We made too many mistakes: Jayawardene
Hambantota, July 21: Sri Lanka, who came into the five-ODI series against India riding high on their success against Pakistan, lost the first match by 21 runs. Former skipper Kumar Sangakkara’s century went in vain as the hosts were unable to build crucial partnerships.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene reflected on the game in the post-match press conference.
On the consequences of the defeat
I don’t think there would be consequences. I think we just need to realise where we went wrong. I don’t think we played to our potential [today]. We made few mistakes, especially on the field, which is not how we have played in the last three months. Our fielding has been very good [in the past]. It is just one of those days when it didn’t go our way. You just need to make sure when you are playing against a team like India that you minimise those kinds of mistakes. [Had we done that, it] would have resulted in us defending a much lower total […]. Whatever has happened has happened. It was always going to be a tough chase for us. We needed a couple of good partnerships upfront to make sure we got a solid platform, but we kept losing wickets. We were behind the [required] run-rate. It was tough but at the end Thisara [Perera] batted really well and Kumar batted absolutely brilliantly again. I thought he anchored the innings really well but we probably left too much of it for those guys to finish off.
On Nuwan Kulasekara’s fitness status
Nuwan is out of the series. He has got a groin injury. We can’t get a scan here. Once we get back to Colombo we will get a scan and see what the extent of the injury is and how long he will have to be out.
On Kulasekara’s absence and its bearing on the outcome of the match
He is one of the bowlers I bank on, especially in the Powerplays and various other situations, but he wasn’t there. These things happen and you can’t really control that. But still we were in a situation where we could have restricted them to about 280-290. We had a couple of expensive overs going against us and then at the same time a lot of fielding errors so everything contributed to the loss. If you [look at] the game overall, [we made] quite a few mistakes [...] We were not good enough today.
On Lasith Malinga not being as effective against India as against other teams
Sometimes the batters tend to get hold of him, sometime they don’t. Today also I thought he bowled seven or eight overs really well. The last two or three, he went for runs. I had to hold him back. He bowled five overs at a stretch. He doesn’t [normally] do that but I had to keep him on because I didn’t have Kulasekara today. I wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out in the Powerplays but I was able to get through with the other bowlers today – with Rangana [Herath] and Angelo [Mathews] bowling really well. So Lasith bowled five at a stretch; I don’t know whether that affected him. He usually comes back after a bad game so I hope he will come out strong in the next one.
On whether facing Malinga in the IPL helps Indians play him better
Lasith has played for nearly 10 years for Sri Lanka and the amount of time we play India, I am sure those guys get used to him [on that account rather than by] playing in the IPL.
On Nuwan coming out to bat even though he was struggling and at a time when the match could not be salvaged
We told him not to run so Lasith could have a few hits. But at the same time, I feel we need to have a bit more common sense. If somebody gets injured off the field, while fielding you get a replacement. But the same guy, if he has to bat and if it is a genuine injury, why can’t he get a runner? Why have we complicated things? I think these are things that we need to try and start talking about because it’s common sense. He has got a muscle strain and not a groin strain, he cannot run. The fact is that he cannot run. I know the issue with runners is cramping [...] That’s a different story but if someone is genuinely injured, I think you should get a runner.
On Virat Kohli
He has improved. He knows his game now. The more cricket he plays, he identifies his game [better]. He is a very confident player. He bats up the order so he has got the opportunity to get those big runs which is great. He has scored three hundreds against us in the last four or five innings so obviously he loves our bowling attack. We need to make sure we come up with a better plan in the next game.
On whether batting under lights was difficult as there seemed to be a lot more movement for the Indians
There was more movement under lights – something we knew would happen here – so obviously it was tough for our guys. We had a plan. We knew we had to be more cautious and we could not throw away wickets [while] going for runs. But even though we took some time, that was the right platform rather than losing three or four wickets [and] we built on that. In the middle period we probably lacked a few big overs that could [have helped us] keep up with the run-rate. But definitely there was a bit more swing and movement under the lights here.
On the replacement for Kulasekara
No [, not yet]. We will talk to the selectors. [...] The ‘A’ team guys probably would have arrived today in Sri Lanka [after the Zimbabwe tri-series]. There was a selector on [that] tour, so we will get some advice from him [about] who was in good form [in the last series] and try and come up with a replacement.
On whether fielding was tough at the new ground
It did cool down a bit. When we were fielding, the challenge for us was the wind. It was quite windy [so it was difficult] for the bowlers as well as some of the guys [who] were off balance. Then you have to protect one side of the ground better than the other side […] This venue is throwing up a lot of different challenges. You just need to adapt to it.
On lessons that youngsters can learn from Kumar Sangakkara
It’s about how you build an innings. Whether it is Test or one-day cricket, he goes about it with a solid game plan and he backs himself to do that. [...] He doesn’t get rattled that often. It is all about his preparation. [...] It is great to have somebody like that batting in the top-order for us because he controls things while the rest of the guys can bat around him. But we cannot put a lot of pressure on him; everyone else has to contribute at the same time. That’s what we have been doing on the last few tours – everyone has performed quite reasonably. It’s just one of those days we could not get things going [...].
[...] There is no doubt about the quality of the player. He is probably the best that we have produced in all forms of the game. He has been very consistent for us in Tests as well.
On Thisara Perera contributing with the bat and ball
He has come of age. [...] We have worked a lot with him. Initially he had a few weaknesses against quick bowlers coming at his body but now he has improved a lot. His hard work has paid off. We have to make sure we find different ways of using him in different situations so that he can be an impact player for us.