Sri Lankan top order disappoints Jayawardene

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Port of Spain, Trinidad, Apr 7: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene has blamed his top order batsmen for the six-wicket loss to West Indies in the second Test here which enabled the hosts to level the series.

''After the first two days, we knew it was going to be a tough battle, as it was pretty even. Then we lost four wickets pretty early in the second innings and that was probably where we went wrong,'' Jayawardene said. After conceding a 16-run lead to West Indies in the first innings, Sri Lanka slipped to 99 for six in the second innings. Meanwhile, Samaraweera came to the rescue for the team at right time and added 136 runs for the seventh wicket with Vaas to get Sri Lanka's innings back on track.

''Our openers got out early, we lost wickets to a couple of bad shots and we put ourselves under pressure,'' Jayawardene said. ''But then Thilan (Samaraweera) and Chaminda (Vaas) batted really well and put us in a position where we could win the Test match.

''It [Samaraweera and Vaas' stand] gave us an opportunity but we let ourselves down in that first 10-15 overs - we knew [that] on this wicket, the harder ball is going to do a bit. We needed to make sure we didn't lose too many up front and then build a platform for our bowlers,'' he said.

Jayawardene, however, looking for early wickets with the new ball to scuttle West Indies' chase.

''We would have taken 250 on this wicket, we knew it had a bit of something and we hoped to take four or five wickets early with the new ball - we took three but it wasn't enough,'' he said.

Sri Lanka's bid for victory was thwarted by Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who added 157 runs for the fourth wicket, after West Indies were in a spot of bother at 73 for three.

''At three down we thought we had a chance but we knew that those two [Sarwan and Chanderpaul] were the danger players and they batted really well,'' he said. ''We had a few half-chances but couldn't get the breakthrough.'' Jayawardene, meanwhile, commended the host for their victory.

''It [losing] happens. We played a pretty good Test match and did well, but credit to West Indies. They played really good cricket for four days and won the Test match, he said.

West Indies has won the second and final Test here to helped to hold off a first-ever series defeat to Sri Lanka at home.

UNI

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