The dejected captain of Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene, has urged his batsmen to hit back again and negotiate the rival bowling with courage if they want to win.
The Islanders were beaten adversely by the hosts Australia in the first two Tests of the series and the visitors need a better show in the third and final game. The batting of the Lankan Lions let them down especially against the quality pace attack and they were exposed against the fast and rising deliveries. They were at the receiving end while losing the last three Tests since the sheer pace batteries of New Zealand and Australia were unplayable.
The Black Caps fast bowlers demolished their innings twice and won the second and final Test by 167 runs on November 29, 2012, at P Sara Oval, Colombo. The visitors piled up 412 runs in their first innings followed by 9-194 declared in the second. The hosts scored 244 runs in the first innings and were bowled out for 195 in the second. The Kiwis achieved an emphatic win after a long time and the two match series was levelled at 1-1.
Sri Lanka played the first Test against Australia at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, from December 14-18, 2012. The Kangaroos amassed 450 runs for the loss of just five wickets before their captain, Michael Clarke, declared the first innings. Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed 147 in the first innings of the Islanders followed by 75 by the middle order batsman, Angelo Mathews. The rest of their top order batsmen were unable to impress and were removed cheaply. The Australian side scored 278 runs in their second innings as Rangana Herath demolished their batting by grabbing five wickets. The Islanders required 393 runs to win the encounter but the entire side was sent back to the pavilion for 255 runs and Kumar Sangakkara was the only batsman who scored a fifty. The match was lost by 137 runs as the speedsters of the home side destroyed the Lankan batting.
The second Test was played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the visitors surrendered against the destructive fast bowling in three mere days. Their first innings was folded back on 156 runs followed by 103 in the second as Kumar Sangakkara was the top scorer with 58. The Australians powered 460 runs at the same track in their only innings and they tortured the tourists by an innings and 201 runs on December 28, 2012.
Mahela Jayawardene was distressed by his batsmen who have won them quite a few Tests previously. He gave them a wakeup call by saying,
“The last two or three Tests have been a bit of a blip, but our strong point is our batting. That’s where our experience lies and that’s where we’ve controlled a lot of Test matches. We need to get that control back, whether it’s with the mental side of it or the technical side, it’s something that we need to address.”
The form of Mahela Jayawardene is also a cause of concern since he scored 100 runs in the two Tests vs. New Zealand at an average of 33.33 with the best of 91 runs. He managed just 34 runs in two matches against Australia averaging 8.50 attaining the best of 19 which is a real poor show.
Rangana Herath was the supreme bowler of Sri Lanka in the recently concluded two Test home series against New Zealand. He was the highest wicket taker from either side while clinching 20 wickets at an awesome average of 13.90 per wicket, the best of 6-43 runs in an innings and 11-108 in a match.
Herath has taken five wickets in two Tests at an average of 53.00, the best of 5-95 in an innings and 5-170 in a match. He is the main weapon of the Lankan Lions but requires a reasonable score by his team to let the rivals down. Mahela Jayawardene was convinced that Herath can be their lethal bowler subject to a better performance by his batsmen. The skipper further commented,
“The best way that we can win a Test match is to create a situation for Rangana on a slow turner. We have to make sure that until the fourth or fifth day, we execute a good game plan and we stay in the game.”
The third and final Test of the series between Sri Lanka and Australia will commence from January 3, 2013, at Sydney Cricket Ground and Mahela Jayawardene expects his batsmen to come up with a better performance.