Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur February 28, 2016

Mathews defends Chameera's late show


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'We all need to take responsibility' - Mathews

Despite playing on what stand-in captain Angelo Mathews described as "a brilliant wicket", Sri Lanka couldn't find boundaries for seven consecutive overs against Bangladesh during which the required run-rate ballooned to 15.33 from 8.20. But much before they ran into trouble dealing with some impressive bowling, they could have closed down the home side's batsmen for a significantly lower score than the 147 for 7 they got in 20 overs.

Mathews himself opened the bowling and removed Mohammad Mithun second ball before Nuwan Kulasekara forced Soumya Sarkar to loft to mid-off in the second over. Mathews then ran out Mushfiqur Rahim as Bangladesh reeled at 26 for 3 in the fifth over. Whether Mathews should have called upon his fastest bowler, Dushmantha Chameera, at that stage is a moot point but Bangladesh wouldn't have liked his pace when trying to rebuild the innings.

Chameera was eventually introduced in the 14th over, and bowled his four overs straight to finish with 3 for 30, removing Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan and Nurul Hasan when each were poised for the final assault.

Mathews said that he had saved Chameera to perform the role of the injured Lasith Malinga in the final overs, and also because the spinners - Shehan Jayasuriya and Rangana Herath - had been keeping things tight in the middle overs.

"[Dushmantha] Chameera bowled brilliantly," Mathews said. "I thought we needed someone to do Malinga's job towards the end. The wicket was turning as well, and that's why I kept bowling the spinners. The batters were finding it hard to hit boundaries off the spinners which is why I delayed the fast bowlers."

Dushmantha Chameera bowled his four overs on the bounce at the death © BCCI

If Malinga has been around he would have probably bowled himself two overs at the top and two at the death but because he wasn't there, Mathews thought of keeping Chameera's full allocation for the end overs. This is not the first time that Sri Lanka kept him in store; he wasn't used for more than 35 overs after he had taken three early New Zealand wickets in the Hamilton Test in December.

The talk around Chameera is that the team management feels he could get injured if used too much, but he is also considered one of the fittest players in the team and has been relatively injury-free.

Mathews may have to rethink the Chameera strategy as it is looking likely that he may have to captain Sri Lanka for the remaining matches due to the uncertainty surrounding Malinga's fitness. Mathews said that they were not sure whether Malinga would be available for the next two matches - against India and Pakistan.

"Lasith will always be a crucial bowler for us. Unfortunately we didn't have him today. I don't really know if he will be fit for the next two games, but it is what it is.

"We have got only those resources we have to use in the game. We have to do it the hard way. India have been playing good cricket, we have to play really good cricket to win," he said.

Mathews also admitted that Sri Lanka's long batting line up should have adequately chased down Bangladesh's 147 for 7 but made errors choosing their shots.

"The middle period made [the chase] a hell of a lot harder for us. especially after the start that we got. We have a tall batting order as well but the run-rate started creeping up once it hit the 10-12 run mark in an over.

"We couldn't really get the ball to the boundary which was the main reason for the collapse. Also the shot selection was not really up to the mark. Unfortunately we just kept taking wrong decisions."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Viraj on March 1, 2016, 12:19 GMT

    Team for next game please : 1. Dinesh Chandimal (wk) - (playing well in the last two games), 2. Shehan ( should always open and bowl some overs) , 3. Siriwardene (should always bat at 3 or otherwise get rid of him ) - I don`t thing he`s good enough, 4. Tillakaratne Dilshan ( He`s the biggest problem for Sri Lanka batting right now, either you play him at Nummer 4 or get rid of him) 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Kapugedara / Shanaka ( both are pathetic - selectors should pick players who have done well at provincial t-20 not from club level and scoring two hundreds against rubbish bowling and both can`t play Ashwin or Jadeja . 7. Thisara Perera ( He has to play always, he`s capable of take wickets) 8. Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Rangana Herath ( not taking wickets, can`t run , always 10 bonus runs for opposition and good luck if he perform consistently , 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11. Lasith Malinga (capt) / Shanaka /Sachithra

    Same old story Sri Lanka don`t have 5 reliable top oder batsmen.

  • Sam on March 1, 2016, 0:57 GMT

    Still think Mathews is one of the best cricketers we have... But he is not a captain to win matches. Every team plays attacking cricket these days. We should have gone for the kill with 3 wickets down. We have plenty of bowlers to cover, isn't that why we play so many all rounders? You are the captain, not the coordinator. We want Mathews the winner not Mathews the nice guy. So many past cricketers to learn from. This is your team, win us some matches.

  • AJ on February 29, 2016, 23:08 GMT

    Whats Malinga's job at the end? Can you prove it with stats? Does Malinga concede less runs at the death? Stats dont show that. Its just a perception and branding for Malinga. Mathews made a blunder by not bowling him untill 14th over.

  • Sage on February 29, 2016, 17:31 GMT

    It was a pathetic display by Sri Lankan cricket team against Bangladesh. Mathews fielding was horrible. I don't think he could set up a good field. This is not the first time and he keeps repeating the same mistakes. Honestly i feel it's time up for Dilshan, Kulasekera and Tissara to hang their boots. Also feel Chandimal is not a T20 player. He scored a 50 and a 37 they not quality innings. The match was well with in when Chadimal tried hit that reverse sweep with three fielders on the off. Shehan Jayasuriya threw his wicket for the second time. Sri Lankan player lacked intelligence. When Tissara came to bat Bangladesh immediately brought in the pacemen and got his wicket. But Mathews has nothing innovative, He took more than 12 overs to bring Chameera. He should have brought him when Bangladesh was 3 wickets down. But Sri Lanka does not have a direction so rightly should exit the tournament soon. I wonder what are the coaches doing except Ford. Even against UAE they struggled

  • Raj on February 29, 2016, 17:30 GMT

    Mathew's captaincy is the main reason SL have been loosing matches lately. He talks about positive cricket all the time, he plays very defensive cricket. It is a joke Mathew saying, Chameera was playing Malinga's role. Has malinga ever bowled 4 overs straight at the death?

    If the opposiion lost 3 top order batsmen within 30 runs, thats the time you go for a kill and you dont plan for 20 overs, should have introduced Chameera. More over, if he is protecting Chameera from injury, why would you let him bowl 4 overs straight? isnt it better for him to bowl 2 overs and then 2 overs.

    Come on SL, you need good Captain, you have enough talent, just want the Captain who knows how to mange his resources well. Tired of seeing Mathew's failing strategies.

    Even with batting, he sent in form batsmen Kapugedara late, sketchy batsmen Mathew, Shanaka and Thissara came earlier than him. If Kapu had come as soon as Jayasuriya out, SL would have won the match.

  • Cricinfouser on February 29, 2016, 16:09 GMT

    even farveez mahroof is far far better than perera

  • Cricinfouser on February 29, 2016, 16:06 GMT

    best X1 team for WC munaweera,dananjaya ,kapugedara,chandi,mathews,siriwardane,shanaka,kula,chameera,malinga,herath DROP DILSHAN,DICKWELLA,PERERA FRM THE SQUAD

  • Chatty on February 29, 2016, 14:45 GMT

    Chameera (great) Mathews (What has happened to him? He hasn't hit a single 'heroic' inning for a long time. Out of form? Some other reason?) Chandimal (Not doing wonders. But on difficult wickets, he has been making runs at a steady clip) Kapu (He can hit the ball well and is talented. His batting position in the team however is bizarre) Siriwardhena (He showed both in SL and NZ that he can bat well and he has the right temperament. He has not adjusted to BD wickets. Hope he does) Kula (bowled OK in helpful conditions. Not sure he will be effective in India, if the conditions are different) Herath (Creaking joints notwithstanding, he has been keeping things under control. But he needs to take some wickets.) Dilshan - Hasn't done much. His days will be numbered if he does not get some runs. Perera - Why is he in the team? Shanaka and Jayasuriya - Inexperienced and not sure whether they are up to it Malinga - not fit Who else? SL run out of talent? SLC needs to take responsibility.

  • Yohaan on February 29, 2016, 14:20 GMT

    @SLHerath34786: totally agree with your point. Mathews did the same mistakes in NZ series too. He kept Chameera off for so long wasting the advantage in initial overs. If you analyze SL batting, when Chandi got out in 11th over, the score was 76 (7 runs was maintained until then) and and further 72 required from 9 ovrs with 8 wikts in hand (RR was just 8). But SL couldn't acheive it, WHY? LACK OF EXPERIENCE in late order & Negative batting from No-4 Mathews! This was the story in most instances in every format for SL during past 2+ yrs. Inexperienced Hard hitting youngsters alone wouldn't win matches for SL, as proved yet again. We had experienced Sanga, MJ to do the job in the past.

    Only front order batter available for SL with such experience & situation appropriate aggressiveness is Upul Tharanga (T-20 career: 1806 r @ 27 Av - 125 SR -12 x 50) better than Dilly 26 Av- 122 SR, Shehan 20 Av -115 SR, Chandi : 28 Av - 119 SR & SR comparable with Sanga 29 Av -125 SR. WHY not UPUL.?

  • chami on February 29, 2016, 14:10 GMT

    Chandi could not hit bowl in Asian condition, he does not have the power for T20, always mishits so lucky get so many chances drop as well, Mostly game cost us because Mathive and Chandimal ... and Mathives defensive captaincy ... not sure why Mathive wanted to bat at that time, he is out of touch this year ... we need some one can clear the rope when they see a loos one, Kapu may be good as #4, Jaysuriya was doing a good job as #3 ... it is unfortunate but Thisara could not get back to his game ... I don't see a place for him unless he improve his mind game

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