Just didn’t go our way: Jayawardene
Hobart, Feb 28: Sri Lanka were dealt a hard blow after a stellar batting onslaught from the likes of Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir ensured that India chased 321 in under 37 overs to earn a much-needed bonus point. A deflated Mahela Jayawardene later admitted that his side simply couldn’t deal with India’s batting prowess.
Excerpts from Mahela Jayawardene’s post-match press conference:
On whether he expected to lose the match after scoring 320
Unexpected. Yeah. This is what cricket is all about. We knew they had their license to go out and play their shots today. And 320 – I thought we had a good total on the board. First 10 overs, we didn’t hit our areas consistently. Gave away a few too many, and they had the momentum after that. Virat [Kohli] batted brilliantly, I think. You have to give him a lot of credit, the way he batted in the middle period. Pretty much scored a boundary every over. We probably didn’t bowl that well. [We] were a bit sloppy with the fielding as well. Tough to swallow but a good game of cricket and well deserved by the Indians.
On whether he would have opted to bat first had he won the toss
We would have batted first. We felt that with runs on the board it was always going to be tough. And [scoring] 320 – we couldn’t have asked for anything better than that. We batted really well. We were batting in a 50-over game; [we] executed a very good gameplan there. With wickets in hand, I thought 320 was a very good score. Just that they batted really well. We probably didn’t bowl that well, didn’t handle situations well and lost the game.
On the timing of the Powerplay
That was [the] decision [made] because I wanted to bowl my spinner. […] But they were going at 9 an over, and I just couldn’t take the Powerplay then; [I] just wanted to delay it for a few overs. I thought when the ball gets older, the guys will get a bit more grip and it would be tougher for them to play. But those five or six overs we didn’t bowl particularly well. We kept giving away six, seven, eight runs an over with the field back, so that’s probably where it went away from me. I was thinking when we get a wicket, we would get the Powerplay in, but it didn’t happen. Tactically I was trying to make sure we pushed them back with the field back, and we could come back into the game. So that was the thing; when you are going at eight, nine an over, you just can’t take the Powerplay and hand them the advantage. That was it; losing [Farveez] Maharoof at that particular time was a tough one as well. He was bowling particularly well. We you don’t know what exactly happened – something to do with his back – [we’ll] see what happens. No excuse. India batted really well.
On Rangana Herath being given only four overs
They were scoring eight runs, nine runs an over off him and he could only bowl from one end. I could have probably taken a chance, gambled, and used him during the Powerplays to see what happens. Yes, maybe. But I backed my main bowler, Lasith [Malinga], and it didn’t work for me today. That’s how it goes.
On bringing in Malinga late in the innings
I don’t know [if it was wrong to not] bowl him up front. In 40 overs, I had six of him left. Once the ball gets a little older, that’s when he gets more effective. A bit more reverse makes it harder. That’s the thing. I could have used Malinga up front and finished him off, and I didn’t have bowlers. Lots of ifs and buts. So easy to say I could have done this, I could have done that. That’s the way the game goes.
On when he realised India could chase 321 in 40 overs
Maybe after the 25th or 30th over. Around that time I knew that the rate was pretty good, so they could get it. I wanted to try to see whether I could control things. At the halfway point, [they had scored] 120-130 – still we were okay. But what we didn’t do was take wickets to try and control the game today. Just one of those days, it just didn’t go our way. They batted really well. You have to give them a lot of credit.
On what they had learned from this loss
Not a lot. When you score 320 and [the opposition] chase it down, I don’t think there were lessons learned. The bowlers will be a bit disappointed for the first time in the entire tournament. For the first time they went [astray]. The wicket was fantastic. Not much in it, both sides struggled with the bowling. We just have to keep our heads high, show a bit of character on Friday and come back strongly.
On his analysis of the match
Just one of those days. They have bowled six good matches and controlled everything, and they probably bowled pretty well [today too]. They were up against some pretty good batting as well. That’s how it goes. The wicket didn’t help much. I don’t think we need to analyse it too much. We are playing Australia, for one thing. It’s not India. It’s a different unit altogether. MCG is a different surface. We just need to concentrate and see what we can do there, and adjust ourselves and give it our best shot.
On Virat Kohli’s knock
I have come across quite a few good knocks in my time from opposition batsmen; definitely it’s there and thereabouts. Just the way he [Virat Kohli] handled himself – he took risk and controlled the innings. Batted beautifully. Can’t take anything away from that. Today wasn’t our day. They played really good cricket.
On his confidence levels ahead of the match against Australia
Pretty confident. I think we have beaten them twice in this tournament, but it’s not going to be easy. We know that. It is in our control. If we are hungry enough to be in the finals, we will turn up and do the job, simple as that.