The truly epic end to the 5-match series which saw the Lankans snatch it from the jaws of defeat and get their first series win in over 15 months, was because Sri Lanka handled their pressure well against Pakistan, said captain Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the final ODI of the series after coming back strong from 138/6 when they needed 110 runs from 94 deliveries. Angelo Mathews turned out to be the savior of the day and of the series, standing tall amongst his collapsing partners. Pakistan were in a similar but much better position in the 4th ODI at 166/2 and needed 78 from 75 deliveries. They lost that match, losing 7 wickets in 13 runs to the likes of Perera, who got the Man of the Match award for a hat-trick. The loss was one of their most embarrassing yet.
“We knew we would be put under pressure and I thought throughout the series all the guys showed a lot of composure in handling situations. That probably was the difference in the series. The way we handled tough situations than Pakistan was better. Our fielding standards were much better as well and I am proud about that,” Jaywardene was quoted saying.
After a disappointing run that that lasted for more than 15 months, where Lanka lost 4 bilateral ODI series, lost to India in the 2011 World Cup final, failed to qualify for the Asia Cup final, lost the finals of the Australian tri-series and lost 4 straight test series as well, the skipper was glad that his team were on the right track again. This series win comes after the one they won against the West Indies in February 2011.
“We had a big challenge against a good side. We worked hard in winning this series. As a captain I am very pleased and we need to move forward from what we have learned. This win means a lot for the team and the country. We have played good cricket and there has been a lot of hard work put in and hopefully we will keep improving and be consistent in all forms of the game,” Jayawardene added.
The first match in the 3-test series against Pakistan will start on Friday at the Galle Stadium, where the captain will look to continue his and his team’s form.