Hard work and dedication brought us success - Mahela
INTERVIEWS: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawerdena attributed
his team's success in the two-Test series against South Africa to be a
result of hard work and dedication that was coupled with their talents.
Paying tribute to his team's superb team work and commitment,
Jayawardena said the results are obvious when one works hard towards a
goal. "It's obvious. When you work hard, you are bound to enjoy good
results. That's what we have achieved today," the 29-year-old Lankan
However, Jayawardena admitted that he was nervous when Sri Lankan
tail was exposed after the lunch break on the final day. "I must
confess. Obviously I was a bit nervous after all the hard work that was
done in the morning session, especially after Murali got out. It was a
tense situation, with nail-biting. But all of us knew what role they had
to play and the boys just rose to the occasion," he admitted.
Sri Lanka captain Jayawardena said it would take some time for him to
recover after those anxious moments in an action-packed final day's
play. "It's one of the most exciting Tests I've played. It showed how
interesting Test cricket could be," the Test cricket's fourth highest
A veteran of 83 Tests who has aggregated over 6,000 runs, Jayawardena
said that he was relieved when Sri Lanka survived South Africa's
dramatic fight back to see last man Lasith Malinga hitting the winning
Jayawardena said the aggressive innings of 73 by veteran Sanath
Jayasuriya gave the ideal initiative for them to start their highest
successive run chase to win a Test match. "When we were set a target of
352 runs to win, the batsmen were told to play their normal game.
"If we had played for our survival for five sessions, we would not
have lasted even for three sessions. Sanath (Jayasuriya) was given the
licence to play his normal game and played his normal game," he added.
Jayawardena said both Farveez Maharoof and Malinga showed character
and determination to survive the final anxious moments. "They hung in
there to get us to victory, that is what matters." he said.
The Lankan skipper said he cautioned his team mates before the second
Test and warned them of a possible backlash by the visiting team. "I
told the boys that South Africa would come back hard at us. They proved
us right, though we faced the challenge well and stood up to the task.
We deserved to win both matches," Jayawardena said.
He paid a special tribute to his champion bowler Muttiah Muralitharan
who ended with a rich haul of 22 wickets in back to back ten wicket
match figures in the two-Test series.
"As announced at the awards presentation, bowlers have to capture 20
wickets to win a Test match. Murali produced his champion stuff and
proved why he is regarded by many as the best bowler in contemporary
cricket. We were not surprised when he was named the man of the series.
No one deserved it more," Jayawardena concluded.
Prince happy with SA fight back
His South African counterpart - Ashwell Prince, said he is happy with
the way his team bounced back by the end of the Test series. "I am proud
we fought till the end to give an exciting finish," he said.
Prince, the first black cricketer to lead South Africa, had plenty of
reasons to fee so, especially after that innings and 153-run thrashing
the tourists got in the first Test at SSC grounds the previous week.
"Except in the first innings of the first Test (where they were
bowled out for 169 runs), we have matched the opposition in both batting
and bowling. We never gave up as we knew that it would be worth fighting
after we had Jayawardena's wicket," he added.
He admitted that his team felt the absence of their experienced duo -
regular captain Graeme Smith and star all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who
missed the Test series due to injuries. They were also paralysed after
losing key paceman Makhaya Ntini for the final day's play due to a
"Makhaya (Nitini) always makes a difference when it comes to our
bowling. It was a big blow to miss his services at a time we needed him
most," said Prince.
However, he said that South Africa would have painted a different
picture if they had taken the maximum use of the chances that came their
way. "If we had taken those catches, the result of this Test would have
gone in our favour," he said.