The one question everyone wanted Mahela Jayawardene to answer was whether Ajantha Mendis would make his debut on Wednesday, but the Sri Lankan captain refused to commit. “We can’t control the hype that has been built up,” he said. “It’s good to have him, but we still haven’t finalised our eleven because of the conditions, it has been overcast.
“But it’s good for him if he makes his debut. It will be a great opportunity for a young guy who has come from humble beginnings. It is a luxury for him to have Murali and Vaasi around him because they are going to take the bulk of the responsibility. What we want him to do is go out and enjoy. There are a lot of expectations of him from a lot of people but from the team’s point of view, there are hardly any.”
Jayawardene was not about to take the Indian team lightly. “They are a very strong team. They have quality batsmen, their record speaks for itself. They have four or five of the most experienced players in the world. It is going to be a good challenge for us.”
As for the conditions, the type that Jayawardene and his friends have revelled in over the last few years, the Sri Lankan captain said, “The last few times the pitch has been quite flat, but we need to take the initiative in the first few days. That’s where the Test match will be won or lost. It is important that the first couple of days, we start strong. The SSC has been a very good Test wicket. There is something for the fast bowlers, it is a very good batting track and the spinners will come into play as well.”