from test matches and focus on odis and t20s, he is not a test match material.paranavitharana shouldnt be in the srilankan team. he hasnt done anything at international level.

  • yorkslanka on June 29, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    @raj2000- so what if we do play it safe to ensure a result?havent you heard of the term "pick your battles"..to me, it is more ensuring your positives are more than your negative chances to get a result...

  • fatherofcricket on June 29, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    one loss not gonna make any impression to any opposition that they gonna lose this too, Pakistan are in front when compared ODI's and Tests between those two nations. I am not supporting any team but to be practical that's the fact. The game tomorrow gonna be a tough one because the pitch favourable for spinners after a day or two. Anyhow the side plays better gonna win.

  • drdani on June 29, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    i agree with raj2000-mahela did play safe in first test..i also criticised his comment that he wanted to give rest to his bowlers coz they were tired ?? cmon..r they professional test bowlers or street-level bowlers !! i definitely agree with mahela that its the battle of pak bowling v SL batting...pak bowling is hurt badly..they will surely give a hard time to SL batting..i also believe that only sanga could b a problem for pak..mahela has too much on his mind to deliver perfectly..as far as dilshan is considered-he has played his innings for this series !! coming to pak batting-m not a fan of taufeeq but looking at his recent form, v can give him benefit of the doubt for the 1st test...azhar ali n asad shafiq r really the future of pak, so m not concerned about them...younis has proved that hes far much better a test player than a odi player...misbah's average in recent year or two speaks volumes about his batting n above all his return as tha pak captain will give an added boost!!

  • likeintcricket on June 29, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    This Pakistani Test side is much better than the past one. From now on they will give a very tough fight to the Lankans. Quality wise they are only lacking in the fielding and if Umpiring standard is good than they are a hard nut to crack. But DRS absent is also playing a role in SriLankan victory. Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal are very good at exploiting a slight doubt in the batsman mind. Sri lankan batsman can play much more freely without the DRS. Lastly, I want to make a sincere apeal to ICC. How come you banned a cricket captain from the TEST team when he did something wrong in the one days. They could have banned him in two onedays but for God sake not in the Test. It is so difficult for a side to come back in a 3 Test rubber. They just killed the match by doing this stupidity.

  • Anjana_nd on June 29, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    "I don't play cricket like that. I play to win, including charity matches" Lol! That's the spirit Mahela!!!

  • Raj2000 on June 29, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Sorry, Mahela. I disagree with your statement SL don't play it safe. The fact is they ALWAYS play it safe. (Evidence: 1st test when Pakistan should've been made to follow up. Instead SL chose the calssic 'safe' play and played the game not to lose, although there was, maybe less than 1% chance, of losing. It is their usual style. And hen they win a test and go one up in the series the attitude shifts to safe play mode. This attitude cost them the last series with England as well.

    My firm belief is even if Mahela doesn't play it safe, the powers that be will make him do so.

  • on June 29, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Mahela is the best captain and surely he will take SL to series victory in tomorrow test.....

  • Sinhaya on June 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Pakistan will be tough as they have something special if they beat England 3-0 this year. But also remember they are unlikely to survive till 5th day as they are likely to finish off the game by day 4 looking at all tests they have won which occurred on day 4. So if we can grind them to day 5 they may crumble. Pakistan bowling will be the main obstacle as usual.

  • nitharsh on June 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Mahela excellent.I like your charisma.Always play to win.Finally Srilanka is back on track after horrible periods in last year.Srilanka are going to thrash pakistan.

  • Resultpredictor on June 29, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Come on SL thrash Pak once more....

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  • Resultpredictor on June 29, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Come on SL thrash Pak once more....

  • nitharsh on June 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Mahela excellent.I like your charisma.Always play to win.Finally Srilanka is back on track after horrible periods in last year.Srilanka are going to thrash pakistan.

  • Sinhaya on June 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Pakistan will be tough as they have something special if they beat England 3-0 this year. But also remember they are unlikely to survive till 5th day as they are likely to finish off the game by day 4 looking at all tests they have won which occurred on day 4. So if we can grind them to day 5 they may crumble. Pakistan bowling will be the main obstacle as usual.

  • on June 29, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    Mahela is the best captain and surely he will take SL to series victory in tomorrow test.....

  • Raj2000 on June 29, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Sorry, Mahela. I disagree with your statement SL don't play it safe. The fact is they ALWAYS play it safe. (Evidence: 1st test when Pakistan should've been made to follow up. Instead SL chose the calssic 'safe' play and played the game not to lose, although there was, maybe less than 1% chance, of losing. It is their usual style. And hen they win a test and go one up in the series the attitude shifts to safe play mode. This attitude cost them the last series with England as well.

    My firm belief is even if Mahela doesn't play it safe, the powers that be will make him do so.

  • Anjana_nd on June 29, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    "I don't play cricket like that. I play to win, including charity matches" Lol! That's the spirit Mahela!!!

  • likeintcricket on June 29, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    This Pakistani Test side is much better than the past one. From now on they will give a very tough fight to the Lankans. Quality wise they are only lacking in the fielding and if Umpiring standard is good than they are a hard nut to crack. But DRS absent is also playing a role in SriLankan victory. Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal are very good at exploiting a slight doubt in the batsman mind. Sri lankan batsman can play much more freely without the DRS. Lastly, I want to make a sincere apeal to ICC. How come you banned a cricket captain from the TEST team when he did something wrong in the one days. They could have banned him in two onedays but for God sake not in the Test. It is so difficult for a side to come back in a 3 Test rubber. They just killed the match by doing this stupidity.

  • drdani on June 29, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    i agree with raj2000-mahela did play safe in first test..i also criticised his comment that he wanted to give rest to his bowlers coz they were tired ?? cmon..r they professional test bowlers or street-level bowlers !! i definitely agree with mahela that its the battle of pak bowling v SL batting...pak bowling is hurt badly..they will surely give a hard time to SL batting..i also believe that only sanga could b a problem for pak..mahela has too much on his mind to deliver perfectly..as far as dilshan is considered-he has played his innings for this series !! coming to pak batting-m not a fan of taufeeq but looking at his recent form, v can give him benefit of the doubt for the 1st test...azhar ali n asad shafiq r really the future of pak, so m not concerned about them...younis has proved that hes far much better a test player than a odi player...misbah's average in recent year or two speaks volumes about his batting n above all his return as tha pak captain will give an added boost!!

  • fatherofcricket on June 29, 2012, 17:28 GMT

    one loss not gonna make any impression to any opposition that they gonna lose this too, Pakistan are in front when compared ODI's and Tests between those two nations. I am not supporting any team but to be practical that's the fact. The game tomorrow gonna be a tough one because the pitch favourable for spinners after a day or two. Anyhow the side plays better gonna win.

  • yorkslanka on June 29, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    @raj2000- so what if we do play it safe to ensure a result?havent you heard of the term "pick your battles"..to me, it is more ensuring your positives are more than your negative chances to get a result...