Sri Lanka captain explains Kulasekara experiment
By Rex Clementine | June 4, 2012
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene defended the decision to promote Nuwan Kulasekara to number three during his team’s T20 loss to Pakistan at Hambantota on Sunday.
Chasing 123 runs to win to seal the two-match series, Kulasekara was sent in at the fall of Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket, with the total on 19, in the fourth over. Kulasekara was dismissed in the same over for a duck after facing four deliveries and the rationale of promoting a bowler to the top of the order in a T20 game puzzled many, as Sri Lanka suffered a 23-run defeat.
"We do bat deep. We felt that when we are chasing even small totals, if we can get 20 or 15 runs upfront it would be good, especially if the ball is moving a bit," Jayawardene, who was rested from the game, told journalists following the loss.
"I know it's a tough ask for a bowler to do it but you would rather sacrifice the wicket of a bowler than one of your batsmen. These are things we will try and see if they work."
The 35-year-old said the two T20 matches against the tourists are part of Sri Lanka's preparations for the upcoming World T20 in September and October. Sri Lanka’s preliminary round matches of the tournament are to be played at Hambantota.
"It was a good toss to lose in the sense that we had a chance to bat second and we saw how difficult batting second was," Jayawardene added.
"That will make us prepare accordingly [for the World T20]. We have learned a lot. We have given some players opportunities and some of them really performed well. We can move forward thinking that we can go for the World T20 with more options."
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi impressed with an all-round effort. He picked up two wickets after smashing an unbeaten half-century and Jayawardene felt the all-rounder took the game away from Sri Lanka.
"Shahid is one of those top class performers in T20 cricket and he can change games single-handedly. He took control of the innings and with the ball he picked up a couple of wickets as well. We should have probably played him with more sense. He is the guy who took the game away from us," Jayawardene said.
The teams have now moved to Kandy, where the first two games of the five-match ODI series will be played at the Pallekele International Stadium. The first ODI is scheduled for June 7, while the second game will be played on June 9.
© Rex Clementine/The Island