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Jayawardene backs wayward Malinga

Press Trust Of India
Mar 04, 2012 at 07:40pm IST

Brisbane: Lasith Malinga has been taken to the cleaners for the second time in three games, but skipper Mahela Jayawardene backed the express bowler after his eight overs cost Sri Lanka 74 runs in the first final of the tri-series here on Sunday.

"Lasith is not a worry. They (the batsmen) do get away but it's not a big issue. In a long tournament, a couple of such shows are not an issue," Jayawardene said after his side's 15-run defeat to Australia at the Gabba.

When Sri Lanka needed 16 runs from the final over, Jayawardene himself went into the middle to have a word with last man Malinga. "I just asked him to look for big shots. You can't really put too many ideas in their head."

Jayawardene backs wayward Malinga

The skipper backed the express bowler after his eight overs cost Sri Lanka 74 runs in the first final.

Jayawardene wasn't happy with his side's effort in the early part of Australian innings. "We didn't play a perfect game today. We didn't put enough pressure on them, we didn't provide the early momentum," said the Lankan captain.

Jayawardene is aware his side would have played five matches in 10 days if the best of three finals are to be played to the full. "It's tough but that's part of international cricket. These are challenges. We are in the finals and we have to play two perfect games."

So spirited have been the Lankans that there's an opinion this might be their best tour of Australia yet. "I have enjoyed this tour but unless we win the finals, I can't say it has been a great series."

Despite hectic travelling and changes practically in every game, Sri Lankan have been able to rally their men to the cause in the middle. "We obviously can't practice but we make sure we speak and tighten up things. In the discussion, we make sure everyone is contributing with ideas. We like everyone to talk in short meeting for they then know what's expected of them."

It's a surprise that the Lankans don't have left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in their team for Asia Cup but Jayawardene defended the move by the selectors. "After the Asia Cup, we hardly have any gap before we play the first Test against England in Colombo. We need our four main bowlers to be fit and that's why Rangana has been rested."

Jayawardene was hopeful that injured Angelo Mathews would be fit for the second final. But he disclosed that allrounder Thisara Perera is out at least for six weeks due to a back injury.

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