Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/12/5/jayawardene-keen-for-fast-start

Jayawardene keen for fast start

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:53PM AEST | by Luke Sheehan, Omnisport

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene wants his side to begin their tour of Australia on a winning note, starting with their three-day tour match against the Chairman's XI in Canberra on Thursday.

Jayawardene said given Australia will be match-fit on the back of a tough three-Test series loss to the top-ranked South Africa, his chargers must be ready to fire for the opening Test in Hobart starting next Friday.
Despite acknowledging the loss of ex-captain Ricky Ponting, the 35-year-old batsman said their hosts still had a talented and capable team that would make it difficult for the Sri Lankans to record a first-ever Test win on Australian soil.
"It's still a decent line up, I think they've got a lot of first-class experience with the guys coming in," Jayawardene said.
"And then Michael Clarke and Huss (Michael Hussey) are in pretty good nick, (so) we can't be complacent.
"I think we need to make sure that from ball one, we give them a good go at it. It's a three-match series, it's important we start well.
"I see them as a wounded soldier, they could come back stronger against us, we just need to make sure that we're ready for that and start well."
Jayawardene said he was not sure what effect Ponting's absence would have on Australia's performance.
"I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing," he said.
"He's been a fantastic cricketer for the game, I think the record speaks for itself, in the sense that what he has achieved as a player and as a captain, but I think for us as opponents, for me personally, he is probably the ultimate competitor out in the middle.
"Once you go up against him, you know what you're going to get, so a lot of guys learned a lot of good things from him, and I wish him very well."
And the Sri Lankan skipper said their tour can receive a kickstart with an upbeat performance in Canberra.
"It is important to start (the tour) positively. The weather's pretty good, the last couple of times we were in Canberra it was bucketing down, it looks a very good few days for us," he said.
"And I'm looking forward to the entire tour, it's a big occasion for the team, we haven't done a full tour for quite some time. Everyone's very keen to start this series."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 05 December, 2012 6:01PM AEST

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