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Wednesday , July 28 , 2010
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Sangakkara and I complement each other, says Jayawardene
- ‘One has to be humble on breaking a record held by Bradman’
Mahela Jayawardene after reaching his century, on Tuesday

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s senior-most pro, the 33-year-old Mahela Jayawardene, spoke to the media in general and, then, to The Telegraph exclusively, on Tuesday evening.

The following are excerpts

On doing one better than Sir Don Bradman

(Smiles) Look, Bradman played 10 Tests at the MCG and got nine hundreds! I had to play 23 at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) to score 10... That, for you, is Bradman... He’s a legend and I wouldn’t compare... But, yes, it’s a moment for me to remember and one has to be humble on breaking a record held by Bradman... I love playing at the SSC, it’s my home ground... It’s nice to perform in front of its members and other fans.

Whether he’d been conscious of being one hundred away from setting a record

Yes, indeed.

Talk that the SSC should be changed to Mahela Sports Club

I’ll be happy as long as the wicket remains great for batting... I’d missed two hundreds at the SSC last year, against New Zealand, and was determined not to again fall in the 90s (92 and 96).

Constantly raising the bar...

Just try to push myself... I keep challenging myself. In fact, I’ve done so throughout my career (first Sri Lanka appearance in August 1997).

Falling for 174 and not getting a double hundred

Not disappointed... I was too tired and, with the fields set, it would’ve been difficult for me to score quickly (before the declaration)... We knew that 600 would be the mark to reach before looking at declaring, for we needed time to bowl India out... In a team cause, you don’t have such regrets.

If the SSC wicket has been different this time

The only difference is that there’s more bounce... The wicket is much harder and the ball is coming on much better... Obviously, the first three days are very good for batting. Later, it will probably spin more and, hopefully, we’ll be able to create chances.

Whether such wickets are ideal for Test cricket

What kind of wickets do you want? Where the matches will finish in two-three days? One shouldn’t complain and look at each wicket being challenging. Nowadays, it’s (Test cricket) not boring... Today, over 400 runs were scored... It’s very attractive, tactically as well. Also, this was only the second day...

Massive partnerships with Kumar Sangakkara, the captain

We complement each other... Being right and left-handed, we get more opportunities (to score big together) as the bowlers aren’t able to get into rhythm... Both of us are more attacking now... Early in our careers, we weren’t so in Test cricket. It’s good to have somebody solid like Sanga at the other end, as he puts pressure on different bowlers at different times... We had plans and we executed them.

Targeting Harbhajan Singh

He’s the most experienced and the most dangerous... As he’s a match-winner, it was a team decision to try and control him. Bhajji bowled his heart out and did create opportunities... For us, it wasn’t about just playing him, but taking runs off him, too... We had to be positive and we were. He needed luck.

Strategy for Day III

We’ve got the runs on the board, so we’ll attack... We know India have quality batsmen who can bat for long periods and, so, won’t be giving them many opportunities... We attacked this evening and Viru (Virender Sehwag) got away with it... We’ll now try and frustrate as much as we can. The wicket will still be good, so we will have to be smart... We need to first get 10 wickets and, then, look at the next 10.

Plans for Sehwag...

It wouldn’t be much fun if I told you... He’s the dangerman, but there are others with over 10,000 runs under their belt.

The Sri Lanka attack

Look, with the old ball, the fast bowlers (Dilhara Fernando, Dammika Prasad) will be able to reverse quite a bit. They’ve got pace as well... Suraj (Randiv, the debutant) was, I think, nervous today... He’s very dangerous, though, especially if there’s bounce... I know that (Ajantha) Mendis, who has made a comeback, is eager to do well... We need to stick to our game plan.

Being named the vice-captain, after having given up the captaincy in early 2009

I didn’t seek the post... It’s a decision taken by the selectors... This is how things will be till the World Cup… After that, they’ll see who will be our next captain and groom him by giving him the vice-captaincy.

Finally, if he’d like to dedicate Tuesday’s record to somebody

(Grins) Not to anybody in particular, to my well-wishers.

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