Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Mirpur February 16, 2014

Handling big moments will be the key - Mathews


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has said, ahead of the first ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur, handling the big moments will be key for both sides. Mathews is aware of the home side's preference towards the limited-overs format, but he doesn't think the momentum is far from his team's grasp.

Bangladesh pushed the visitors till the last ball in both Twenty20s in Chittagong over the weekend, but couldn't quite finish the job. Apart from keeping them alert, Sri Lanka will also remember they were on the losing side the last time they played Bangladesh.

"I think we have to be positive, hang in there through tough periods, just as we had done in the Twenty20s," Mathews said. "Each individual has to play their part. I think handling the situation is going to be the key.

"I thought it was a hard-fought couple of wins for us. It wasn't easy at all for us, as I said, they are going to come hard at us. They are going to be very strong in the ODIs and T20s. We hope the guys will keep the momentum and go forward in the ODIs. Hopefully the weather stays away and we get a good game in our hands."

Sri Lanka are without Mahela Jayawardene but still have enough firepower in their openers, No. 3 and the young batsmen to put pressure on their opponents. Ashan Priyanjan made 74 against Pakistan in December while Angelo Perera, despite his poor shot in the second Twenty20 in Chittagong, made 244 recently in a first-class match.

Then there is Kithuruwan Vithanage who made a century in the first Test in Dhaka last month, and will be expected to play a role with his legspin too. Mathews is not entirely sure who among these will play, but he has said there is no room to experiment and that they will pick the best line-up available.

"Obviously we have got two seniors in the team but we don't have Mahela who has been rested," Mathews said. "We got a few exciting players who played in the Pakistan series as well. Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage and Angelo Perera all have the talent to play in the eleven, but we still haven't decided on the composition.

"It's pretty straight forward, there won't be too many changes, we still believe in our best eleven regardless of the weather."

Sri Lanka boasts of one of the most aggressive opening pairs in Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Over the last three years, the duo has been the most brisk of Sri Lankan opening pairs, and Mathews doesn't want anything different.

"No one has asked him [Kusal Perera] to change the way he plays," Mathews said. "He will continue the same way he plays, simple as that. Both openers are aggressive, that's the sort of openers we want. We have got a more stable No. 3 as well in Kumar Sangakkara, to control things. We can't really ask our openers to change their style. That's the way they have been playing up to now."

Dilshan struck centuries in two of the three ODIs against Bangladesh last year, but has tapered off recently, having made just one fifty against Pakistan. He was also quiet in the two Twenty20s, so there will be expectations resting on him. As would they be on the entire team, especially due to their dominance over the hosts in all formats over the years.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hristiyan on February 17, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    @She Burgs - who the hell was talking about IPL? And why are you even mentioning T20s when we're talking about ODIs? Shakib is a better all-rounder than Mathews in the moment and an awesome player no doubt. But they both have to work on their overall game if they want to help their teams.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    You must be kidding!! Chandimal can bring a world cup??? I wonder will he stay in the team after this World Cup!! SL's T20 rank will be lost after next overseas tours. If you look at Chandimal's contribution to the T20 game, It is a shame!!! any under 19 player could do that!!! with less experience!!! Now he is a xperience player!! He gotta come out and contribute and win matches and be the man of the match. He do nothing!! He barely speak English and cannot describe anything. Sri Lanka should name Kusal Perera as T20 captain. He was not even on IPL auction as a batsman or as a T20 captain!!!! These kinda players does not worth for IPL. IPL needs people who can make a difference, who can turn the game to a winning side!!! Or turn winning opposition to a losing side. That's where the money is!!! We will see good T20 players in the coming IPL!!

  • Ziggy on February 17, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    I agree Mathews is a class batsmen, better than Sakib. He is one of my favorite players since the great aussie heist where he had a century stand with malinga a few years ago, but he is not in the same class as Sakib as an all-rounder. It would be better to compare Watson with Mathews. They are both good batsmen , but their bowling is only dibbly-dobbly at best where as Sakib would make it into any team as bowler alone, or a batter alone. Him and Hafeez are the only ones for past couple of years, even when kallis was playing as his bowling in the twilight years of his career would not merit a place in any starting XI.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    People are so quickly in to conclusion that Ashan is the man to go. He just had 2 innings. 1 half century. Chandimal after 2 innings had a century and in his first innings was not out on 10.

  • Duminda on February 17, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    As a Captain, Chandimal's tactics (bowling changes/field placing etc.) might be good. But he is not contributing in ODI's and T-20's for sure. You could be Captain, Vice Caption or a regular player, but after some time you have to perform. One cannot be in a team just because he has talents or he is captain, he has to perform period. It looks like selectors have played a smart game by selecting Chandimal as the captain in T-20 (the format he really play worse) so regardless of his performances he has to be in the team cause he is the captain. Same in ODI's cause he is the Vice Captain. Very unfair. The player who should be playing in the middle order of ODI's and T-20's team is Ashan Priyanjan instead of Chandimal. Priyanjan is a real compact player. He has a wide array of shots and also a very busy player, who can rotate strikes very well. He also can clear the boundary at his will. Very good fielder and a off spinner. Pls give him a fair chance. If so he wil be ready for the WC 2015

  • Shamalka on February 17, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    @F22R: Pls do not compare might Arjuna with Chandimal. Arjuna consistently contributed with the bat whereas Chandimal seldom scores a fifty. Work in progress? Till when we will have to wait till he progress? 2019 WC? Are you out of your mind? He's occupying the place of much more talented batsmen like Ashan Priyanjan, Kithruwan, Angelo Perera etc. He's once in 10 matches performer. Who wants that kind of a leader in the team? Perhaps he's the only non-performing Captain (T20) and V.Captain (ODIs & Tests) in the world. Just a passenger in the SL team. If I'm Chandimal, I would've dropped myself from the T20 team long ago. Shameless fellow...

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    NO, NO. Please don't. Shakib is the best allrounder around after Kallis retired. No doubt. Mathews isn't really in the best bowling form of his life now and would need to improve a lot before becoming best allrounder of Sri Lanka let alone in the world. (Kula, Thisara, are doing much bettter as all rounders.) But he is one hell of a batsman.

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    Sakib- bull- Hassan who,never heard of him

  • Dummy4 on February 17, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    @ Hasibush Shaheed - What you quoted was TEST ALL-ROUNDER RANKINGS, we are talking about ODIs here buddy..if you know the difference. Following is the top 3 ODI all-rounders. 1 Mohammad Hafeez PAK 411 2 Shakib Al Hasan BAN 376 3 A.D. Mathews SL 351

    Quantitatively Shakib's at the second stop, qualitatively he doesn't deserve to be there. Simple reason is Bangladesh has been playing low ranking teams while it is totally opposite for teams like Sri Lanka, who have been travelling Australia, South Africa, England to fight hard for victories..and how many matches has Sakeeb won for BAN against AUS or SA? That's where the quality counts.

  • Josh on February 16, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    I totally agree with F22R in that the people bashing Chandimal are totally wrong. Chandimal not only has Arjuna's swagger but he is also a fine batting prospect that is still in the making. When Chandimal comes good, then all better watch out; this boy is a really really good batsman and will some day rank among the best in every format.

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