Mahela: Wicket let us down
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene believes the failure of the Colombo wicket to deteriorate ended his side's victory hopes.
By Tony Curtis
Last Updated: 13/12/07 11:13am
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has pinpointed the failure of the Colombo wicket to deteriorate for the hampering his side's hopes of inflicting defeat on England.
Sri Lanka had declared their first innings on 548-9 just after tea on the fourth day for a lead of 197.
However, the wicket failed to break up, allowing England to safely negotiate their way to tea on the final day - before rain saw the match end in a draw.
And Jayawardene had little doubt that the pitch was to blame for failing to help his side - and that his decision to delay the declaration had been correct.
He told Sky Sports 1: "Even with two days on this wicket we probably wouldn't have been able to get England out. It turned out to be a pretty flat and slow wicket.
"We thought [a lead of] 200 seemed to be a good score considering they would come under pressure and knowing that it was another 200 runs that they needed to overcome.
"The more runs we had meant the more we could push the attack. If we could have picked up early wickets - four or five wickets - then we would have been in business but the wicket was just too flat and slow.
"Our fast bowlers couldn't get any purchase out of the wicket and even Murali, while he was turning the ball, couldn't get anything out of it."
Despite missing out on the victory, Sri Lanka still hold a 1-0 lead in the series - while Jayawardene himself can be pleased with his own performance.
Jayawardene, who was named man of the match, top scored with 195 - falling just short of joining Len Hutton and Don Bradman in scoring three double centuries on the same ground.
However, the Sri Lanka captain refused to be downhearted at missing out on the honour.
"That is just how the game goes at times, I guess," Jayawardene said.
"I just back myself to go out and play the shots I want.
"It was a mistake on my behalf [getting out] as the ball wasn't there to go for. However I am very happy with my overall effort."