Mahela demands character
Melbourne - Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene will take an injury-ravaged and demoralised outfit into the dead rubber Test in Sydney but has demanded his team show more character after their trouncing by Australia in the second Test in Melbourne on Friday.
Sri Lanka were bundled out for 103 in the second innings after managing only 156 in the first, to lose the Test by an innings and 201 runs in two-and-half days, and concede the three-match series 2-0.
The insipid batting display was compounded by a woeful fielding effort littered with dropped catches and injuries to master batsman Kumar Sangakkara, seamer Chanaka Welegedara and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
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Sangakkara, the only batsman to show defiance in both Sri Lanka's innings, has been ruled out of Sydney with a broken finger courtesy of a Mitchell Johnson delivery, and Welegedara will also miss due to a strained hamstring.
Wicketkeeper Jayawardene is also a doubt after breaking a thumb after being whacked by another ball from seamer Johnson.
"Today I thought we needed to buckle down and bat well," said Jayawardene, who will step down as skipper of the Test side after Sydney with all-rounder Angelo Mathews likely to take the reins.
"We lost two wickets in no time in the first over which gave them a lot of momentum and then we just kept losing wickets.
"You can't pinpoint one thing and say that's where we went wrong... There were loose shots and a loss of concentration.
"At the same time, the Australians played some really good cricket as well. You can't take that away from them.
"We need to step up to the plate, we need to show character and really dig deep."
Jayawardene would do well to take his own advice, after failing twice at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to continue a poor series.
The 35-year-old captain has not surpassed 19 runs in his past six innings and the way he threw away his wickets in Melbourne signalled a player struggling for form.
After being caught behind for three wafting at a delivery he should have left alone in the first innings, Jayawardene was out for a duck in the second innings after playing onto his stumps when shaping to leave the ball.
"It's something that I need to sit down and see where I can go right. I haven't spent enough time in this series at all," Jayawardene said.
"But three-four overs is not enough for me to assess where I need to be in this series. It's not just individuals as a team, we all need to take responsibility for this."