Words of Prabath Jayasuriya: ‘I gave my everything to play for Sri Lanka’
Words of Prabath Jayasuriya: ‘I gave my everything to play for Sri Lanka’, Prabath Jayasuriya was not in the Sri Lanka squad before. He was a member of only the XI. Lasith Embuldeniya was eliminated due to his poor performance in the Test against Australia.
Praveen Jayawickrama suffered from Covid-19. In these circumstances, Sri Lanka needed fresh spinners in the camp. Bagging the opportunity, Captain Dimuth Karunaratne insisted on Jayasuriya.
The two cricketers had played together at the domestic level. They played for both the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) and the same National Super League side. Karunaratne wanted to extract Jayasuriya’s experience. Jayasuriya played 62 first-class matches at the time, even without being a part of the Test squad. And tied to that experience, Jayasuriya offered the much-needed control.
The Sri Lanka spinners had failed to maintain sufficient pressure on Australia’s batters. The first of the four straight Galle Tests was not very fruitful for Sri Lanka. Karunaratne wanted a bowler who would continue to put pressure even when hit for boundaries.
Having three Tests into his career, Jayasuriya played a leading role in winning two of those. He has bagged 29 wickets in six innings. The player stood at an average of 20.37, with four five-fours. The control he brings is reflected in his economic rate which is a great 2.73. Karunaratne never imagined that he could be such a consistent wicket-taking threat.
Jayasuriya took eight wickets in Sri Lanka’s series-leveling win against Pakistan.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey. It was tough to come to Colombo for cricket [from the inland town of Matale, just north of Kandy] because I had no family there, and I was alone. Lots of people helped me. Coach Dinesh Weerasinghe helped me, and I played for Colts and SSC.”
“But it was tough. I had financial problems as well. I had to balance all that and didn’t want to put pressure on my family either. I had opportunities to play outside the country, but my motivation was to play for my country and play Tests. I gave my everything towards that goal and have some success now.”
Jayasuriya has excelled through his straighter delivery. This strategy by many good left-arm spinners brings lbw and bowled dismissals into play. On day five of the second Test, he took the third wicket with that delivery. He dismissed Mohammad Rizwan off stump. The batsman shouldered his arms expecting the ball to turn. After dismissing Rizwan, Sri Lanka had 23 overs to get the remaining wickets.
“I have been taking wickets from school level with my arm ball,” Jayasuriya said. “On any pitch that turns, you can often get a lot of wickets with the ball that is hitting the stumps. The batter is looking for the one that turns, and you have got a big opportunity to get him with the straighter one. You can not bowl it all the time. You will get more out of the straight one if you show the batter how much it spins first, and put that doubt in their minds. Then you can use the straight one.”
“With that Rizwan delivery, I came close to the wicket to bowl it. Usually, I have been bowling wide of the crease. When I pitched it wide of him, he probably figured that it was going to turn away, but it did not.”
The offspinner Ramesh Mendis had a modest outing with the ball in the Test before. He was a greater threat in the second. He took nine wickets all by himself. Aside from the run-out of Fawad Alam, Mendis and Jayasuriya took all the Pakistan wickets to fall in the second innings.
“What he and I talked about with the coach and the captain was to make sure we keep the pressure on from both sides. When that happens an end opens up. If you are leaking boundaries from one side, it is tough to get wickets. I think we kept the pressure on really well, and when Ramesh was getting wickets, I made sure to bowl tightly.”