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2 Jayawardenes impress captain Mathews

January 12, 2014

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Captain Angelo Mathews was impressed with the performances of the two Jayawardenes after Sri Lanka rolled over Pakistan by 9 wickets in the second test on Sunday and ensured it can’t lose the three-match series.

Mahela Jayawardene made a spirited 129 with three stitches in his left hand to win the man of the match award while wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene took nine catches in the test to equal Sri Lanka’s 29-year-old record.

“They made a huge impact in the team and Prasanna has the best hands,” Mathews said.

“They are very senior players and have a lot of ideas when it comes to the game ... They’re really great to have in the team.”

Mahela could score only 5 and 0 in the drawn first test before he came back hard with his 32nd test century in Dubai after batting for seven hours. He hit 15 fours in his 278-ball knock.

“There’s a good saying that ‘class is permanent and form is just temporary’ and that’s what Mahela showed us in this game,” Mathews said.

Mahela put on 139 runs for the third wicket stand with his clubmate Kaushal Silva, who again narrowly missed his maiden test century by being out for 95. He also hit 81 in the first test.

Mathews was hopeful that Mahela would get fit before the third and final test begins at Sharjah on Jan. 16.

“We all hope that he’ll get better and better and I’m sure he’ll play the next match as well,” Mathews said. “Fielding might be a problem, but he might be able to field in the outfield or in the ring without fielding in the slips.”

Mathews himself contributed a stand of 93 runs with Mahela and gave Sri Lanka a decisive 223-run first innings lead.

Sri Lanka seamers Nuwan Pradeep, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal exploited the advantage of bowling first after Mathews won the toss and Pakistan was dismissed for 165 on the first day.

“They actually set it up for us,” Mathews said. “The toss was a bit crucial but I thought you need to bowl in the right areas to get them out. They did exactly that.”

Sri Lanka has showed no signs of rustiness for staying away from test cricket for nine months as they fought back in the first test in Abu Dhabi to force Pakistan to settle for a draw even after conceding a 179-run lead.

“I thought we adjusted pretty well by coming back into the game in the first test and performing like this in the second is very pleasing,” Mathews said.

Sri Lanka lost the one-day series 3-2 to Pakistan, but it improved with the return of Mahela Jayawardene and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for the test matches.

While Jayawardene was exceptional with his injured hand, Herath denied Misbah-ul-Haq a century in the second innings when he clean bowled him for 97.

“Against this (Pakistan) team you have to play positive cricket because if you give them even a little opportunity they will trample all over us,” Mathews said.

“We constantly played well and won the difficult moments.”

Mathews said after Pakistan slumped within the first two sessions of the test match, the wicket got flatter and flatter.

“It was very helpful for the fast bowlers on the first day, but after that it became a bit slow ... good for the batsmen, as usual.”