Adelaide: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene on Tuesday called upon his teammates to show more focus and be ruthless in finishing off games, after their tri-series match against India ended in a tie.
“We are not finishing games off. The way we are making mistakes, I want the boys to bring more focus and be ruthless in finishing games off against these top two (Australia and India) teams," said Jayawardene.
India, needing four to win off the last ball, took three runs off a Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit to level the scores.
“With one ball and four runs, and (Lasith) Malinga bowling, you would back yourself (to win the game). I was disappointed but then we have two points on the board and got some momentum going forward.
“We were not in the game only in the last couple of overs. We didn’t do well in the last 15 overs. But overall, we came back strongly in this game. A score of 235 wasn’t enough on this surface. After making so many mistakes, if you get two points, you should be happy," he said.
In many ways, the 49th over, bowled by Angelo Matthews, was critical to India’s strong finish as 15 runs came off it.
“This is how these guys would learn. I believe Matthews is ready to take more responsibility. But for a couple of bad balls, he bowled a really good over. It’s important for them to learn and go through this situation. One inch here and there and a guy like Dhoni could take you apart."
Jayawardene was asked for his reaction to the 30th over by Malinga, which ended after only five balls were delivered due to an umpiring error.
“I’m not complaining! But frankly I didn’t know about it."
The skipper also had words of praise for Malinga, who took two wickets.
“I think he bowled beautifully. You would love to have a guy like Malinga. His ends were changed but it was not a problem. He didn’t bowl a single loose ball. He created the pressure for us. Otherwise, the game could have finished in the 47th over itself. Lasith was the difference we could come back strongly," he said.
Jayawardene claimed that he goes by his instinct and doesn’t pre-plan a lot in the field.
“You can’t pre-plan. Sometimes it’s one ball at a time, one over at a time. You try and create problems for the batsmen. I just go with my instinct. I make calls, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t take it back (to my room).
“I ask the bowler what he is comfortable to do and go with him. After all, he has the ball in his hands, I can’t force it. All bowlers got to do what they want to do."
The Sri Lankan skipper wasn’t overtly critical of his fielders even though there were a few critical fumbles in the final overs.
“It was fielding which got us into the game. They saved 20-25 runs on the field. There were few fumbles and that’s where we have to be ruthless. I am quite happy with the effort of the guys. There’s no break in the last 12 months. I think we have had close games. We just need to reduce mistakes, be positive about it and give them a good run."
Jayawardene praised Dhoni for his ability to finish off a game as well as the emergence of young Dinesh Chandimal as a rising youngster in his team.
“Chandimal is going to be our future. He is comfortable and showing what he is capable of. It could be a good mix between experienced and young guys.
“Dhoni is a great finisher, he is cool and calm and backs himself. He is a strong character. We have to get his wicket early. We were close but not close enough," he said.