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Mahela Jayawardene - Cool, Calm and Collected

We paid the price for poor shots and a degree of irresponsibility on our part, writes Mahela Jayawardene

Monday, November 30, 2021
'Batting collapse let us down'

When you lose a Test match so comprehensively, like we did in Kanpur, it's always disappointing, not just for every individual, but for the whole team as a group. That said, we should give credit where it's due – the Indians bowled well in several important passages of play.

But, at the Test level, you expect to come up against one bowler, like Sreesanth did, bowling a good spell, trying to create something extra on a pitch that is not necessarily too helpful for the bowlers. What was disappointing was that we tended to handle these tricky passages well and then lose wickets to poor shots. There was a degree of irresponsibility on our part, and we ended up paying the price. In that sense, as well as the Indians bowled, it was our fault that we ended up on the wrong side of bad result.

In the last-year-and-a-half, we've barely had one collapse like the Kanpur first innings. While the top guys have played their part, others in the batting group like Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana have all made advances. The collapse in the first innings was where we lost the match, and we realise this. The way forward is to not think too much about this or over-analyse what happened and pick ourselves up and perform as a group.

When we came to India, we said that we wanted to win our first Test in the country. The way things have gone, with the strong batting performance and the swift reverse in Ahmedabad, brings our goal to sharp focus. We now have to go all-out to win the final Test in Mumbai and square the series.

Our attitude and approach have been positive and this was part of the reason we went into the second Test with three spinners. When Dammika Prasad was injured we had to take a hard look at what attack would enable us to pick up 20 wickets on a slow, low surface. It's always easier to analyse these things in retrospect, but we took a tough call with team composition and it didn't work for us. Our batting has been reliable and we had the men to put the runs on the board. It just didn't happen, and this, rather than composition was why we lost.

There's nothing we can do about the result now, and the one positive we can take from the game was the way Rangana Herath bowled.

On a slightly personal note, it was a bit surprising to see that Gautam Gambhir will miss the final Test. He's in the middle of a very special run in Tests, having scored four hundreds in as many games. But I think we should all understand that it was a tricky choice for him and commend him on doing the right thing. His decision to be at his sister's wedding shows his commitment to family, and it's something I value a great deal. These occasions don't come too often in one's life and I'm sure Gautam will play a lot of Tests for India in the future.