Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 15, 2012

Sri Lanka overworked and imbalanced

They came to the Asia Cup after five games in 10 days in Australia and had their first practice the day of their first game. But it was the loss of their two allrounders that proved too big a blow for Sri Lanka to adjust to
35

How often has an away team arrived for a series earlier than the home side? Even as Sri Lanka began their second match of the Asia Cup, England's first warm-up game was underway in Colombo. The warped international schedule has already prompted Sri Lanka to rest some of their Test bowlers for this tournament, to allow them to recover for the England series.

To compound their problems were the injuries to allrounders Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera. It left Sri Lanka utterly imbalanced, and highlighted a long-standing problem for them - the lower-middle order. Not only do Mathews and Perera provide them viable bowling options, but their completely contrasting batting styles provide just what Sri Lanka have been searching for. Mathews brings the cool head and malleable game to orchestrate the latter stages of the innings, while Perera's brute force allows him to play the impact innings, as he recently showed in Kimberley and, to a lesser extent, in Hobart.

For a couple of years, Sri Lanka's batting had five permanent members - Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Mathews - and they hunted for candidates to fill the remaining two slots. Many auditions were provided, but most of the candidates fluffed them. None of Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara Kapugedera proved consistent enough.

During Dilshan's troubled time as captain last year, among the most heartening things was the emergence of youngsters Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne as batsmen who could flourish at the international level. With them, and the pair of Mathews and Perera, Sri Lanka finally seemed to have covered the blemishes in the batting.

The injuries, though, meant Sri Lanka were again looking for two lower-middle order players. In the absence of other allrounders, Sri Lanka deployed Tharanga at No. 6, an unfamiliar position where he has done a decent job, with three half-centuries in four matches though he is yet to convince as a finisher.

The other spot remained. With Dilshan doing a stellar job with the ball towards the end of the Commonwealth Bank series, Sri Lanka trusted him to deliver in the Asia Cup as well, and decided to gamble in the first match by using specialist batsman Chamara Kapugedera at No. 7. That left them with exactly five bowlers (including Dilshan) and no room to manoeuvre if any of them had an off day. The tactic backfired quite spectacularly, with Sri Lanka turning to Kapugedera's rarely used medium-pacers to try and rein in a free-scoring India. And worse, when it was his turn to bat, with Sri Lanka in the sort of situation they picked the extra batsman for - needing about eight an over for the final 12 - Kapugedera picked up a golden duck.

That prompted Sri Lanka to go in for the extra bowling option against Pakistan, dropping Kapugedera and pushing Farveez Maharoof to No. 7. While Maharoof using to be quite a handy bat earlier in his career, his batting has regressed in recent times and No. 7 is at least a position too high for him. Players from all four teams have said during this tournament that batting becomes easier under lights, but Sri Lanka's decision to go with the additional bowling option also meant they were likely to bat first on winning the toss.

Sri Lanka's biggest mistake in the game may have been the reckless top-order batting, but Sangakkara and Tharanga had dragged them back to more solid ground. Even when Tharanga fell in the 36th over, some support at the other end would have been enough for Sangakkara to lift Sri Lanka to a more competitive total. Instead, with the wickets tumbling at the other end, Sangakkara was forced to attempt some big hits and was dismissed in the 43rd over, and Sri Lanka in the 46th.

One-hundred-and-eighty-eight proved too small a total for their bowlers to defend, virtually ending Sri Lanka's Asia Cup campaign.

After the spirit and verve Sri Lanka showed in the CB series, these were a couple of flat performances in Mirpur. When your first chance to train is an hour before your first game of the tournament, and when key players need rest or are injured, you are bound to trip up in a compressed event like the Asia Cup where there are few chances for a comeback.

At least the players have the consolation of having finally been paid their outstanding salaries.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ---lasitha--- on March 17, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    @priyantha gunaratna & sarath1948 well said i was hoping to write the samething and saw your comments. SAMARAWEERA is the ideal batsman for the 6th position ,he has got the required tempramaent technique, and experience so that chandi and thiri can bat inbetween samarae and sanaga. with out experienced players in da lower middle over , no matter how much talented they are ,, they will collpse( get rid of dilshan if youll want to give youngsters a chance)

    PLZZZ BRING IN THE Mr RELIABLE --''THILAN SAMARAWEERA'' IF WWE ARE TO GET A SOLID LINE UP dilshan/... mahela sanaga/chandi chandi/sanag thirimanne SAMARAWEERA mathews maharoof/thisara/jeewen malinga kule ...

  • on March 17, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    Gularan - the fact that the side you say does not belong in 'this' league beat Australia 4-3 in Australia, something the current world champions could not dream of doing. ( Now don't bring the 2008 CB Series here - that was looong ago) The current world champs got beaten by Bangla. (Admins: publish my comment unless we are to understand a certain bias exists on this site).

  • salman_0902 on March 16, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    It will not be acecpted that Pakstan is a superior side than Sri lanka? what has changed Pakistan beat them in a full series just a few months ago. Sri could harldy win one match and that was also because of the fielding. dont you think its a trend that Pakistan is winning and Sri lanka losing not because of losing a couple of players. or there can be other excuses for their losses in the hands of Pakistan.

  • gularan on March 16, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka what a pathetic display in the first two matches of the asia cup. When they play the Bangladeshis they will roar like the Pseudo lions they are. Gosh what a priceless set of chimps. Go play with your own kind---- Kenya ,Holland, Canada,Ireland etc etc. You do not belong in this league.

  • stormy16 on March 16, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Agreed SL's battles to get a balanced middle order is largely dependent on Mathews and its time Mathews stopped bowling and only played as a batsman. He has now missed both the WC final and triangular final in Aus due to injury - after playing the whole series. Its a catch 22 but I would rather have him on the park than not. Also I dont believe the Tharanga at #6 experiment will work, specially if you have Thiriman after him - they can both get stuck and ironically they are both openers. The selections should make sense - you cant take 5 potential openers (Dilshan, Tharanga, Lahiru, Mahela, Sanga) and then wonder why your middle order is a problem. Ironically Mahela's success at the top is causing the issue and for the next games, SL should decied if Mahela is opening then pick a middle order batsman for that role.

  • 9ST9 on March 16, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @sarath1948 - true that. always felt it would have been better not to rush the seniors in the team after that gruelling series' in SA and AUS - instead expose a few youngsters to the Asia cup and make sure the seniors are properly rested for the England Tests. Such a 'second-string' side that toured Zimbabwe in 2010 was instrumental in un earthing Chandimals potential as a batsman. I think this was a wasted opportunity.

  • on March 16, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    ohh so all of a sudden all hav started caring about SL being overworked and making that an excuse behind their lame performances in Asia cup; but doesnt the same rule apply to team India ? They are Overworked more than any cricket team at this time point. They hav been playing continuous cricket since past year .But no one has ever takent his intoconsiderration but instead bashed India mercilessely every time ; not even the BCCI and selectors . I m nt saying that Overwork shud be an excuse for poor performance but rule shud be the same for each country

  • classicvijay on March 16, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    What a poor show from lankans....I still dont understand y they always abt Indian team. Indians have a very good record overseas, especially against Srilankans, which they couldnt digest.

    India's record wins outside Asia, all around the world.

    WC 1983 - England Benson Hedges world series 1985 - Australia Natwest trophy - England T20 WC 2007 - SA CB series 2008 - Australia.

    Srilankans have won only one major tournament outside Asia..that is Emirates Cup in England under Atapattu captaincy.

    Srilankan fans always tell one phrase..."We are always with the team", but they should re-phrase as "We are always with the losing team." :)

    Lankans are the real chokers...how many finals they have lost, we cant count.

    They dont have the right to speak about the Indian team, they are far behind.

  • Charindra on March 16, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    This might be a blessing in disguise. If we reached the finals we would have landed in SL and driven straight to Galle for the 1st test. The additional rest might help them refocus and beat England. (which we MUST do. No excuses there!)

  • on March 16, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Will somebody tell the top order SL batsman not to lift the ball! Then again they have been very successful in the past playing those shots. I guess You can not expect to win all the games all the time, when you are playing world class teams. You win some and you lose some. That's the name of the game.

  • ---lasitha--- on March 17, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    @priyantha gunaratna & sarath1948 well said i was hoping to write the samething and saw your comments. SAMARAWEERA is the ideal batsman for the 6th position ,he has got the required tempramaent technique, and experience so that chandi and thiri can bat inbetween samarae and sanaga. with out experienced players in da lower middle over , no matter how much talented they are ,, they will collpse( get rid of dilshan if youll want to give youngsters a chance)

    PLZZZ BRING IN THE Mr RELIABLE --''THILAN SAMARAWEERA'' IF WWE ARE TO GET A SOLID LINE UP dilshan/... mahela sanaga/chandi chandi/sanag thirimanne SAMARAWEERA mathews maharoof/thisara/jeewen malinga kule ...

  • on March 17, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    Gularan - the fact that the side you say does not belong in 'this' league beat Australia 4-3 in Australia, something the current world champions could not dream of doing. ( Now don't bring the 2008 CB Series here - that was looong ago) The current world champs got beaten by Bangla. (Admins: publish my comment unless we are to understand a certain bias exists on this site).

  • salman_0902 on March 16, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    It will not be acecpted that Pakstan is a superior side than Sri lanka? what has changed Pakistan beat them in a full series just a few months ago. Sri could harldy win one match and that was also because of the fielding. dont you think its a trend that Pakistan is winning and Sri lanka losing not because of losing a couple of players. or there can be other excuses for their losses in the hands of Pakistan.

  • gularan on March 16, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Sri Lanka what a pathetic display in the first two matches of the asia cup. When they play the Bangladeshis they will roar like the Pseudo lions they are. Gosh what a priceless set of chimps. Go play with your own kind---- Kenya ,Holland, Canada,Ireland etc etc. You do not belong in this league.

  • stormy16 on March 16, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Agreed SL's battles to get a balanced middle order is largely dependent on Mathews and its time Mathews stopped bowling and only played as a batsman. He has now missed both the WC final and triangular final in Aus due to injury - after playing the whole series. Its a catch 22 but I would rather have him on the park than not. Also I dont believe the Tharanga at #6 experiment will work, specially if you have Thiriman after him - they can both get stuck and ironically they are both openers. The selections should make sense - you cant take 5 potential openers (Dilshan, Tharanga, Lahiru, Mahela, Sanga) and then wonder why your middle order is a problem. Ironically Mahela's success at the top is causing the issue and for the next games, SL should decied if Mahela is opening then pick a middle order batsman for that role.

  • 9ST9 on March 16, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @sarath1948 - true that. always felt it would have been better not to rush the seniors in the team after that gruelling series' in SA and AUS - instead expose a few youngsters to the Asia cup and make sure the seniors are properly rested for the England Tests. Such a 'second-string' side that toured Zimbabwe in 2010 was instrumental in un earthing Chandimals potential as a batsman. I think this was a wasted opportunity.

  • on March 16, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    ohh so all of a sudden all hav started caring about SL being overworked and making that an excuse behind their lame performances in Asia cup; but doesnt the same rule apply to team India ? They are Overworked more than any cricket team at this time point. They hav been playing continuous cricket since past year .But no one has ever takent his intoconsiderration but instead bashed India mercilessely every time ; not even the BCCI and selectors . I m nt saying that Overwork shud be an excuse for poor performance but rule shud be the same for each country

  • classicvijay on March 16, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    What a poor show from lankans....I still dont understand y they always abt Indian team. Indians have a very good record overseas, especially against Srilankans, which they couldnt digest.

    India's record wins outside Asia, all around the world.

    WC 1983 - England Benson Hedges world series 1985 - Australia Natwest trophy - England T20 WC 2007 - SA CB series 2008 - Australia.

    Srilankans have won only one major tournament outside Asia..that is Emirates Cup in England under Atapattu captaincy.

    Srilankan fans always tell one phrase..."We are always with the team", but they should re-phrase as "We are always with the losing team." :)

    Lankans are the real chokers...how many finals they have lost, we cant count.

    They dont have the right to speak about the Indian team, they are far behind.

  • Charindra on March 16, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    This might be a blessing in disguise. If we reached the finals we would have landed in SL and driven straight to Galle for the 1st test. The additional rest might help them refocus and beat England. (which we MUST do. No excuses there!)

  • on March 16, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Will somebody tell the top order SL batsman not to lift the ball! Then again they have been very successful in the past playing those shots. I guess You can not expect to win all the games all the time, when you are playing world class teams. You win some and you lose some. That's the name of the game.

  • 9ST9 on March 16, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    @Sakthiivel - "indians playing more matches than any other team, still they win" ... like they did in Australia, you mean?

  • chamira on March 16, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    What surprised me is the petulance shown by the SL team towards the end of the match, the lower order, who are not inexperienced, threw away four overs when they could have looked for a 4 runs an over and take themselves over the 200 mark. That would have been a small psychological boost at least.

    Instead, you get the feeling Malinga just decided to be very bullish about it all, throwing away his wicket, figuring that he just wants to get on with the bowling asap as he was so sure of getting another hat-trick or something!

    Idiotic stuff from people who should know better.

  • Prema1948 on March 16, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    If we had administrators the quality of England they would have sent a 2nd string team to Bangladesh with S'weera as a leader( but present selectors seem to have disliking for quality controlled batters the class of S'weera, Atpatu or Dravid for that matter) , giving deserving rest for those who went on tour to SA & Austrlia. Even if we lose, there's no much harm done. The local administrators have no intention of doing that cos, if the Youngsters had performed well as in the case of Chandimal, Senanayake&Thirimanne then there would be a major headache for them in finding places for inconsistent seniors & other henchmen who are always prepared to play even if one -two of their limbs were missing. This was clearly exhibited by them in preventing Senanayake from playing, even if the Adelde wicket was conducive for spinners. The same thing is happening at present in Bangladesh. If in case he had performed well they won't be in a position to book a place for a babe in the Tests.

  • sAiyAnstAr on March 16, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Sri Lanka were the best team in Australia. India lived up to their "can't play bounce" expectation. The only games they won were on the flat Hobart and Adelaide wickets. Except for the last match, Sri Lanka absolutely demolished the Australian quick bowlers on their home ground.

    Even the channel 9 commentators said that Sri Lanka was the best team. That's rich, considering they are very biased toward Australia.

    Please Asia, develop good consistent tracks. Not dustbowls and roads.

  • Test-is-the-best on March 16, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Its time to think about the whole team performance before the next ODI tour. The reasons are 1. SL lacking suitable replacements for No 5,6,7 positions since Arjunaas era. ( i. e after Arjua/Hashan/Mahanama) . 2.Since 2007 SL could not win many tournaments as they did earlier. SL do not have match winners in its line up after Jayasuriya/Vaas/Murali - Dilshan/Mahela./Sanga are good players , but not match winners. 3. SL need another spin allrounder to take up Dilshans place after few years ( Dilshan is now 36yrs old , Lets try Jeewan Mendis /Dilshan Munaweera/ Kaushal Lokuarachchi) 4. No more Kapugedara/Chamara Silva/Dilhara/Maharoof, give a chance for Bhanuka/ Roshen Silva/ Shaminda 4.

  • satish619chandar on March 16, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    Too much cricket, Injury to key players, Too much of travel, Tiredness are all considered as EXCUSES when coming from specific side.. But as a reason for other sides.. I guess the one sided bashing of India need to be put in control..

  • endianuwagona on March 16, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    Mr. Ravindran has got it spot on when saying Maharoof is below par in batting. But one thing is that when Mahela is captain, there are favourite players that he never drops. Maharoof, Tharanga are the main two favourites. Over the next couple of years if Mahela remains as captain you will see that these two players will play all along. The reason that forced Mahela to quit as captain in the first phase was a string of losses and morale in the team as they continuously played a failing Maharoof, a failing Tharanga, a failing Kapugedara and a failing chamara silva non stop. These players virtually did not know what cricket was and SL lost match after match. Looks like old habits of favourism is ploughing in once again. Maharoof cannot be labelled as an all rounder any more. He is in the same class of Kulasekara who is a bowler who can bat SOMETIMES. Yesterday Maharoof was sent ahead of Kulasekara in the power play. That shows the thinking of the management about the overrated Maharoof.

  • sAiyAnstAr on March 16, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Now Sri Lanka can focus on the matches that actually mean something. When they finish their last match against Bangladesh, they will have enough time to rest a little before the England series begins.

    This Asia cup means nothing. Just shows who can bat better on flat pitches.

  • Kadmin on March 16, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    I think it's fatigue, but they don't use that as an excuse. Anyway I hope we will put up a good show in ENG test matches. Have a rest and recharge. GOOD LUCK to Pak and Ind for finals.

  • johnathonjosephs on March 16, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka didn't have enough time to adjust to jetlagging from flying all the way from Australia. Also, they are sorely missing Matthews and Thissara (not to mention dropping Herath). Lankans didn't look like they wanted this win to be honest. There was no motivation in and on the field. Good thing though that they will end soon. Will give them some time to prepare against England. Kind of surprised Samaraweera wasn't in the squad given Matthew's replacement, but the selectors don't really like them. Oh well. Final will be Pakistan vs India. Go Pakistan

  • SamuelThorpe7 on March 16, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    IRONY AT ITS BEST. lolzz "It is still in our control and we do not have to depend on others to go through. We like it that way" Im afraid you dont have it that way now Mahela. You are depending on an IMPOSSIBLE India defeat to Bangladesh. Better pack your bags and go shopping for a few days. I know he must just want to go home now but SL still have a dead game to go. These wickets are slower and lower than AUS and you cannot just go Bang Bang at the top and "hope" to bat through 50 overs. Look at how Gautam and Virat batted and paved the way for an assault later. You need to learn from how India have been beating you lately. Two India Pak games. DREAM COME TRUE :))

    Here are the flight details btw

    Date 21/03 Flight Departure: Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka FLight Arrival: Colombo Passengers: Sri Lanka Nation Cricket Team

  • Tusker17 on March 16, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    Wow, SL Loose and Indians are jumping up and down in great joy ! I guess they've forgotton all the white washes and defeat after defeats during the last year or so.

    All these comparissons in itself is a testament to the quality of the SL teams! SL played consistantly for the last 12 odd years where as you know who was on a roller coaster ride.

    Does the '07 carribean come into mind when Bangladesh put you out of your misery ? LOL....

    Anyway, defeat was not because of the lack of practise or tiredness or whatever. It was just that SL played horrible cricket and that's it ! Absence of key players did impact the unit and the relevant outcomes but that is not the reason we loss!

    Good luck to the other teams and appreciate the constructive critisism and comments from other fans including Indians over the vast majority of 5-cent postings !

  • on March 15, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    Well, No one was blaming too much work load or injury for India's case. I knew people would show lots of Mercy if it is Srilankans. Well the truth is they played poorly. No one seemed to pick wickets. Totally they picked 7 wickets in 2 matches. Same old story of depending on Jayawardene, Sanga and Dilshan. "A sub-standard team" is the fact.

  • SamAsh07 on March 15, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    Sri Lanka still has a chance to make the Finals, though that chance is exceptionally impossible to achieve. How?? If Bangladesh & Pakistan beat India, India will end up with 1 win 2 losses and have 4 points in the Table, Bangladesh will have 4 points too. Then SL must beat Bangladesh with a bonus point and they'll end up on 5 points and sneak into the finals, ofcourse this is impossible since Bangladesh can't beat India. Still stranger things have happened in cricket lately....the current SA v NZ match for instance is a great example for that.

  • tusharkardile on March 15, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    So sad, so sad, Mr Ravindran. Why shouldn't they donate a couple of points to the poor Lankans in compassion?

  • playitstraight on March 15, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    Outstanding article, SL can go back home with pride given the way they have been playing post SA tour. When Mahela captains, not only does Mahela himself look a completely different batsman (in a good way, of course), but Sri Lanka look like the world-class team that they always were. Good luck SL for the two tests against England!

  • on March 15, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    Sadly Mahelas 2nd honeymoon is now over. Finally they have been paid fully so this cannot be the reason for their below par performance. People should also realize the value of Angelo and the contributions that he makes with the bat and ball to this team. SL needs a top quality spin bowler. Nuwan and Fraveez are not high quality allrounders like Watson, Hussey(Dave)or Broad. Good luck with tests against England. Surely SL will be able to beat Poms at Galle. Sl needs Herath and Randiv to fire from all cylinders. Good luck SL.

  • piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on March 15, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    LANKANS CHOKE YET AGAIN !!!

  • salman_0902 on March 15, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    lame excuses. They played a tournament and came back just before the matches and still need practice? we undertsand losing some good players can have impact on the team but blaming the loss on lack of practice and losing players only is not fair.

  • natmastak_so-called on March 15, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    SL fans must be thinking , that , it is better lo return from league stage than to get humiliated habitually in the finals.

  • on March 15, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Too harsh on Thilan Samaraweera! He has been a stand out in tests for a while!

  • Sakthiivel on March 15, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Nice excuse, Indians playing more matches than any other team, still they win. What to say? Lame excuse for inability to win.

  • on March 15, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Sorry Siddarth, both you and those commentators in NEO cricket has no in depth knowledge of SL middle order batting problems. Thilan Samaraweera cannot be categorized in the same class as others you have mentioned as failures. He is one of the best batsmen in the world today in terms of technique and temperament against any type of bowling. He has been given a raw deal by selectors on many occasions . His ODI batting average is around 27 with not so impressive strike rate because most of his career he was used as an off spinner batting low down the order. Even when he finally broke through to the ODI team there were times he was pushed down the order or dropped at a single failure. He has scored two match winning tons one against India in a 300+ run chase and the other against NZ rescuing the side from 4 down for nothing. He could not contribute much in last World Cup because top order was batting until late overs. Yet when rains came down against Aussies he was heading for a big score

  • just_chill_chill on March 15, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    "Sri Lanka overworked and imbalanced" - Actually the headlines should have been "SRI LANKA CHOKED YET AGAIN". Are these guys ever going to win anything? It is getting very predictable now.

  • SamAsh07 on March 15, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Right, people will never praise Pakistans bowling and batting. I've given up on this world.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • SamAsh07 on March 15, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Right, people will never praise Pakistans bowling and batting. I've given up on this world.

  • just_chill_chill on March 15, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    "Sri Lanka overworked and imbalanced" - Actually the headlines should have been "SRI LANKA CHOKED YET AGAIN". Are these guys ever going to win anything? It is getting very predictable now.

  • on March 15, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Sorry Siddarth, both you and those commentators in NEO cricket has no in depth knowledge of SL middle order batting problems. Thilan Samaraweera cannot be categorized in the same class as others you have mentioned as failures. He is one of the best batsmen in the world today in terms of technique and temperament against any type of bowling. He has been given a raw deal by selectors on many occasions . His ODI batting average is around 27 with not so impressive strike rate because most of his career he was used as an off spinner batting low down the order. Even when he finally broke through to the ODI team there were times he was pushed down the order or dropped at a single failure. He has scored two match winning tons one against India in a 300+ run chase and the other against NZ rescuing the side from 4 down for nothing. He could not contribute much in last World Cup because top order was batting until late overs. Yet when rains came down against Aussies he was heading for a big score

  • Sakthiivel on March 15, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Nice excuse, Indians playing more matches than any other team, still they win. What to say? Lame excuse for inability to win.

  • on March 15, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Too harsh on Thilan Samaraweera! He has been a stand out in tests for a while!

  • natmastak_so-called on March 15, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    SL fans must be thinking , that , it is better lo return from league stage than to get humiliated habitually in the finals.

  • salman_0902 on March 15, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    lame excuses. They played a tournament and came back just before the matches and still need practice? we undertsand losing some good players can have impact on the team but blaming the loss on lack of practice and losing players only is not fair.

  • piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on March 15, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    LANKANS CHOKE YET AGAIN !!!

  • on March 15, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    Sadly Mahelas 2nd honeymoon is now over. Finally they have been paid fully so this cannot be the reason for their below par performance. People should also realize the value of Angelo and the contributions that he makes with the bat and ball to this team. SL needs a top quality spin bowler. Nuwan and Fraveez are not high quality allrounders like Watson, Hussey(Dave)or Broad. Good luck with tests against England. Surely SL will be able to beat Poms at Galle. Sl needs Herath and Randiv to fire from all cylinders. Good luck SL.

  • playitstraight on March 15, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    Outstanding article, SL can go back home with pride given the way they have been playing post SA tour. When Mahela captains, not only does Mahela himself look a completely different batsman (in a good way, of course), but Sri Lanka look like the world-class team that they always were. Good luck SL for the two tests against England!