South Africa’s slow and steady approach will benefit Sri Lanka, says Mahela Jayawardene

"Our 400-plus looks like 550"

“Our 400-plus looks like 550”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Veteran Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene has announced that his side will benefit big time if South Africa continue with their slow and steady approach.

Jayawardene’s comments come after South Africa’s run rate in the 52 overs they faced on the second day of the the second Test in Colombo was 1.88.

“The way the South Africans batted today – in 50 overs they scored only 90 runs – that is encouraging for us,” he said. “That means our 400-plus looks like 550. I’m not sure how the wicket will play tomorrow evening and the fourth day, but we need to assess that and bat them out of the contest. But they’ve been pretty slow today, so as long as we can keep it nice and tight and create opportunities, we might not need that many runs.”

Even though the pitch is starting to become more helpful to the bowlers, Jayawardene believes that South Africa will not give up their wickets that easily.

“It’s going to be hard work, but we’ve got to be patient and make sure we hold on to our catches when they come our way,” he said. “Our attitude and focus has to be on those sessions. It will be tough to score runs as well. It’s not coming on to the bat. The whole point of us playing three spinners was to try and see if we can get something out of it. Hopefully tomorrow morning we can put them under pressure. We’ve still got three days of cricket.”

Jayawardene added that the national selectors made the right decision in dropping Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne for the second Test. Both Chandimal and Thirimanne have been struggling to find any form with the bat.

“You do feel a lot for them. With the amount of cricket that we’re playing these days, it’s just that it’s tough to try and be that consistent,” Jayawardene said. “We’ve all been through those bad periods. I think what the selectors are trying to do is give them a bit of a break. But they’re still playing cricket. Chandi’s in England now. There are a lot of opportunities coming up.

“I think they just need to take a bit of time, refocus and come back. They’re still young. They’ve had good starts to their international careers. Everyone is trying to help them get through the tough times. Different players find their form in different ways and give them the right opportunities.”

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