March 22, 2001

Time for top batsmen to perform, says Jayasuriya


Sanath Jayasuriya warned his batsmen on the eve of the One-Day International series against England that the time had come for them to perform.

Describing the recent performances of the Sri Lankan top order as "unacceptable", he believes that they must quickly learn from their mistakes if they are to win the three-match series which begins in Dambulla tomorrow.

"The last Test Match against England was very disappointing. Our batsmen threw away the match in one very poor session. I don't why it happened but the batsmen should realise the responsibility that they have.

Jayasuriya denied that the startling collapse, in which Sri Lanka were bowled out for 81, pointed towards mental frailty in the top order: "I think it was a lack of concentration, as the mental toughness is there."

"It is high time that the batsmen realise what they are doing wrong and learn from their mistakes. The same mistakes were made against Pakistan last year, in South Africa a few months ago and against England.

"It is particularly important that the batsmen who are batting well go on to make big scores. Too many times we have thrown our wickets away when we have made 50s or 60s. We cannot accept that. We have three or four batsmen in form and they need to make big hundreds."

Jayasuriya admitted that the captaincy was a hard job in such circumstances, but denied that he was ready to throw in the towel: "Captaincy is a tough job at the best of times, but particularly so after a series like the last one. Every captain will go through bad stages, like I am going through at the moment. That is quite natural. As far as I am concerned it is all up to the selectors"

He did though praise his teammates: "I am though enjoying leading the side at the moment as the players have given me their total support. There is no problem between me and the players."

Now though he wants the players to focus on the future: "We were down after losing the Test series, but that is history now. We have to think about the upcoming games and make sure that we play well.

"I think it will be a good series and it is going to be very tough as England are playing very well at the moment."