'We were 30-40 runs short of our target'

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene on Wednesday said his team was hampered by India’s ability to stitch together partnerships on a consistent basis.

“I thought it was a good game of cricket. Yes, we made a few mistakes, maybe probably with the batting. Small partnerships by India probably held us back. Other than that, it was a good effort. We executed a lot of our plans. But I think we fell short because we were probably 30-40 short of our target,” Jayawardene said.

Jayawardene also defended the decision to field five seamers. “If we had taken the last three wickets, you would have said, good combination. We felt that the way the wicket was that five seamers would probably do the job for us.

“Picking up wickets is very crucial with India and we went with that. Ashwin bowled well. But Ashwin is Ashwin….a tall bowler. We went with what strength we have got. But I think the bowling unit did a pretty good job. Thissara wasn’t up to the mark today. If he had been, another couple of wickets might have meant a different thing.”

Jayawardene hoped the team would gel well under new coach Graham Ford. “We have had quite a few meetings when we arrived in Australia, trying to cultivate a few things we want in the team. It includes the thinking processes, and getting the guys to take more responsibility and be free on the field when playing cricket. Even today, we felt they have taken quite a bit in as well…the attitude, the hunger they had on the fied. The bowling was very aggressive, which was great. Hopefully, we can continue to do the good things.”

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