Mahela Jayawardene has insisted that Sri Lanka will shelve all notion of playing for a draw in the second Test against England at the P Sara Oval even though that is all they need to secure their first series victory since 2009.
“We’ll try and win the series 2-0 as that’s when we play our best cricket,” he said. “When you are playing a team like England you have to be aggressive, play to win from ball one and look to get in front of them. That’s what we will try to do.
“As a team we need to be consistent. It is important for us to have a really good Test match and we’ll play to win. To do that we need to do a lot of hard work like we did in Galle. We were put under pressure in certain situations and we came up strong.”
Since they beat New Zealand 2-0 in 2009 Sri Lanka have lost five and drawn two Test series. They inflicted England’s fourth straight defeat with their 75-run victory in Galle and can knock them off the top of the world rankings with a series victory. Jayawardene believes they remain a huge threat and said the difficulties they have had in Asia is like a team from the subcontinent struggling overseas.
“In the last few years they beat Australia in Australia and they played very good cricket in South Africa as well. They play really well in English conditions,” he said. “There are five or six teams in the world who are playing some really good cricket and on any given day in different conditions they can beat each other. That’s good for the game.
“England have set standards in the last two years. It’s been difficult for them away from home in the subcontinent but for us it’s about challenging them and moving on. When we play in conditions which are tougher for us, it’s up to us to try and go and challenge ourselves and be consistent. That’s a good balance to have.”
Jayawardene expected the pitch at the P Sara Oval, which is staging its first Test since 2010, to offer something for batsmen and bowlers. The day before the game cracks were appearing as the surface dried out and they could provide some inconsistent bounce as the match wears on.