Batsmen hold key to Sunday ODI: Mahela

Batting-friendly conditions await India and Lanka in the third ODI and Jayawardene wants his batters to exploit them.

updated: August 28, 2008 06:44 IST
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Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is hoping that his batsmen would leave no stone unturned to exploit the batting friendly conditions and post a big score against India in the third one-dayer here on Sunday.

"I think that game (the second one-dayer) is gone. It's different conditions, different wickets (in Colombo). I expect our batsmen to come good Sunday," he said.

"It is a different wicket and a lot firmer than what it used to be. The ball will come to bat and there will be more runs. The batsmen hold the key and they have to put runs on the board. They are the ones who control the game," said Jayawardene after his team's net session here.

Jayawardene, however, warned his boys not to lower their guards as the Indian batsmen, who have been pedestrian so far, could exploit such conditions.

"You can't say that their (India's) batting was fragile. You probably have to give a bit more credit for our bowlers and the conditions. I think they will come back strongly but we are also prepared," he said.

The home team captain has one more reason to be happy because veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas is likely to play in the crucial match but said a final call would be taken on Sunday.

"Vaas bowled both the days and batted and has not complained or anything. He looks pretty good. We will have another look Sunday as well. It is only stiffness. Right now there is a very good chance that he will play," he said.

He said except for a possible place for Vaas Sunday, who was replaced by Dilhara Fernando in the second game, the final XI could be the same.

"I think it will probably be the same. The only concern would be fitness of Vaas. I have spoken to the selectors and they were pretty happy (on Vaas' status). They were waiting on Vaas clearance. More or less it will be the same (team)," he said.

Vaas is just one wicket short of claiming 400 ODI victims and Jayawardene hailed his veteran teammate for his achievement.

"He has a given a huge contribution to Lankan cricket. It is not an easy task to go for so long and be very consistent especially in the sub-continental conditions. So hats off to Vaas, I mean 400 wickets is a great milestone for anybody.

"I think Vaas and Murali have done a fantastic job for quite some time. Now we have a young brigade who are coming up but these two have been their role models."

Asked what he and his teammates think about playing in Pakistan for the Champions Trophy as South Africa have pulled out of the tournament citing fluid security situation, Jayawardene said it was their cricket Board, who will decide on the matter.

"Honestly we have not thought that much about it. We played Asia Cup in Pakistan not that long ago. Everything was quite okay for us when it comes to security matters.

"But, it is the cricket Board which is going to make that decision. Right now we are not told anything. We are just concentrating on the series at hand," he said.

"Once we finish this series we will start our preparation for the Champions Trophy whether it is held in Pakistan or elsewhere," he added.