Sri Lanka eye Test series win in Pakistan

February 15th, 2009 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 15(IANS) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene Sunday said his team has put behind their home drubbing by India and are now focused to win the Test series against Pakistan that begins Feb 21.

Hours after landing in Karachi for a two-match Test series, Jayawardene said that even though his team failed to click against India in the one-dayers, Test cricket would be a different ball game.

“We didn’t play very well against India in the one-dayers but we have a different team for the Tests (against Pakistan) and I’m confident we will put up a good performance,” he said.

The outgoing Sri Lanka skipper said he is looking forward to a “good Test series”

“Pakistan are a quality team. It’s true that they haven’t played any Test in a long time but we will wait and see what approach they are going to adopt for the series,” said Jayawardene, who has decided to step down as Sri Lanka captain after the series.

The two Tests will be played in Karachi Feb 21-25 and Lahore March 1-5.

Pakistan will have a new captain in senior batsman Younis Khan as the country’s cricket bosses asked previous skipper Shoaib Malik to step down after a crushing 234-run defeat against Sri Lanka in the one-day series finale in Lahore last month.

“Younis is an experienced player and I don’t think leading the team will be a problem for him,” Jayawardene said.

About the below-par form of his otherwise dangerous spinner Ajantha Mendis, Jayawardene said the youngster will bounce back after failing to impress much against India on home soil.

“Ajantha had an ankle injury but he is getting better,” he said.

“The Indians played him really well. He should know that the surprise element is not there anymore and he will have to learn a few new tricks. He can learn from Murali, who is so experienced,” said the captain referring to his team’s premier spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Jayawardene, who has led Sri Lanka in 26 Tests and 97 ODIs during the past three years, said he would love to end his captaincy tenure by winning the series against Pakistan.

“Winning a Test series in Pakistan will be brilliant and it would be great if we achieve it,” he concluded.

Sri Lanka will open its tour with a two-day warm-up game against the PCB Patron XI here at the DHA Cricket Stadium from Feb 17.

Sri Lanka Test squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (vice-captain), Malinda Warnapura, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicket-keeper), Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Mutthiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Thilan Thushara, Suranga Lakmal.

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