हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Jayawardene expects Lankan batsmen to fire

Published: Saturday, August 23, 2008, 22:01 [IST]
 
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Colombo: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is looking forward to an improved batting performance from his team in the third one-day international against India starting here on Sunday.

Batting let Sri Lanka down in the second one-dayer in Dambulla on Wednesday as they could manage just 142 before suffering a three-wicket defeat and allowing India to level the five-match series 1-1.

None of their specialist batsmen could cope with India's left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan, who was named man of the match for taking 4/21.

"We were a bit disappointed with the way we handled the situation there (Dambulla)," Jayawardene said on the eve of the day-night match.

"We wanted to execute certain plans which we couldn't, but that game has gone. The wicket and conditions are different here and all the batsmen are ready for the challenge."

Jayawardene said the batsmen would hold the key as the pitch was expected to favour them.

"It is a different wicket and looks firm. The ball will probably come nicely on to the bat, so definitely there will be more runs. It is all about getting used to the conditions and the performance on the day," he said.

"In one-day cricket, bowlers do come into the play, create opportunities and put pressure. But batsmen have more responsibility as they are the ones who control the game because runs on the board are vital."

Sri Lanka are likely to be boosted by the return of veteran left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas, who missed the previous game due to a hamstring injury.

"He has been bowling for the last two days and looking good. Right now, he has a very good chance of playing the match on Sunday," said the Sri Lankan captain.

Vaas is just one short of becoming the fourth bowler in one-dayers to take 400 wickets. Retired Pakistani pace duo of Wasim Akram (502) and Waqar Younis (416), and Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan (478) are the others.

"Vaas's contribution to Sri Lankan cricket is huge," said Jayawardene. "He and Murali have been doing the job for us for a long time. To get 400 wickets is a great achievement."

India are also grappling with batting problems, especially in the absence of regular openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who were ruled out of the series due to injuries.

The tourists struggled to achieve the modest target in the previous match as they were reduced to 75-5 before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (39) and debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (27 not out) added 60 crucial runs for the sixth wicket.

"Both the young players (Virat Kohli and Badrinath) played really well in the last match," said India coach Gary Kirsten.

"It was good to see young players coming in and feeling comfortable in the international set-up. It's very important for Indian cricket that we have competition for places."

Left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir, who missed the last match due to a stiff neck, is fit for Sunday's game.

"Gambhir is going to be back," said Kirsten.

"We are discussing various combinations at the moment and would like to be pretty flexible. We will take it game by game."

Squads:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Munaf Patel and Pragyan Ojha.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedara, Chamnida Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura.

AFP

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