'We aren’t worried about Ishant, we can handle him'

Sri Lanka's record at home has been so good over the last few years that even though they are going into the final Test with scores level, Mahela Jayawardene has not begun to think about the possibility of losing.

“That thought hasn’t even entered our heads,” Jayawardene said on Thursday.

“We played a really good Test match at the SSC, we fought very well at Galle and we’re looking forward to this one. This is going to be an interesting Test, with everything to play for,” the Sri Lankan skipper added.

The pitch at the Saravanamuttu Stadium has a reputation for being the quickest in Sri Lanka, although that is not necessarily saying very much, and Jayawardene thought this surface was a good one.

“Over the years, it’s been a very sporting wicket. It’s a good batting track over the first three days and then there will be turn and bounce.”

At the same time, Jayawardene did not think that this would be playing into India’s hands despite the visitors having a sharper fast bowling unit, led by Ishant Sharma.

“We all knew he’s a handful. He’s got pace and he gets a bit of bounce but the way we handled him at Galle was different than at the SSC.

“There was the same kind of venom in SSC too but we played him well. We don’t need to worry too much, just respect their bowlers, who are all top-class. We have to be positive about our approach.”

Jayawardene also gave credit to his own bowlers for keeping the Indian middle-order quiet.

“Credit should go to our bowlers. We kept a lot of pressure on them,” he said.

“They had a lot of starts but we still managed to get those wickets. 

“We just need to adjust a few things which we’ve discussed from the last match at Galle  where we made a few mistakes in the bowling department.

“If we can do that and keep the pressure on the Indian batsmen, that is important.”

While the Indian middle-order may not have fired, the openers have certainly done well for the visitors, and Jayawardene hoped for early wickets in the final Test.

“Viru batted really well. He took his chances and credit goes to him.

“India are getting some good starts and that’s something we will definitely think about. If we can manage to get breakthroughs, we can manage to keep the rest of their batsmen pretty quiet.”


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