Sri Lanka v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Pallekele November 8, 2015

Mathews lauds Jayaratne for team's resurgence

Angelo Mathews: "I see the batters take responsibility up the order. Very impressed with the way Kusal batted" © Associated Press

Angelo Mathews has credited Sri Lanka's resurgence against West Indies partly to the work of interim coach Jerome Jayaratne. The hosts have whitewashed West Indies in both Tests and ODIs, to earn their first trophies in any format this year.

During the Test series Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne had both spoken of the positive influence Jayaratne had had on their batting, but it's Jayaratne's player-management style Mathews called attention to.

"We've worked extremely hard on changing the environment - trying to get rid of individual doubts, trying to give players a lot of confidence, and trying to have the dressing room focused and calm," Mathews said of the fresh direction of the team under Jayaratne. "At this level it's very important to get your mindset right. Jerome speaks to each of us individually. We're looking at all the players enjoying the game rather than putting a lot of pressure on themselves. The coaching staff has been brilliant in working with individuals, and it's very pleasing to see the change in mindset."

Jayaratne appears set to be in charge of the team until the end of the New Zealand tour, which takes place in December and January. There are also suggestions from the board that Jayaratne could continue until the end of the World T20 in March, but those details have not been confirmed.

"As a coach Jerome's really gelling with the guys," Mathews said. "He's very lighthearted but he's very focused with the guys. He's specialised in batting and he's working hard with the batters. All in all he's a very good coach and a human being so we'd like to have him around."

Sri Lanka's top-order batting has been instrumental in the ODI whitewash, with openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera hitting three half-centuries between them in the series. Mathews said batting was a key area of improvement from series earlier in the year.

"I see the batters take responsibility up the order," he said. "Very impressed with the way Kusal batted - he started off with a bang, then he shifted his gears and batted through the innings, which is very pleasing. We want guys like that to grab those opportunities when they get a start. Lahiru Thirimanne hit form in the second ODI and he also batted well in this one for his 21. It all looks good. It's just a change of mindset and approach."

Sri Lanka's attack was enlivened on Saturday by the introduction of fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who was regularly clocked in the 145kph range. He dismissed Denesh Ramdin with a fast short ball, and finished with innings' best figures of 2 for 39 from his seven overs.

"I saw Chameera hitting 147 if I'm not mistaken," Mathews said. "He bowled really quick on that slow wicket. It wasn't your typical Kandy wicket. It was a bit on the slower side, but he bowled with extreme pace and he rattled the West Indian batsmen."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pad on November 9, 2015, 2:36 GMT

    I guess Windies were too weak of a side to judge SL by the results. Anyone could have done it against this Windies team. The real judgment will come at the end of the Kiwi tour, thats where the true colors of every player will come out. I have my serious doubts if the new generation is ready for it yet. At least if the fast bowling troup is fully fit, it would be a plus.

  • associate cricket fan on November 8, 2015, 16:45 GMT

    WI are too easy to beat. So I cant really judge anything about the coach. We can beat WI even without the coach. But the real test comes against NZ. I hope they dont bring out the excuse of its an away series to save Jerome, if we do bady there.

  •   Chandana Fonseka on November 8, 2015, 16:07 GMT

    The fact that Jayaratne is a human being is a key factor in retaining him as coach. We don't want any more mindless robots.

  • Chatty on November 8, 2015, 11:47 GMT

    I am happy to know that the dressing room is gelling well. But it raises major concerns about the Marvan era. Were people really unhappy? I said from the beginning that a local coach will not work. A shame that it took so long to change things. I am afraid it will be the same with Jerome, unfortunately, in the long run, due to a whole host of reasons. I will wait till the end of the NZ series to see whether this RESURGENCE is real. My personal view is that there was one difference in the team - Malinga got fit - I hope this was Jerome's work. If so, kudos to him. Batting wise - I am not sure that there is a whole lot of difference. The main difference to me was the quality of the opposition bowling. They were wayward and not that disciplined many a times. Let's see how they do against Boult, Southee and the like. Having said that, SL did very well to beat WI and sweep the series. You couldn't ask for more. But it is important to put it in context. WI are a young and weak team.

  • Lakpriya on November 8, 2015, 3:48 GMT

    still it is bit too early to judge how good Jereme is WI is a weak team and their ODI and test teams are not the strongest teams that they could have played. but either way there is a definite change is the attitude in the way SL players playing, they starting field well and look more energetic. up coming NZ tour will be challenging hope they can improve further. those kind tough tours will surely change the careers of players.

  • No featured comments at the moment.