West Indies v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Trinidad, 4th day April 7, 2008

Jayawardene blames top order for defeat

Cricinfo staff


Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Chaminda Vaas look on dejectedly as West Indies celebrate © AFP
 
Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, has put the blame on his side's top order for their six-wicket loss to West Indies in the second Test in Trinidad, one which enabled the hosts to level the series 1-1.

"After the first two days, we knew it was going to be a tough battle, as it was pretty even. Then we lost four wickets pretty early in the second innings and that was probably where we went wrong," Jayawardene said.

After conceding a 16-run first-innings lead to West Indies, Sri Lanka collapsed to 32 for 4 in their second innings, before they slipped once again to 99 for 6. "Our openers got out early, we lost wickets to a couple of bad shots and we put ourselves under pressure," Jayawardene said. "But then Thilan (Samaraweera) and Chaminda (Vaas) batted really well and put us in a position where we could win the Test match.

Samaraweera added 136 runs for the seventh wicket with Vaas to get Sri Lanka's innings back on track. In the process, Samaraweera brought up his sixth Test hundred while Vaas extended his score to 45 as Sri Lanka claimed a lead of 253.

"It [Samaraweera and Vaas' stand] gave us an opportunity but we let ourselves down in that first 10-15 overs - we knew [that] on this wicket, the harder ball is going to do a bit. We needed to make sure we didn't lose too many up front and then build a platform for our bowlers," he said.

Jayawardene said his side were looking for early wickets with the new ball to scuttle West Indies' chase. "We would have taken 250 on this wicket, we knew it had a bit of something and we hoped to take four or five wickets early with the new ball - we took three but it wasn't enough."

Sri Lanka's bid for victory, though, was thwarted by Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who added 157 runs for the fourth wicket, after West Indies were in a spot of bother at 73 for 3. Sarwan went on to score 102, his 10th Test century, while Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 86 when the winning runs were hit.

"At three down we thought we had a chance but we knew that those two [Sarwan and Chanderpaul] were the danger players and they batted really well," he said. "We had a few half-chances but couldn't get the breakthrough.

Jayawardene, meanwhile, commended West Indies for their victory. "It [losing] happens. We played a pretty good Test match and did well, but credit to West Indies. They played really good cricket for four days and won the Test match".