Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has described Tuesday's 147-run defeat as among Sri Lanka's worst in recent times and called on his team to show character in the next two matches against India. India have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, only their second bilateral series win in Sri Lanka.

"I've spoken to the guys. What has happened has happened and we just need to learn from it," Jayawardene said after the third one-dayer. "It has happened twice with India at home. There were close games in the last series as well as in this series (before Tuesday's game) where we couldn't turn it around.

"It is disappointing because when you turn those corners, that's when the momentum gets built up and it's from there you lift yourself to win a series. We've been able to do that with other teams but not with India. That's probably a mental thing or how we react to the pressure they put on us. It is something we need to work on.

"We had our opportunities but I don't think we capitalised on them. We didn't bowl that well but at the same time I think India batted really well and took the game away from us. Knowing that they were 2-0 up they knew they had to push it. They took chances and played shots. They batted us out of the game after the 25th over. Our fielding was a disappointment as we usually field very well."

Jayawardene said his team wasn't used to being upstaged like this in home conditions.

"We had a few games in Australia where we were outplayed, but at home we haven't been outplayed like this for quite some time," Jayawardene said. "We never reacted properly to the situations. When they were going for runs, our bowlers were not disciplined enough to try and control them. But you have to give some credit to India as well for the way they batted. They did hit some good balls from our guys and created a lot of pressure."

This is Sri Lanka's third successive bilateral one-day series defeat at home following 3-2 losses to England in 2007 and India in 2008.

"It's very difficult to say why it's happened. There have been close games but we haven't been able to finish them off. In the last two series for the majority of the games I would put [our inconsistency] down to our batting," he said. "On this occasion the batting has been okay but there is room for improvement. We have to be more consistent and try and finish games off. This series at crucial times we didn't handle things properly whether it was with the bat or ball or on the field we were not upto our standards."

Jayawardene discounted the theory that India were a far superior all-round side to Sri Lanka.

"I don't think India are far superior but they are playing really good, consistent cricket with bat and ball. They've got bowlers who are in form and at the same time 4-5 of their batters are in form as well and are actually taking control of things."

Sri Lanka are likely to make a few changes for tomorrow's game but not too many because, according to Jayawardene, they want to be consistent and win matches by playing the strongest possible side.