Coach Graham Ford on Friday urged Sri Lanka cricketers to draw some inspiration from Mahela Jayawardene’s knock in the first innings of the Sydney Test against Australia, and asked them to give Jayawardene a fitting farewell in his last Test match as captain.
Sri Lanka ended the second day’s play trailing by 48 runs in the first innings, and they will be hoping to wrap up the hosts cheaply in a bid to push for their first-ever Test match win Down Under.
Sri Lanka will be desperately looking for a consolatory win after being battered in the first two Tests, but Ford warned that it will not be easy.
“For sure he’ll have a very important role to play in the second innings. But it’s not down to any one particular individual. It’s going to require a team effort. It was fantastic to see him play so well (in the first innings),” Ford was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
“It just shows what a great leader he was immediately up to the challenge of going up the order to bat at three. He played superbly. I was really hopeful he’d get a 100 seeing as this is his last Test match as captain,” he added.
Sri Lanka are desperate to end Jayawardene’s captaincy on a high as they have shown fightback in the ongoing Test match.
“(The Sri Lankan players) certainly know they’re in the game. They fought hard and they deserve to be in the game because of the spirit and the fight that they’ve shown. But they’re well aware it’s going to be very tough from here on. But the great thing is we certainly haven’t been blown away and we certainly not in the situation that we were in the MCG,” he added.
Ford concluded, “I think they’ll take a lot of heart from that.”