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March 23, 2008
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, says his players must push hard for a result after batting themselves into an almost unbeatable position after two days of the first Test against West Indies. Sri Lanka declared at 476 for 8 and then removed Chris Gayle in the third over to leave West Indies at 29 for 1 at stumps on the second day.
"We've got the advantage, we've done all the hard work now, it's in our hands to make sure we keep putting pressure on the West Indies batters," Jayawardene said. "They have to make sure that they bat for at least two days to get in a position where they think they can win this game.
"We're in a very good position, probably in a position where we couldn't lose this Test match. We just need to make sure we push for a result now. I reckon 460 is [worth] about 550 on this wicket so we got the runs on the board."
Jayawardene made 136, which was his 22nd Test century and his first against West Indies, meaning he needs only reach triple-figures against Pakistan to have registered Test hundreds against all nine possible opponents. He was particularly pleased to strike West Indies off his list after he was run out for 99 against them in Galle in 2001-02.
"It means a lot," Jayawardene said. "I missed a hundred against West Indies [in Galle], so getting that was a big one, especially away from home."
The hosts face a major challenge to make inroads into Sri Lanka's total on the Providence Stadium pitch and Jayawardene said Muttiah Muralitharan would be a key weapon on the third day. "We know once the ball gets older the spinners will get more effective, it was skidding through a bit [this afternoon] because the ball was hard.
"I think you need to be very patient. It's difficult to play shots off, maybe with the harder ball it is a bit easier but once it gets old it's tough so you have to be very patient and have a game plan."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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