We need the killer instinct: Jayawardene
Colombo, July 28: After an inspired comeback in the second ODI of the five-match series against India, Sri Lanka not only lost the third game but also the services of star wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara. The former skipper will out of action for a few weeks as per captain Mahela Jayawardene after, suffering an injury to his finger while batting.
While speaking to the media after the match, Jayawardene analysed the game and lauded Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan’s efforts to pull India through.
On what was a greater cause for worry: Kumar Sangakkara’s injury or the loss
The loss, I think. [For] Kumar probably [it is] a good thing that he got injured [as] he gets a four to five week break. He hasn’t had a break for nearly two years, so if you look at it that way, it’s unfortunate but he gets a deserving break. Hopefully he will get fit for the World Cup [ICC World T20]. The loss was disappointing. We had them [under pressure] in certain situations. We came back into the game [at one stage] but just couldn’t finish it off.
On missing Sangakkara as wicketkeeper, keeping in mind the boundaries conceded
If Sanga was there, I don’t know if even he would have been able to [stop] them. It was one of those days. It is tough to say that things would have been different had [Sangakkara] kept wicket but Kumar behind the wickets is obviously an added factor for me as a captain. He sees things and he can analyse them and he lets me know certain things. [...] It’s a big opportunity for [Dinesh Chandimal] after a long time [to be] keeping wicket as well. We can’t control what happened today with the injury [to Sangakkara]. What we can control is where we went wrong and try and get it right.
On whether his decision to bat first was right
Yes. When we put runs on the board it is always easier for a side to put pressure [on the opposition]. Even after being three [down] for 30 [runs], we ended up with 286. I thought if we had a good start we probably could have scored more runs […]. I thought we came back into the game when they were 180 for four and they needed eight or nine runs an over, after the Powerplay as well. Irfan [Pathan] had just walked into the wicket [to bat]. I think the way we bowled the last ten overs and obviously the lost opportunities [while fielding] probably cost us the game.
On the partnership between Suresh Raina and Pathan and the edges that conceded runs
I tried a few things but in hindsight the only thing I could have tried was probably bowl a spinner and see whether they go for it and [and concede a] wicket. But towards the last ten overs there was a bit of dew as well. I felt that the spinners may not get any grip, the fast bowlers were struggling a bit as well, so that’s something I probably think [in] hindsight [would have worked]. [But] at that particular moment I felt that the quicks were bowling well. Still we had an opportunity [but] we dropped a catch and [missed] a couple of those run outs as well. A few edges [went for runs], that’s how the game goes. Any other day things would have turned around in our favour but today they played some good cricket as well. Those two [Raina and Pathan] batted really well, they put on 92 runs in that situation. They deserve to win.
On Gautam Gambhir
Gauti batted really well. The other day [in the second ODI] he held the innings together. He is one of those guys we have to try and get early because he builds innings and bats long and bats big. So it is easier for the other guys to bat around him and he bats at a good pace as well. Credit to him, he batted really well but I felt we had an opportunity.
On the fielding lapses
Overall our fielding was pretty good [...]. The ground fielding was excellent except for a couple of fumbles, but we will definitely look into it because that’s an area we take a lot of pride in – our fielding. We still can improve as a team, as a unit and we will keep working hard at it.
On Suresh Raina’s innings and on his being one of the finest finishers of the game
Suresh Raina batted really well and got good support from Irfan as well. You needed another guy to go along with that. He is a quality player. If you give him an opportunity the way we did [by dropping a catch], he will finish the game off, so credit to him.
On the atmosphere in the packed house and how it helps the players
We get great support here [at the Premadasa Stadium]. It was a Saturday as well. Playing India [with the series being] 1-1, the fans got a really good game of cricket. Unfortunately we couldn’t win it for them but the atmosphere was fantastic and that helps the players lift their game and perform well.
On whether they suspected there was a crack in Sangakkara’s finger when they were batting together
Sanga said that he [was in] pain but he could bat through. […] When you are batting in the middle, I guess he is just one of those guys who will bat through, but he did feel it so that’s probably why he didn’t go for big shots. I just told him to just bat through [the innings]. But after we got the scan, etc., the fracture was there. We have to monitor [the situation] and see how quickly he can heal but [it will take] a minimum of four to five weeks.
On needing to win the next two games
That is how it is for us. We can’t lose any more [games]. We go [into the next game] with a very positive [frame of] mind. We know we have been really close [to winning]; we had a really good game in Hambantota, the last one. Even here we played good cricket. We just need to have that killer instinct to finish a game.