Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Twenty20, Sydney January 26, 2013

Mathews rejoices in 'electric' fielding


Electric was the right word to describe Sri Lanka's fielding in their opening Twenty20 victory, and the articulate Angelo Mathews found it. His opposite number George Bailey noted ruefully but truthfully that he had never seen a team get outfielded in this format and go on to win the game. Mathews was by contrast delighted with the way his XI had attacked Australia, as bowlers and fielders, taking wickets early and then restricting their scoring.

Australia's tally of 3 for 137 had looked inadequate, even if it had been pulled together largely via an outstanding, controlled innings by David Warner. And the fact Sri Lanka had such a manageable chase could be put down to the hard work put in earlier by Mathews' alert and agile team, who responded to their captain's first full match in charge, after a washed-out encounter against New Zealand in October.

"We started off brilliantly," Mathews said. "We were electric in the field and the bowlers bowled very well, I thought Lasith [Malinga] and [Nuwan] Kulasekara were brilliant. They showed their class and they were the ones who pulled us back.

"I thought the par score was 150 to 160. It feels great beating Australia. Playing in Australia the Aussies are always competitive, it is a great challenge and the boys did extremely well today."

Australia made only 31 runs from the final four overs of the innings, delivered with great skill and precision by Kulasekara and Malinga. It was here that Mathews and Bailey felt the game was won. "I knew Lasith had two overs and Kulasekara had two overs, I know they're world-class bowlers and it was totally up to them to make their fields," Mathews said. "They were absolutely brilliant today."

Bailey doffed his cap to Sri Lanka's endeavour in the field, and was disconsolate that his side had not been as tight in the field as numerous wild returns and outfield fumbles were compounded by the odd dropped catch.

"I thought we ended up a few runs short, but we had that platform set, and to be fair I thought Sri Lanka bowled unbelievably well their last four overs," Bailey said. "Any side that can bowl to Davey [Warner], set, and deprive him of boundaries, and Vogesy [Adam Voges] too … they executed unbelievably well.

"I thought our fielding was disappointing, and that probably cost us 10 runs in fielding, so that adds up in a T20 game, plus some dropped catches. I've never seen a T20 game where if you get outfielded you win the game - I think the best fielding side always wins."

Sri Lanka's only concern is a cut over the eye of Tillakaratne Dilshan, inflicted by a Ben Laughlin bouncer. He will have the wound assessed ahead of game two in Melbourne on Monday.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sachit on January 28, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    People who say Malinga plays for money etc.(seen a lot of such comments from Sri Lankan fans) should have watched how he bowled in the last few overs in that game - unbelievable control.

  • Prashan on January 28, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @PrasadGunawardane, I agree. We need a good spinner for tests and going by averages Roshan Jayatissa could well be the best. Also Sachithra Senanayake is also good but he never gets the chance to play a test match at home. May be he must be given a chance at Galle to balle with Rangana. Just look at Sachithra's bowling average. Simply awesome. We also need a wicket taking pacie like Vaas too and hope Chaturanga Kumara (another Josephian) does it.

  • Prasad on January 27, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @Sinhaya:Yes, Roshan Jayatissa is finer to be promoted as an all-rounder too.I guess he is among the top 4 spinners in Army along with Ajantha Mendis, Seekuge Prasanna and Raveendra Palliyaguruge. However SL need to build a wicket taking stable leggi which SL never had in the longer version of the game. Neither U.Chandana nor M.Bandara and K.Lokuarachchi settled in the longer version. Yes i too think its too early to introduce T.Kaushal to the arena and that's why i mentioned either Kaushal or Dulanjana.Well, Rumesh Buddika has a better average in First Class (4day and 3day matches) than ListA(50 over matches) and T20 matches. He played brilliantly in NZ conditions during U19 WC in 2010. He played well in South Africa too. When it comes to technique, Rumesh Buddika is closer to Sanga than Thirimanna and definitely Rumesh Buddika is a stroke maker. He has been already recommended by Aravinda as a future star of Lankan Cricket as well.

  • Prashan on January 27, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    @PrasadGunawardane, well I just saw Rumesh Buddika's profile and he is only a T20 batsman. Dulanjana Mendis is great but I hope you are also aware of Roshan Jayatissa. Tharindu Kaushal is too early to be judged so give more time. Yes Chaturanga Kumara is a good future pace bowling prospect. Samaraweera should voluntarily quit immediately as he has already got permanent residency in Australia and he better move with his family. I think Sanga and Mahela better rest in March really.

  • Prasad on January 27, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    @Sinhaya: Of course, Thisara has to practice a lot in his batting. Otherwise he will remain as a slogger forever only against left arm orthodox and pace deliveries pitching in middle and leg. SL should promote following four players during the Bangladesh TEST matches for sure; Roshen Silva, Rumesh Buddika, Angelo Perera and Dulanjana Mendis/Tharindu Kaushal.. Further Chathuranga Kumara should be given a chance during the ODI series. Upcoming series in March is a prime chance for SLankan selectors to experiment with flourishing youngsters and analyze what they can do. I believe keeping at most two seniors like Dilshan and Mahela/Sangakkara is more than enough for that series where either Mahela/Sangakkara and Samaraweera should be left off. Perhaps Mahela can play to regain his average in TEST Cricket which got fallen below 50 after a decade.

  • Bala on January 27, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    Someone mentioned that he heard that Sanath Jayasuriya has been appointed the next Chairman of Selectors. Its great news. He expressed hope that Jayasuriya will bring about some changes I consider this a wrong way of doing business. Pressing himself to be inserted in the ODI team in 2011 was wrong, and when he was back in the team, he wanted to play all matc hes in that series. He had a poor run and was dropped from the team in 2009 after a series with India. Then he wanted to go to UK to finish his career. After 18 months of break he went on that tour, a charity trip. Both batting and bowling were poor and hecould not field! But tha man wanted to play all matches. By demanding a position for himself through poitical pressure, and by failinng to realise his lack of ability when he was given an opportunity , Sanath Jayasuriya has proven that why he SHOULD NOT be in near the selection panel. I loved his game but that was donkeys year ago. Stay away the MP and politician Mr SJ.

  • Prashan on January 27, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    @PrasadGunawardane, you are absolutely right. Thisara has absolutely no shot on the off side. Just recall his blistering 69 no at Kimberley last year?? All sixers were hit on the leg side and just cant recall a single shot hit on the off. No wonder Starc kept bowling yorkers at him and he could not connect. In the Brisbane ODI chasing 74, the winning shot he hit somehow connected and got a 4 through third man fortunately. He also takes time to get his eye and is better off going at number 3 or 4 in T20s and ODIs as he can perhaps be our Pollard too who takes time to settle and whack.

    @Karnain, ah yes you are correct and thanks a lot for the correction.

  • Miles on January 27, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    At present SL is one of the best fielding sides in the world. Great Job Ruwan Kalpage who is the Fielding Coach. He him self used to one of the best fielders in the world in mid 90's. However we still need to work on some of the ground fielding ability of some players like Thirimanne, Kulasekera & Malinga. Especially Thirmanne and Malinga must work on sprinting & agility. I would say Thirimanne as a youngster should be more flexible. Kula is a better fielder but he should practice more boundary catches under lights.

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    Fielding wasnt what lost it, show how switched on Bailey really is!! Bowlers bowling on middle and leg short of a length!! guess there arent any bowlers out there who bowl yorkers wide of off stump, wait YES Malinga does and guess what scoring is difficult, that what wins you a T20 not wickets!!! God can commentory please get of this Test ODI mentallity? Here a thought Give Wade a bowl shure be Better than this laughlan(stock)

  • Prasad on January 26, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    @ LeoE: No body can still match Thisara with Gayle. Thisara is still struggling to find his feet against the deliveries pitching outside the off stump and probably he has no shots in off side like Square cut, cover drive, back cut or any. He is still slogging in the off side. Starc bowled a brilliant 18th over in a T20 match today where Thisara struggled to find the bat and ball against the bowl pitched out side the off-stump. It is axiomatic that Thisara has the talent and the un-matchable hitting power. However he needs to practice a lot in the nets with his off side shots and the batting coach has to work with a lot to improve that, if Thisara to be promoted up in the order. Further he should be given some opportunities in domestic level to bat up in the order while practicing hard in nets. That is the only way for him to come up as a good all round Cricketer who can be a dangerous batsman in higher middle order in ODIs instead of his current reputation of hitter in the end!

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