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Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home - Cricket News
Match Reports,07 July 2015

Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home

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Need to learn from our mistakes, says Jayawardena

Sri Lanka captain says even in a seven-over game, it's important not to lose wickets early

Need to learn from our mistakes, says Jayawardena - Cricket News
Mahela Jayawardena knows that Sri Lanka will have it tough with New Zealand lined up next.
Mahela Jayawardena is an earnest captain, but even he was forced to admit that it wasn’t entirely easy to take a seven-over thrash seriously. Sri Lanka was well beaten by 32 runs, but Jayawardena knew this was not an indicator of how the team was progressing in the tournament.  

“It’s a bit tough (to take the game seriously). We were prepared mentally for a shorter game, but we were not sure exactly how the wicket would behave after the rain and being under covers,” said Jayawardena. “They got off to a good start, we picked up a couple of wickets but I thought AB came and batted really well. We probably conceded 15 runs more than we anticipated. It’s good that we played a game rather than us just sitting in the dressing room and going back to the hotel. We might have to play another game like this in the tournament so it’s good that we played and know where we need to improve.”  

Jayawardena also made it clear that Ajantha Mendis, who did not play this game, would be good to go for the next game. “He was fine, really. We didn’t want to take an unwanted risk (with his side strain). We have four days to go for the next game so it was sensible to give him a bit of rest so he’ll be ready for the next round,” said Jayawardena.  

There’s no real strategy in approaching a seven-over slog, but Jayawardena did concede that keeping wickets in hand early on remained the key. “Given the conditions, we had a bit of rain, the pitch was under covers for a while. It was supposed to be an afternoon game, but because of the rain there was a bit of juice in the wicket,” said Jayawardena. “It played pretty well. If we batted better in the first three-four overs without losing wickets, got to about 35 runs, the last three overs would have been very interesting. It just didn’t happen for us.”  

Jayawardena was pointedly asked if there were a couple of problem areas – the lack of effectiveness of Lasith Malinga and the supposed absence of a power hitter in the batting line-up – and his response was firm. “Lasith’s been around for quite some time. The opposition will pick him off for runs from time to time. To be fair he was bowling to a pretty decent player in AB who can hit the best bowlers in the world,” said Jayawardena. “That’s why I threw the ball to Lasith but he picked up the wicket a bit late. I still back Lasith because he will turn up in crunch games and win matches for us.”  

On the power-hitting issue, probably a reference to Chamara Kapugedara not being a part of this squad, Jayawardena said his unit was well staffed. “We’ve got guys who can hit the ball out of the park. Some days it doesn’t come off, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hit the ball,” explained Jayawardena. “We just need to back ourselves to do the job when it comes to crunch situations. We can’t all of a sudden find guys who can hit the ball, we have guys who can do the job, we just need to back them.”  

Jayawardena also insisted there was little point in dwelling on the loss in this game. “We lost a seven-over game. We were not close to South Africa today, I admit that,” said Jayawardena. “Other than that, what can I say? We need to learn from our mistakes. If we harp on this game, it might not be good for us. I accept we didn’t play to our potential but we have to move on from this.”  

Sri Lanka next plays New Zealand in Pallekele on Thursday (September 27) and Jayawardena said his team would spend the time between now and then “getting all the niggles sorted out” so that they could “put our best eleven on the park.”

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