Malinga boosted our bowling attack: Jayawardene

Updated: Mar 09, 2011, 17:07 PM IST

Pallekele: Sri Lanka vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene believes that paceman Lasith Malinga`s comeback from a back strain has strengthened their attack in the World Cup.

Malinga took six wickets, including a hat-trick against Kenya, on his return after miising the first two matches against Canada and Pakistan.

Jayawardene said that the slinger has added more variety to the 1996 champions` bowling.

"Lasith coming back into the team has given us a few more options in our bowling attack which is great," said Jayawardene about Malinga, who took his second World Cup hat-trick during the match against Kenya.

Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara had made up for Malinga`s absence in the first two matches of the tournament.

Sri Lanka will play minnows Zimbabwe on Thursday in their bid to book a quarterfinal berth and Jayawardene said there is still some room for improvement in both batting and fielding.

"I think we can still improve on our batting, try to bat for longer periods and make sure we build partnerships. Even on the field there is always room to improve. We are a very hard-working side when it comes to fielding. We just have to keep improving and make sure we make the most of our chances," the veteran batsman said.

Aware that their next opponent after Zimbabwe is New Zealand, on a high after a morale-boosting 110-run win against Pakistan on Tuesday, the vice-captain warned his teammates not to under-estimate the African nation on Thursday.

"We rank Zimbabwe with any other team. I think they are a very good all-round side and we know they can be a surprise package so we are not taking anything lightly," said Jayawardene.

"We just want to concentrate on our performances. That`s in our control and we will execute a game plan because we know every team is dangerous and have quality players," he added.