We're taking Bangladesh tour very seriously - Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has said the upcoming Test and ODI series in Bangladesh will be taken "very seriously" given the lack of international cricket for his team.
"We are approaching this series very seriously. Bangladesh has come a long way especially in the last six months," he told the Sunday Times. "In addition we do not have any international cricket for about four to five months after this series, thus it takes on even more significance and obviously we will be going all out to win both the Test and tri-nation series."
Sri Lanka will play two Tests and an ODI tri series, also involving Zimbabwe, in Bangladesh. The tour begins with a three-day warm-up game on December 21, followed by the Tests.
"We are going in with an open mind to Bangladesh," said Jayawardene, "and obviously the challenge for us collectively is to adjust to the different conditions and play to the best of our ability. If we can execute that plan I do not see any reason why we cannot emerge victorious."
Sri Lanka's batting struggled in Zimbabwe. Mahela Udawatte and Upul Tharanga, the preferred openers, both averaged below 20, and Jayawardene scored 19 runs in four innings, including two ducks. Chamara Kapugedera, long regarded as a player with immense potential, again disappointed.
"You cannot judge the batting based on one series. I agree the batting was a bit disappointing. The wickets we played on in Zimbabwe were under-prepared," said Jayawardene. "People need to understand that every time we go out, we cannot post a 300-plus score. Having said that I do believe that we fell about 30 to 40 runs short in each game."
Sanath Jayasuriya's return, in place of Udawatte, will be a handy boost for Sri Lanka, who surprisingly struggled in Zimbabwe. "This is a big plus point for us as he has a lot of experience," said Jayawardene. "Only he [Sanath] will know and time will tell whether he will be available for the World Cup. As you know we tried Mahela Udawatte on the Zimbabwe tour and the opening slot is not much of a problem as Kumar Sangakkara has also opened and we have about three to four other guys who can come in. One slot is taken care of with Upul Tharanga coming back into form."
Chaminda Vaas's exclusion from Sri Lanka's one-day squad was a surprise, but Jayawardene said the door had not been closed on him. "The selectors have spoken to him and he has said he will fight for his place which is very good news because no one can deny the fact that he is a major asset. Overall what I believe is that we have a very good team and can defeat any side if we play to our potential."