Mathews wants more ‘intent’ from SL batsmen

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 01:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ESPNcricinfo: Sri Lanka’s inexperience showed in the field, Angelo Mathews said following the 169-run loss to India, but he was also critical of his batsmen for not making a better attempt at the chase. Chasing 364, Sri Lanka set out at 3.9 runs an over in the mandatory Powerplay, and failed to increase the scoring rate significantly after that, as the team continued to lose wickets. An experienced top order was expected to carry a green attack through this series, but of the top seven, only Mahela Jayawardene scored at better than a run-a-ball. No other specialist batsman crossed 30, either, and Sri Lanka were all out for 194. “Chasing a score of over 360, we’ve got to approach it in a different way from how we batted in the first 10 overs,” Mathews said. “I actually thought that was one of our big faults. We didn’t get off to a start. At least we could have showed some intent. All the batsmen should have approached it like Mahela. We needed to make a move.” Sri Lanka dropped catches off both India centurions, and also leaked runs they could have saved, continuing a recent record of poor fielding. Mathews put those errors down to the lack of preparation, but said the bowling had, at least briefly, been encouraging. India had been 43 for 0 after ten overs, with both debutant Lahiru Gamage and Dhammika Prasad extracting bounce and seam from the Cuttack surface to beat the bat regularly. “Our new ball bowlers bowled really well in the first ten overs,” Mathews said. “I thought we let them let them off the hook after that. They played some really good shots and Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan batted brilliantly. India has always been a tough place for bowlers. It’s a batsmen’s game. Plenty of runs on offer on these wickets, so we need to bowl well to stop them.” Dhawan, meanwhile, praised the India bowlers’ discipline, and suggested India’s openers were well-placed looking ahead to the 2015 World Cup. Dhawan and Rahane’s 231-run stand was the second 150-plus partnership for the pair in six innings, and the third-highest for India for the first wicket. “It’s a good sign for our team that the openers are scoring runs and making big partnerships,” Dhawan said. “If you see, me and Rahane have been consistently getting 50-run partnerships. It’s very important because you need the strong base. When me and Rohit Sharma used to open, we did the same thing at that time too. We’re very fortunate that we three openers are there with the Indian team and we can give that consistency with partnerships and performance.” India have also now won three ODIs in a row, having already beaten England and West Indies in bilateral ODI series in recent months, with both their batting and bowling having begun to fire together. Dhawan’s 113 was his sixth ODI ton. “Today we were just trying to play the bowlers on merit,” he said. “At the start the wicket was swinging and seaming a bit, that’s why we gave it a bit of time to settle. You get a lot of self-confidence when you play such a knock, and when you win the first match by a big margin, it gives confidence to the team as well.”