Dhoni can take you apart: Mahela
Adelaide, Feb 15: Sri Lanka began their CB Series campaign losing a close match each to Australia and India, but have now managed to earn some points thanks to the tie against India at the Adelaide Oval. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was happy with the progress that his team had made and hoped that they could learn from their mistakes and carry the momentum forward.
Excerpts from Jayawardene’s post-match press conference:
On the close match ending in a tie
It is disappointing. We are in the game for a couple of overs, we are not in the game for a couple of overs. The last bit–we aren’t finishing games off, we are making mistakes. But overall I thought we came back strongly in this game. 230 [runs] was not good enough on this surface. After making so many mistakes, I should be happy, but at the same time the way we are making mistakes we need to be a bit more focussed. And try and be ruthless in finishing games off. That’s what you expect, especially with these two teams.
On Dinesh Chandimal
He is batting beautifully. We always felt he was a good talent for us. We introduced him soon after the World Cup. He is going to be our future. He is very comfortable there. He is showing what he is capable of. Hopefully he can keep doing that and we can rebuild a nice side around these young guys.
On the match
Well, 10 overs to go, they had a run-a-ball, I am sure they will be disappointed. I was disappointed when we had one ball, [and they needed] four runs. I would back [Lasith] Malinga to finish it off. I am happy with the two points after the number of mistakes we made in the last few overs and in the entire game. To come back with two points, it is always good. But it’s not a win in our column. Hopefully we’ll get that and some momentum going forward.
On the team effort
I think the fielding got us into the game. The run-outs and the way we stopped at least 20-25 runs on the field on a hot day on a bigger ground [was commendable]. We didn’t give them any easy twos. Only the last few fumbles [cost us]. That’s the thing. Make or break situations. Like I said, we have to be ruthless. We have to be finishing games off. Bit disappointed but overall quite happy with the effort of the guys.
On Angelo Matthews
I think this is how these guys are going to learn. The more games these guys play they will become better finishers and they will take more responsibility. That’s probably why I had that gut feeling about giving the ball to Angie in the 49th over. I feel he is ready now to take more responsibility. Apart from those couple of bad balls, I thought he bowled a very good over. So let’s put them in these situations, let them learn. I am quite happy; we are headed in the right direction, we are close, playing two top teams. Once we get that win we can get come momentum going.
On the strategy in the closing overs and MS Dhoni’s knock
You try and execute something that is in the back of your mind. One inch here and there, a guy like MS [Dhoni] can take you apart. It’s not easy. [...] He is cool, he is calm and he backs himself to get those one or two big overs in the end. He is a strong character. Like I said, we needed to get his wicket early. That’s why we tried everything.
On the team
I am happy with the energy levels of the boys. It’s not just South Africa, we have been playing for 12 months straight. We haven’t had a break so energy levels are pretty good. I am quite happy with that.
On the bowlers
I just back my bowlers. Honestly, I ask him what he is comfortable doing and give him a field for that. I think that’s the way to go because he is the one who has got the ball in his hand, he knows what to do. I can’t force him to do something he can’t do. I back all the bowlers to do what they can. I try and work around them.
On the way forward
We are alive [in the series]. We have had a couple of close games, we just need to keep doing what we are doing, reduce the mistakes, be positive about it and give them a good run.
On Sri Lanka’s plan for the match
You can’t pre-plan anything. I just go one over at a time, or one ball at a time, and see what I can come up with and try and create problems for the batsmen. That’s what a captain needs to do. I just go with my instincts, gut feeling, and make calls. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but I don’t [hold] anything back. I try and do everything I can on the field, and if it works it works.
On Lasith Malinga’s bowling in the match
He bowled beautifully. You love to have a guy like that on the field. You know he is going to deliver for you; he did in the last three or four overs. He changed ends as well and it wasn’t a problem for him. He didn’t give a single loose ball. He bowled beautifully. He created the pressure for us. Otherwise we probably would have lost in the 46th or 47th over. Lasith has been the difference. He has been in these situations, you know. We have lost some matches. […] No issues with him. He will come back strong.
On how he uses key bowler Malinga in matches
It depends on the surface; some surfaces you tend to keep the ball new. I use him early and see whether I can get more swing and more wickets but today I felt it was a rough surface so I kept a few overs more for the latter part. I wanted to give him an opportunity to reverse the ball, which he did, and get us back in the game. It depends on the day.