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Sri Lanka must dig deep, says Jayawardene
John Salvado
17:33 AEST Fri Dec 28 2012

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene has demanded his team show much more character in the third Test against Australia after they were smashed inside two and a half days at the MCG.

The tourists will likely have to make three forced changes.

Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara (broken finger) and paceman Chanaka Welegedera (hamstring) are definitely out, while wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene is also unlikely to recover from a fractured thumb in time for the January 3-7 Test at the SCG.

But even more important than finding fit players is the need to show some fight after a Mitchell Johnson-led pace barrage condemned Sri Lanka to defeat by an innings and 201 runs on Friday.

"Today I thought we needed to buckle down and bat well," said Mahela Jayawardene.

"We lost two wickets in no time in the first over which gave them a lot of momentum and then we just kept losing wickets.

"You can't pinpoint one thing and say that's where we went wrong.

"There were loose shots and a loss of concentration.

"At the same time, the Australians played some really good cricket as well. You can't take that away from them.

"We need to step up to the plate, we need to show character and really dig deep."

There was no way back for Sri Lanka after they were reduced to 3-3 in their second dig - equalling their worst start to a Test innings.

The procession began when Dimuth Karunaratne was senselessly run out in the first over.

And it didn't get any better, with the skipper extending his sorry run outside his home country to 26 Test innings without reaching 50.

Once again, it was first innings top-scorer Sangakkara who provided the most resistance - until he was forced to retire hurt for 27 after having his left index finger broken by a rampaging Johnson.

"We played a really bad game of cricket," said Jayawardene.

"The Boxing Day Test match is always a big occasion but I don't think that alone is an excuse.

"We went out and didn't play good cricket.

"We need to put our hand up and accept that."

Looking beyond the Sydney Test - when Sri Lanka will be at long odds to avoid a series whitewash - is the fact that their best batsmen are in their mid 30s.

Jayawardene said the one-day team had experienced a major overhaul in the past 18 months and the same process needed to be managed with the Test side as he, Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera near the end of distinguished careers.

"But the transition has to be smooth," he said.

"We might have some wobbles down the line but we must have faith in the system and have faith in the team."


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