Sri Lanka still have belief

  • Last Updated: January 2 2013, 8:13 GMT

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene admits it has been hard for his side to put the MCG debacle behind them but insists they have the batting talent and belief to bounce back to form in Sydney.

Mahela Jayawardene: Backing his batsmen

The tourists were humbled inside three days in the Boxing Day Test and many are predicting a similar outcome at the SCG with an uncharacteristic green wicket and Australia's in-form four-pronged pace attack.

After struggling to cope with a barrage of short balls from Australia's quicks in Melbourne, Jayawardene backed his misfiring batsmen to handle the challenge much better this time.

The 35-year-old right-hander, who will relinquish the captaincy to Angelo Mathews after this Test, said the team had done a lot of soul-searching over the past week in the lead-up to this match.

And he is confident they can pull off an upset and secure a historic first win on Australian soil.

"We've spent a few days to try and get over that match, what happened and how we can avoid something like that again," Jayawardene said.

"Teams do go through that sort of thing.

"It happened to us in South Africa last year at Centurion where we lost in two-and-a-half days and we bounced back in Durban to win the Test match.

"It's about guys owning responsibility about what happened and doing something about it.

"It is a strong Australian side but if we play to our potential and back ourselves then we can stand up to that."

An honest Jayawardene conceded the Sri Lankans had let themselves down during the tour, laying much of the blame at the hands of the batsmen.

"That's where our experience lies and that's where we control a lot of Test matches," he said.

"We need to make sure we take that control back whether it's the technical side of it or the mental side that we need to address.

"We have spoken about it but there's only so much you can talk behind closed doors - we need to go out there and perform."

Sri Lanka's preparation hit another snag today with emerging fast bowler Shaminda Eranga injuring his leg during a friendly football match prior to training.

The 26-year-old immediately limped his way to the dressing room but it is unclear if the injury will rule him out of the Test.

It is another unwanted distraction for the tourists who are already without star batsman Kumar Sangakkara (finger) and paceman Chanaka Welegedara (hamstring), while wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene (thumb) and fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara (ribs) are both in severe doubt.

"It's disruptive," said Jayawardene. "These are unexpected things that we need to get our head around and handle the situation the best possible way.

"You don't anticipate three or four guys to go down in just one Test match.

"But it happened so we just need to sit down and see what other options we've got."

While Jayawardene was unable to finalise a team for the match, he did confirm that Dinesh Chandimal would definitely play in place of Sangakkara.


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