Indians are slightly in front: Jayawardene

Ruing the batting collapse that has put his team in a tight spot, Mahela Jayawardene admitted that India had the edge in the second Test.

updated: August 05, 2008 10:54 IST
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Ruing the batting collapse that has put his team in a tight spot, Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene on Saturday admitted that India had the edge going into the fourth day of the second Test.

"Probably Indians are slightly in front. Getting those two wickets (of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid) were very crucial for us to keep them back for a while. Just need to keep them to a decent score that we can chase it down on the fourth or fifth day," Jayawardene said after the end of third day's play.

"Ideally if we had got a lead it would have been brilliant. But I thought Harbhajan bowled very well the previous day to pick up Thilan (Samaraveera) and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan. That put us on the back foot," he added.

Lavishing praise on the Indian batsmen, Jayawardene said the visiting line-up has come good on a difficult track to take a 237-run lead but asserted that Muralitharan and Mendis would unsettle them on Sunday.

"Our target was to try and get to the Indian total which we fell short but they got a good start again and we managed to pull them back which is good. If we can get a couple of wickets early tomorrow that will put the pressure on Indians," he said.

On the Galle track, Jayawardene said, "it is turning. But still you need to bowl at good areas and create opportunities. I think that is an important thing."

"The first day Ajantha turned the ball and so did Murali. Harbhajan turned it on the second day. Still you need to put the ball in the right areas. If you are really determined you can survive and then get into a rhythm and it is quite easy to score runs as well. Just a good Test cricket," he added.

Jayawardene said he was not too concerned about Muralitharan being less effective on Saturday as the Indians were being extra-cautious against him.

"They (India) were batting cautiously and were attacking at different time. With Murali we tried to get wickets early. Because of that probably he gave away a few loose ones," he said.

"I am not that worried. When you have a top spinner like him the batsmen tend to fall back cautiously. Murali will come back to the party because this couple of days they probably batted well against him," he added.

The Lankan skipper said his team was confident of chasing the most formidable of targets.

"We will get 400 or if it is 500 we will get. That is the attitude we have got.There is nothing difficult for us," he said when asked what would be a difficult score to make.

Jayawardene also sought to clear the air about the controversial umpire referral of Rahul Dravid and defended his decision to go for a delayed appeal.

"They have not given us a certain time. They have said that certainly we cannot ask from our camp in the dressing room after a replay and that it has to be done fairly quickly like whether it will be 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds or 25 seconds," he explained.

"With the LBW, the umpire is the one who is making the decision so I wanted to know whether he has made the obvious mistake or not. If it is caught behind or a bad pad or something then I can ask the guys around or the wicket keeper or whatever," he further stated.

"The field umpire thought that it stuck outside the off stump and he gave a reason. That is when I made up my mind to go for it (seeking referral on Dravid's decision)."