November 6, 2001

Jayasuriya says no cause for alarm

Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya said there was no cause for alarm after the team's five-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the Sharjah final on Sunday.

Sri Lanka were gunning for their third successive Sharjah triumph, but Jayasuriya maintained that the side were entitled to their odd bad day.

"It was an off day for us," he admitted. "But everyday the players can't perform and go on to score 270. The batting let us down in the final, but apart from that I thought we did really well."

"We had been batting well throughout the series and only failed in the last game. The players all realise what went wrong."

Pakistan stacked their side with fast bowlers in the final and bowled out Sri Lanka for their lowest score of the tournament.

"They have got a very good bowling attack and Wasim (Akram) was outstanding throughout the series," said Jayasuriya. "I think they were the best bowling side throughout the series."

Sri Lanka bravely picked two rookie pacemen in their squad and when Dilhara Fernando was ruled out because of a back injury they were left with an inexperienced bowling attack.

Jayasuriya, however, paid tribute to both Prabath Nissanka and Charitha Buddhika, who picked up five wickets on his debut against Zimbabwe.

"We played two young fast bowlers and they did pretty well," he said. "We have to groom them for the future and when they get the experience it will be for the good of Sri Lanka's cricket.

"Charitha (Buddhika) has been in the fast bowlers clinic for sometime now and having worked with Champika (Ramanayake) he knows what to do."

"Prabath (Nissanka) is one of the quickest bowlers we have in Sri Lanka with Dilhara (Fernando). He has a couple of things to correct and on times he bowled both sides of the wicket, but he clearly has a good future."

Sri Lanka's injury list is a concern for the management, with serious injuries to wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana and fast bowler Fernando.

"Dilhara (Fernando) is out with a hairline fracture in his back and Romesh (Kaluwitharana) has a fractured finger. It is a problem for the team and as a captain I miss them. But it is part of the game and we have to go with what we have."

Perhaps of greater concern is the news that champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is suffering from a persistent shoulder injury.

"Murali has being having this problem (sore shoulder) for quite a while," he revealed. "Day-by-day he is getting better and we didn't want to risk him for the finals so we rested him."