Sri Lanka News

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We could have done better – Mahela

Rex Clementine reporting from Wellington

Despite a thrilling win in the second Test Match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington to square the Test series 1-1, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said that this team could achieve greater things. Like in England early this year, the Sri Lankans came from behind to square the series. Paceman Lasith Malinga was bowling so well that the tourists admitted that he was very difficult to pick up and at times impossible. The stranglehold the bowler had on the opposition was so much that if there had been a third Test, New Zealand’s batsman would have hated facing Malinga again.

"The biggest challenge we had was to perform away form home this year as we had lot of games away from home. In Sri Lanka we do really well and then we set goals to succeed outside and I am glad we won two Tests in New Zealand and in England," Jayawardene said.

"With the quicks we have we are in a position to get to winning situations. Our bowling combination has given us the edge over oppositions. But despite these wins, I don’t think that we are the finished article yet. There are many more things that this team can achieve. The next level is to mentally prepare ourselves for greater challenges. We are yet to win a Test Match in Australia, South Africa, India and the West Indies and we’ll have to lift our game further to achieve these landmarks," Jayawardene added.

Jayawardene was thrilled with the individual performances that helped Sri Lanka to square the series. While Kumar Sangakkara and Chamara Silva hit big hundreds, 156* and 152* respectively, Muttiah Muralitharan got a match bag of ten wickets while speedster Lasith Malinga created plenty of problems. He picked up five wickets in the first innings.

"Lot of individual performances contributed for this Test win. Kumar was brilliant when the rest of the batsmen were collapsing and his knock was crucial in us getting that huge first innings lead. Then Chamara put us in the driver’s seat with a big hundred. Lasith gave us the edge in bowling out New Zealand for a low score in the first innings while Murali was brilliant again. Those four players stood out in the win while all others chipped in with vital contributions," Jayawardene added.

Jayawardene also revealed that the arrival of Tom Moody has helped the team to reach new heights. "Tom has been challenging each individual. He’s not satisfied with us staying at one level. He always wants us to aim for greater things and makes us realize that we’ve got so much to offer with the talent that is available."

Comment about Murali’s action upsets captain

The legality of Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling action has re-emerged here in New Zealand with former captain Martin Crowe, now a television expert, opening a can of worms. Crowe asked the question whether Muralitharan’s action has been scrutinized regularly after his doosra was cleared in 2004 by the ICC. Crowe also said that he doubted the laboratory tests done in Perth. The remarks upset the Sri Lankan captain and he appropriately asked the question why Crowe’s been raising the issue when the New Zealanders were losing.

"The remark on Murali is disappointing. These remarks weren’t there when we were losing in Christchurch and all of a sudden when he takes wickets they re-emerge. I am bitterly disappointed especially as these comments came from a player whom we respect as a batsman. We should not comment on these scientific researches as we aren’t experts on the matter. What I can tell you is that these remarks can come back to haunt you. The studies have proven that all bowlers have this flex and all what I can say is that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones," an angry Sri Lankan captain said.

Jayawardene also told the story of his first meeting with fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who troubled the best of Kiwi batsmen. "It’s really funny.

He’s not a guy who came through the school system. One day we were training in Galle before a Test Match and he turned up as a net bowler.

His action was so unusual that we couldn’t pick him and none of us wanted to face him fearing we might get injured before a Test Match. He’s remained a humble bloke right throughout and he’ll achieve greater things for Sri Lanka," Jayawardene said.

-The Island-

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December 20, 2006 - Posted by | South Asia, Sports, Sports News & Opinion, World News

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