Hambantota: Thisara Perera's three-wicket haul on Tuesday included wickets of the top scorers from the first ODI - Virat Kohli and Virender Sehwag - between India and Sri Lanka. That was reason enough for the hosts' skipper Mahela Jayawardene to hail the improvement and confidence his bowling allrounder has shown.
The Sri Lankan captain brought Perera on when Isuru Udana - included in place of the injured Nuwan Kulasekara - began in a wayward fashion with the new ball. The move immediately paid off as Perera got rid of Sehwag, who made 15. That, said Jayawardene, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Lankans.
"Isuru strayed all over the place in the first over," Jayawardene said. "I felt he was a bit too nervous trying to fight with the wind. He bowled really well at practice yesterday [Monday].
"The other experienced bowlers I had were Thisara and Angelo [Mathews]. So I just gave him [Thisara] the ball because the other day he bowled well from that end and did the job for us. He's improved quite a bit in confidence and I think the consistency is the most important thing which he is striving for. He's been consistent for us in the last six months to one year. Every day he keeps improving and he is putting his hand up to play Test cricket as well."
Jayawardene also thought that Shaun Pollock helping Perera out with his action during the IPL has done the trick.
"I think he is a good learner but I will be correct if I say he has worked closely with Shaun Pollock on his action during the IPL time because he wasn't playing much," Jayawardene said. "Polly has given him some good tips with his action. Polly is a great bowler to discuss those kind of things with. I think [it is] a great opportunity for him. So with that and with fast-bowling coaches, he has been working hard to get his pace, to get his accuracy.
"Something that he lacked was accuracy in hitting the seam in that good area. He is a tall boy. If he can hit that good area, he is always going to create opportunities."