The lack of a settled opening pair hurt Sri Lanka at World Cup — Mahela

By Kristopher Hinz | May 8, 2015

The 2015 World Cup quarter-final against South Africa was Mahela Jayawardene's final ODI match. © AFP

Retired Sri Lankan stalwart Mahela Jayawardene has said the lack of a settled opening batting combination going into the World Cup hurt Sri Lanka's chances at the tournament.

"This was one of the areas of the batting that we should have tightened up and decided on much earlier," Jayawardene told Island Cricket in a recent interview.

"We should have found someone to partner with [Tillakaratne] Dilshan earlier on so that there was more consistency in the opening pairing, but this is a lesson we will hopefully learn from."

In the months leading up to the World Cup, Sri Lanka experimented with a number of batsmen to partner Dilshan at the top.

Jayawardene himself was used as a makeshift opener twice and wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella was also given a chance to open in a solitary ODI against India, with Kusal Perera being given more preference over others.

Dimuth Karunaratne, picked on the back of a Test century against New Zealand in December 2014, too was trialled as an ODI opener, while the experienced Upul Tharanga, who starred with the bat in the 2011 World Cup, was largely overlooked.

After months of experimenting, Sri Lanka did the same again in the all-important quarter-final against South Africa by replacing Lahiru Thirimanne, who by then had seemingly cemented his place as the opener (with a century and two half-centuries under his belt in the tournament), with Perera.

Shortly after Sri Lanka's newly-appointed interim committee at the island's cricket board hinted last month at the possibility of a change in selectors, the Sanath Jayasuriya-led selection panel handed in their resignations after completing a two-year stint.

© Island Cricket



Nick White's picture

Yes, an extraordinary decision to replace an in-form Thirimanne with Kusal Perera for the crucial World Cup quarter vs South Africa.

Tharanga too, dropped from the Test and ODI squads for the NZ tour after a 92 and a 45 in his previous Test vs Pakistan at SSC. Another selection blunder.

Good to see Kusal's sparkling return to form with 3 hundreds and an 80 plus for SL A vs Pakistan A. Kusal may now take the number 6 six batting spot for the upcoming Pakistan Test series which includes a Test at Pallekele 3-7 July.

Kusal Perera and Tharindu Kaushal showing for SL A in Pallekele this week that they warrant Test selection.

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
14 min 29 sec

Any bets on where this discussion is going to end?

Anonymous's picture

How about your non performance Mahela ? Wish you used at least 10% of your natural talent during your career..

Post new comment

All anonymous comments are moderated.
  • Avoid abusive remarks and personal attacks.
  • Avoid posting unrelated links.
  • Avoid vulgar or obscene language.
Already a member? Log-in now. Not a member? Sign up for a new account.
This step helps us prevent automated submissions from spammers.
9 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.