A series win to be cherishedJuly 13, 2012, 10:10 pm
by Rex Clementine
The doomsday prophets who predicted years of struggle in the post Muttiah Muralitharan era have been proved wrong. Two years after the iconic cricketer’s retirement Sri Lanka have managed to win their maiden series in his absence thanks to the brilliant batting of Kumar Sangakkara and the collective efforts of the bowlers.
Since Muralitharan quit, Sri Lanka had gone through seven series without winning one and what’s more heartening is that it came against a Pakistan side that had whitewashed England, world’s number one ranked team, 3-0.
"They’re a very quality opposition. Going into the series, probably no one gave us any chance of winning this series," Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain told journalists.
"Even in the ODIs, no one gave us a chance. I remember the first press conference, when I walked in, a Pakistan journalist reminded me how tough this series is going to be," Jayawardene added.
Sri Lanka won the first Test in Galle by 209 runs and that was sufficient for them to win the series 1-0 after the second Test at SSC and the third Test at Pallekele ended in draws.
"We were put under pressure by a quality opposition. But we hung in there and we got the results that we wanted. We’re quite happy with that," Jayawardene further said.
Top order batsman Kumar Sangakkara was remarkable and Sri Lanka depended on him heavily as he smashed scores of 199 not out and 192 in the first two Tests. He finished the series with 490 runs with an average of 163 and those figures enabled him to regain the number one rank in Test cricket.
"When Sanga finished the England series, he was really disappointed when we saw him in the dressing room after missing out. We knew that he was hungry for runs and he is a fantastic guy to have in the dressing room. The work ethics he puts, in, day in and day out, at practices, in the mornings, just to make sure that he’s prepared. He’s a great example for lot of youngsters," Jayawardene said of Sangakkara.
All-rounder Thisara Perera was sensational in the third Test. He put Sri Lanka on top picking up career best figures in the first innings, four for 63, and then helped the team take a first innings lead of 111 runs when he smashed a career best 75.
"We need to manage Thisara well. He looked a bit tired when he bowled in the second innings. Obviously the work load had gotten to him during the ODIs as well. However, a great performance by him, particularly in the first innings," Jayawardene added.
The umpiring standards were below par, particularly in the first Test where several Pakistan players were at the receiving end of bad umpiring.
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Last Updated May 22 2013 | 10:58 pm