Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 January 7, 2013

Sri Lanka undone by inconsistency - Ford


Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford said his side had positives to take from a 3-0 drubbing in Australia, but had ultimately been undone by inconsistency, after Australia completed the whitewash with a five-wicket win in Sydney. Previously in the series, Sri Lanka had been close to achieving a draw in Hobart, where they were bowled out with only 10.4 overs remaining until stumps on day five, but had also sunk to their third-heaviest defeat in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

The visitors could not dominate Australia throughout the series, and also conceded substantial first-innings deficits in each match. The batsmen could only muster one score in excess of 300, and only once batted out a session without losing a wicket.

Sri Lanka were also sloppy in the field, particularly in Melbourne where five chances went down in Australia's innings, and did not sustain pressure on Australia with the ball. Their poor use of the DRS also contributed to their failure.

"We've got to look at ourselves and accept there were areas where we were short and consistency is an important thing," Ford said. "There were periods when we were every bit as good as the Australians, but we weren't able to sustain that. We had the odd session every now and then when we set ourselves back quite badly."

Ford said Sri Lanka were encouraged by their performance in Sydney, particularly as their batting in the last Test was driven largely by contributions from the side's young batsmen. Twenty three-year-old Lahiru Thirimanne's 91 was the highest score in the first innings, while Dimuth Karunaratne, 24, top-scored in the second innings with 85. Dinesh Chandimal, 23, then helped his side recover from a middle-order collapse, as he batted with the tail to take Sri Lanka's lead to 140. He made 62 not out, having forged a 41-run partnership with Nuwan Pradeep for the last wicket.

"A couple of the young guys who have been given opportunities have shown that they can play at this level. What I was happy with on the final day was the pride and the passion and the way they went out and fought. A lot of people didn't feel the Test would continue for as long as it did. A chap like Nuwan Pradeep going out and handling some nasty pace he wasn't equipped to handle - he really showed some character, along with young Chandimal. The boys certainly never gave up in the field until the last run was scored.

"I think what's been positive is that the young batsmen have handled their time out of the side so well. They've kept working on their game and kept talking about how they will be absolutely ready when they do get their chance. Attitude is just so important in a touring group. They've showed the perfect attitude and when the chance has come their way, they've really grabbed it."

Ford also defended Thilan Samaraweera's shot selection, after the batsman had perished in the second dig to a top-edged swipe across the line to Nathan Lyon, off the third ball of his innings. Samaraweera had struggled for form throughout the series, and made 79 in six innings.

"That's the nature of the game. We see highly experienced players make decisions that don't work on the particular day. Looking at the bigger picture, what was disappointing for me, and I said it after the press conference, is that we could have perhaps squeezed out a few more runs in that first innings. And we could have squeezed out a few more in the second innings as well."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • chami on January 9, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    We lost this series because of our batting failure and fielding, we played with 7-4 combination still can't score runs. so called seniors does not know how to hang in the wicket, when to call for a run ... stop blaming bowlers

  • Prashan on January 9, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    @Chris_P, yes we must now cash in on the upcoming home series against Bangladesh by all means. But I really feel we made too many careless mistakes which are unpardonable. How disappointing it is to see 80% of our wickets falling due to our batting errors than due to unplayable deliveries unleashed!! It is also clear that Mathews is not a suitable captain as of now due to his "dont care like casual attitude". We have young talent. So upto the SLC to get priorities right, but unlikely to happen in the next few months.

  • M on January 9, 2013, 2:22 GMT

    @rowdypeter - Well said, you were spot on.Bowling was rubbish and these batsman friendly bowlers should not be allowed to play in international test matches. I think they lack skills and common sense and SL would be better off if they select 9 batters and 2 spin bowlers in overseas matches.Atleast they can manage to draw 2 mathces instead of being thrashed 3-0.

  • Peter on January 9, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    @SinhayaI think you are being far too hard on your team. If they go away from here & not show improvement from their tour experience, then I would agree with you. It;s difficult to pinpoint one area where you lost or not as circumstances may have changed if the alternate had happened. For example, if Cowan didn't run himself out, who knows if he had of put his down & scored 200? Sure Matthews swipe didn't help, but it could have led to a different scenario re: ending. I saw enough, this time anyway, to suggest that the future for SL isn't as bleak as I thought before seeing some of these guys. But to repeat, the administration must address this at grass roots level. This evolves after a period of planning, not overnight. Transition planning, to date, appears ottbe on the right track for Sri Lanka.

  • Nilantha on January 8, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    lot of debate about the retirement of Mahela, Sanga and Dilshan..There is no disagreement in my book that these guys still have it but in order for SL cricket to evolve,I personally feel that the youngsters must get a chance ( Chandimal, Thirimanne , Karunaratne , Danajaya , Thissara) and these guys need to be led by Mathews you should have a free reign to mould HIS own team... we are a team in transition but we need to start again and become competitive again...

  • Anura on January 8, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Why is it always the fault of the board or the selectors? They have done their job by looking after the players to the best of their ability and the selectors have picked the players and given them the oportunity. It is upto the players to step up to the plate and produce the results. They can not blame the conditions as they knew that and have to be prepared. They can not complain about the money as they are way more compensated than the players who helped them to get the test status. In 1984 the test team who toured England was given $50 a day and had to manage the diner & laundry with that and the hotel, breakfast and lunch was provided. Now they get thousands and still do not deliver. The basic rule in anything is if you accept money to do a job you HAVE to Deliver or do not accept the money. Take an example from the USA basket ball players like Lebron and Koby, they are millioniers but when they put on the USA shirt they give 1000% to win for thire country. Seniors, please N

  • Peter on January 8, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    I think Ford has no good reason to say there was inconsitency. The bowling was rubbish and to haul back the lost advantage was not easy. The coach is there to advice the bowlers and batsmen and if they had followed his advice then he is a bag of rubbish. They were erratic and only Herath and Dilshan can hold their heads up high as far as the bowlers were concerned. The batsmen have got used to the 20/20 mode and therefore gave their wickets away senselessly. When they played straight bats the batsmen had class. Matthews is a waste of space and he has proved it over and over again that he is an irresponsible player. The Sri Lankan players relied on their talent and if they have to go on without a coach I am sure they will do as well or better. The selectors have to be given a kick up their behinds for keeping good players like Lokuge in cold storage. The boy will be a great player with or without Ford.

  • Prashan on January 8, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    @Chris_P, Aussies simply were far superior. But if we made a better effort or even better selection choices, we could have made it 1-1. Also, we were far less mentally tough than Aussies. In Hobart, Chandimal would have made a difference rather than Prasanna J. We lost it due to Angelo's rash shot in the 2nd innings. MCG was a pure massacre and no need to elaborate. SCG was the chance where we should have played Ajantha Mendis but instead the useless Lakmal was played. The result shows that ever since we got test status, we have played our worse test cricket both home and away against Aussies. We have squadered 5 test matches from a winning position to end up as losers against Aussies. Well Pakistan too played there worse test cricket after the SCG win in 1995 Nov against the Aussies to lose 13 tests in a row until it all ended in Headingley in 2010. That too Aussies could have won and made it 14 test wins in a row had Watson taken Farhat's catch!

  • Prashan on January 8, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    @Meety, Aussies have the best test record of all visiting teams in Sri Lanka. Then comes Pakistan. But one thing I disagree. We can survive without Sanga and Mahela. The way Dimuth K, Thirimanne and Chandimal played clearly proves their worth. With Bangladesh due in SL in March, hope our other proming batsman Angeo Perera also gets a chance.

  • Pasenadee on January 8, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    @Jerryman - You have basically summed up everything that needs to be done mate for the greater good of the game and for a true contest on the field. Some fans will find it hard to digest. Plenty of the Aussies get dropped throughout their career, and it does them a world of good when they fight their way back into the side. Just think what CA would do with the SL team: Mahela, Samaraweera, Prasanna, and Matthews (temporarily-until some accountability and responsibility is shown) would be dropped. If your opponent is consistently winning and seem to have a formula for winning...why not adopt it? Nothing like a game that goes down to the wire.