Jayawardene eyes India challenge after Pakistan rout
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said his team were progressing
well and he was looking forward to facing India after thumping Pakistan
Saturday to win the one-day series 2-1.
Jayawardene’s team beat the home side by a whopping 234 runs in the
third and final day-night international — the heaviest one-day defeat
suffered by Pakistan.
Sri Lanka piled up a mammoth 309-5 in their 50 overs thanks to a
career-best 137 from opener Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara’s
Pacemen Nuwan Kulasekara (3-17) and Thilan Thushara (3-33) then
dismissed Pakistan for a mere 75 in 22.5 overs — the lowest total at
home by Shoaib Malik’s team in all one-day cricket. Jayawardene was
delighted that his side had staged a comeback after losing the first
match by eight wickets in Karachi on Tuesday. Sri Lanka won the second
game by 129 runs — also played in Karachi.
“This is our sixth win in seven one-day series and the only one which
hurt badly was our defeat against India at home (last year) and
hopefully we turn things around this time,” Jayawardene said. Sri Lanka
take on India in the first of five one-day matches in Colombo on January
28. They will also play a one-off Twenty20 international in the Sri
Lankan capital on February 10. Jayawardene warned that India would pose
a tough challenge.
“India is shaping well in both forms of the game. We beat them in
Tests but lost the one-day matches, so it would be a good series and we
would try to keep the continuity,” said Jayawardene. Sri Lanka hammered
Zimbabwe 5-0 late last year before winning a tri-series in Bangladesh on
their way to Pakistan. Jayawardene praised batsman Dilshan, who
deservedly won the man-of-the-match award on Saturday and was also named
man of the series.
“He (Dilshan) is a versatile cricketer who bats well, fields well,
can turn his arm over and can also keep wickets. I call such players
dirty players who are ready to do all the dirty type of work for the
team and are not recognised.” And the skipper praised his pace attack.
“I don’t mind the focus being on (Muttiah) Muralitharan and Ajantha (Mendis).
They have quite a few good fast bowlers around them and the pacemen are
good at exploiting conditions well, which is good for the team,” said