Home > News >

Mahela Jayawardene unimpressed with England’s performance

Mahela Jayawardene said that Alaistair Cook needn't have had a spat with Shane Warne © Getty Images
Mahela Jayawardene said that Alaistair Cook needn’t have had a spat with Shane Warne © Getty Images

by Julian Guyer

Leeds: June 23, 2014

Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene questioned England’s tactics, their ability to handle pressure and the wisdom of home captain Alastair Cook’s pre-match spat with Shane Warne as the tourists moved to the brink of a memorable Test series win at Headingley.

Sri Lanka seized control of the second and final Test on Monday’s fourth day, with paceman Dhammika Prasad taking a Test-best four for 15 as England collapsed to 57 for five in pursuit of a stiff target of 350 for victory. That England had such a tough run-chase was due largely to Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews’s Test-best 160.

Sri Lanka gave their hosts an object lesson in how to play at Leeds, with Prasad rewarded for bowling a much fuller-length than his England counterparts. This has been a fractious tour, with Sri Lanka particularly upset by the reporting of One-Day International (ODI) off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake for a suspect action and Mathews unapologetic for the bowler’s ‘Mankad’ run out of Jos Buttler during their 3-2 one-day series-clinching win at Edgbaston.

Jayawardene, whose side have never won a Test series in England comprising more than one match, is regarded as one of cricket’s gentlemen as well as one of its most stylish run-scorers. But the veteran batsman didn’t pull his punches after stumps on Monday. “We know who is on top and who is not,” said the 37-year-old after making a typically elegant 79 in what was probably his last Test innings in England. “We’ve seen that under pressure they’re not quite up to it so we’ll definitely look forward to tomorrow (Tuesday).”

England, perhaps carried away by a pitch with more pace than in the first Test at Lord’s — where Sri Lanka clung on for a draw with just one wicket standing — repeatedly bowled too short.

“Their idea of hurting us and hitting us on the head probably doesn’t work,” said Jayawardene. “If you’re getting that good length up front, getting the ball to do a bit and being patient, one way or another people will nick it.”

Prior to this match Cook, said “something needs to be done” about the barrage of criticism he has received regarding his captaincy from Australia great Warne. “I definitely feel for him but it doesn’t help when you have arguments with commentators and past cricketers,” Jayawardene said of Cook, who led England during their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. Mathews was aided hugely in an eighth-wicket partnership of 149 by Rangana Herath, who made a fine 48. There were times when England seemed more concerned with getting Herath on strike than dismissing Mathews.

But England batsman Ian Bell, playing in his 100th Test, defended Cook’s tactics while praising Mathews. “He’s played arguably one of the best knocks we’ve seen against us, certainly shepherding the tail,” Bell said of the all-rounder’s hundred. “But you look back with hindsight, I think if you want to stop someone like that scoring runs you get them out — don’t you? You don’t (just) try to stop them scoring. I don’t think the tactics were wrong, most teams would do that in the same situation,” said Bell.

“I don’t think Cookie could have done anything different.” He added: “It looks like we’re going to lose the Test series. If this was a five-match series, we could fight our way back in — but we can’t. Bell would be the man most likely to succeed Cook as England captain should the struggling opener quit his post. However, Bell said he expected Cook to lead England into their forthcoming five-Test series at home to India. “Absolutely, absolutely, no doubt.”

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at London

More

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014  at Southampton

England won by 266 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Moeen Ali grabs six wickets as England trounce India by 266 runs in 3rd Test at Southampton

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Bishan Singh Bedi questions India’s team selection

James Anderson’s exploits amaze former India captain Kapil Dev

India vs England 2014, Day 5 of 3rd Test at Southampton: Moeen Ali unlikely star as hosts wrap it up in style

Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell vindicate England’s belief

Alastair Cook says he is glad to get back to winning ways after thumping win against India in 3rd Test

India vs England 2014, Day 5 of 3rd Test at Southampton: Reasons for India’s heavy defeat

10 little known facts about Jacques Kallis

Moeen Ali spins India into trouble: Will he stun them again on Day 5 at Southampton?

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How an Indian fan remembers the South African legend

A Harry Potter XI

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

BlackBerry to acquire Secusmart; Open to more such acquisitions

Rajkummar Rao excited to romance Hema Malini in Shimla Mirchi!

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell vindicate England’s belief

Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha to marry on October 18!

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

India vs England 2014, Day 5 of 3rd Test at Southampton: Moeen Ali unlikely star as hosts wrap it up in style

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact photos and specifications leaked

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here