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Sri Lanka upbeat after win at Ahmedabad

In the chase, it is the duty of a set pair to see the side home, writes Tom Moody

  • Jayasuriya very much in the Lankan scheme of things
  • Sri Lankan fielding has been below bar in the series

    Having finally found a place in the `wins' column, our mood is understandably upbeat, and though the series is gone, we will focus on the last two games to at least try and ensure that we leave India with a 4-3 scoreline and more than a few positives.

    One of those positives, of course, was our performance at Ahmedabad. The manner in which Russell Arnold and Tillakaratne Dilshan took us through to victory reflects a point that we have been discussing at team meetings for some time, and that is, when you are in the chase, it is your responsibility and yours only to see your team through. There are no excuses for leaving it to another player.

    Having talked about it often enough, it was good to see it being implemented in the middle by a pair of cool heads who carried on even after the scoreline read 155-5.

    Dilshan in particular was impressive. There has been a tendency on the part of his critics to regard him as a bit of an under-achiever, but he is an exceptionally talented batsman who has every shot in the book. As often with such players, he is taking some time to come to terms with his talent. I think he is getting better at understanding both his own game as well as the requirements that his team has of him.

    Sanath stays as opener

    The other batsman in our team who has been in the spotlight - though for a different reason - is Sanath Jayasuriya, who many seem to think is past his best as an opening batsman and should bat lower down the order. I could not disagree more.

    This team management has enormous faith in Sanath and I can categorically state that his future in the team will be as an opener. That is the slot in which he is at his most devastating, and in which he can take a game away from a team inside the first 10 overs.

    Sanath is also more than a useful all-rounder, and though his bowling has obviously had to be limited owing to the shoulder problems, he is getting better and our aim is to help him tide over this lean patch as quickly as possible.

    He is one of the crucial components of the team leading up to the World Cup. He may be getting on for 36, but he is one of the fittest 36-year-olds around.

    Batters back in touch

    Indeed, we are happy at the way our top four batsmen are shaping up and we mean to keep it that way - perhaps with minor adjustments - for quite a few more games, especially since Marvan has slotted perfectly into the No. 5 spot and has shown himself marvellously capable of manipulating the middle overs - an excellent player of spin and spotter of gaps!

    Particularly at Rajkot, which looks like another big-scoring paradise, we will keep our batting order intact as far as possible.

    It is only our fielding that has consistently been below par, uncharacteristically sloppy in fact, particularly since all the outfields have been excellent. Admittedly, when big totals are posted, shots tend to be hit hard, which exposes more fielding lapses than would ordinarily be the case. However, this is one area in which the boys take a lot of pride, and will get back on track as soon as they can. (Gameplan)

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