Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has praised his bowlers for dismissing Pakistan in tough conditions in Galle, and said he did not enforce the follow-on despite a 372-run lead because he wanted to give them a break.
"You always think that you can take those remaining wickets and finish it off. But they [Pakistan] batted really well," Jayawardene said after Sri Lanka's 209-run win. "We had to be patient until we got those opportunities. It was a great effort from the bowlers. Tough conditions but we stuck to our task and executed the plans we set up when the Test match started."
Sri Lanka chose to bat again after Pakistan were dismissed for 100 on the third day and Jayawardene said that was because the pitch was still good for batting. "Our guys had already bowled 60 overs in the first innings. If I had inserted the follow-on, they would have had to bowl another three or four sessions. Whether I would get the same effort was questionable.
"Guys like [Nuwan] Kulasekara, who had played five-six ODIs straight, had to be given a break," Jayawardene said. "We had only played two and half days on that wicket, so it was better for our batsmen to bat again on a wicket easier to bat on, and thereby bat Pakistan out of the game.
"The bowlers obliged yesterday evening by picking up three wickets. We knew it was going to be a tough day and we had to think of a lot of things. The easiest thing to do was insert the follow-on but we had to think of a lot of things and all those things came into the equation."
Jayawardene said there were several positives that Sri Lanka could take out of the game for the next Test. "The batting looked much better. We had a good start. [Tillakaratne] Dilshan went onto get a hundred. When he gets hundreds he puts us in good positions because he scores quickly," he said. "Kumar [Sangakkara] got us a big hundred. [Tharanga] Paranavitana got a start and got out, and that's another plus. We were struggling to get those starts going.
"I thought Suraj [Randiv] bowled much better in this game than he did against England and he has got lot of confidence. Kulasekara [was] coming back into the side, [he] showed what a quality bowler he is."
Looking ahead to the next two Tests, Jayawardene said, "We have to be positive. We have two matches to go. We need to put this match behind and keep improving. We need to focus on that and try and be a lot more consistent with bowling, batting and fielding."