Important to maintain standards: Mahela

Ahead of their tri-series match against India here on Tuesday, Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said on Monday that the Islanders have improved as a team.

On good efforts in the last two matches: We didn’t have a good start, but I think we have improved as a team. We have improved in areas that we wanted to improve, and the last game was a good one but the important thing is to try and maintain that level of play.

On the Lankan bowling: I saw what happened in the Australia vs India match. It was a fresh wicket, and we are using the same one so I don’t know but I think our guys have been bowling pretty well. Until we play on it, it is difficult to say how it would fare.

On fitness concerns: Most of the guys are okay. A few niggles here and there but everyone’s fine.

On his career: Definitely, I have lost a lot of my hair. I am taking it a few months at a time and seeing how it goes. Obviously, I have taken the captaincy for 12 months but it all depends on my form, whether I want to really push myself and enjoy myself. I haven’t made long-term plans.

On the absence of MS Dhoni:  He is in good form. He is a match-winner. But we are playing India and they have got some really big players. We can’t be complacent.

On the news of Lankan players’ dues to be settled: If we were after money, we probably wouldn’t have toured and played at all the other places. Yes, we had some problems but it never interfered with our cricket. We never made any issues with our board. We worked together with them and tried to sort out the problems. It’s not just our payment, there are a lot of other things back home. Money never was a factor.

On opening the innings: We try to make tactical changes according the situation. We made a move to make sure we got a good start that we didn’t have in the first few games. I will see how it goes. We need to try and get the right combination. I have asked all the batsmen to be very flexible.

Sehwag set to lead

Delhi opener and vice-captain Virender Sehwag is likely lead India in Tuesday’s match following the one-game suspension on MS Dhoni.

Sehwag missed the last two matches with back spasms but seems to have recovered fully and is expected to take the field on the morrow.

There is, however, a question mark over Sachin Tendulkar’s  availability. The Little Master went for an MRI scan after swelling over his eyes sustained when he was hit on the head by a Brett Lee bouncer on Sunday.

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