England v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Old Trafford July 9, 2011

Dilshan buoyed by youngsters' performance


This tour of England has been a case of so near yet so far for Sri Lanka. A Test series lost in one manic session at Cardiff was followed by a one-day series defeat after they had two chances to clinch the trophy.

Sri Lanka understood before arriving that it would be tough to compete in the Tests, but the limited-overs matches offered a serious chance of silverware, as had been the case in 2006 when they won the one-day series 5-0. The limited-overs leg of the tour started promisingly with the Twenty20 victory and when they recorded back-to-back ODI victories at Headingley and Lord's the momentum was with them.

However, a juicy pitch and a crucial toss did them in at Trent Bridge and then they couldn't make the most of conditions that should have suited them at Old Trafford, where the pitch turned and lacked pace.

"In the last two months we've played some good cricket," Tillakaratne Dilshan said after the Old Trafford game. "We lost the Test series in one hour and again in this one-day series we lost three matches in about the first six overs of our batting. I think we can be a much better side than that.

"I have no complaints but we played some good cricket. We started badly but we restricted them to 260 and we were in trouble again at 29 for 3 but we came back from it. [Dinesh] Chandimal batted very well to put pressure back on England, but sadly we came out as the losing side."

It has been performances from the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, who followed his Lord's hundred with 54 at Old Trafford, Angelo Mathews, who showcased his talent with 62 in the deciding match, and Suraj Randiv, who took five wickets at Old Trafford, that have given Dilshan cause for optimism.

"We had a big issue in the last three or four years with the middle order not doing well for Sri Lanka," he said. "The top order was always getting runs but now we have more confidence in the middle order and that is good for the future. We can look forward to the upcoming series [against Australia] with these youngsters."

While Mathews was at the crease Sri Lanka had every hope of dragging themselves over the line. His most famous innings is the unbeaten 77 against Australia, at Brisbane, which carried them to a one-wicket win after they has slumped to 107 for 8 chasing 240.

"He has shown in the past he can finish matches, like in Australia, and we had a belief they could finish the game," Dilshan said. "When Jeevan [Mendis] was there we believed we had a chance and even at the end, too."

However, at the vital time the contributions of Mahela Jayawardene tailed off after his innings of 144 and 79 earlier in the series which, coupled with Dilshan's horrid trot where he made 17 runs in five innings, left a lot on the shoulders of Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka shuffled the batting order for the final match with Jayawardene moving back down to No. 4 to allow debutant Dimuth Karunaratne to open with Dilshan but the visitors were soon 12 for 2 when Karunaratne was caught at slip and Dilshan hooked to long leg.

"Dimuth is an opening batsman and we needed to give him a chance and he's scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket," Dilshan explained. "Also we wanted the left-hand right-hand combination and if he'd got some runs today it might have been a different story in the series. As a captain I didn't get any runs and I'm really disappointed with that."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 3rd_man on July 12, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    well played chandimal. also I thought mendis played really well. with bat and ball and also grate in the field. exiting young talent coming to the team. I would love to see Bhanuka join to the team soon. he seems to be class act. now problem would be most of those young players are top order batsman. now mahela wants to bat at the top, things bringing them could be tough. I think Thanranga should be in the ODI team very soon when his ban over. my personal view is sanga and mahela should bat middle order to allow youngsters bat freely. then they will get confidence. otherwise once these experience players fails they will be under pressure and more likely to fail.

  • Test-is-the-best on July 12, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    Kapugedara can be tested as a top order batsmen with Mahela since Tharanga would not be available for the next series....Even Dilshan, Jayasuriya has not made any impressive knocks at the Early stage of the career at Middle order. He is a clean hitter of the ball.Would be better to use when the ball is new .. SL made a mistake by using him at the middle order.Dilshan could be at No 3, Sanga 4 .Chandimal 5, Maththews 6, Jeevan 7 .. SL fast bowling department has underperformed in the England series. Need to reconsider about their Fast bowling coach..

  • tvumpire.com on July 12, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    @Sadjidh Omar. Eng too were not able to win that match, is n't it?? That means they are equal. And India lost only 1 match (against SA). Whats your teams status???

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    ohhhh man.....all thz indians have gt da reason dat SL won with ENG , NZ and IND won AUS nd PAK...hw stupid of them 2 have reasons like dat.....then y did IND drew with ENG .......y couldnt they win...if ENG were able draw da match they were also a good team....then y thez people say dat SL won with teams like ENG and NZ...and also ENG won with SA in da WC........thez people think dat india is da best team ,which is stupid and tryin 2 mak teams like ENG cheap

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    Hello to all the Sri lankans out there who have not really figured out what I was saying. I will try & explain it to you and hopefully you will "get it" this time. Winning and losing is in the mind. With India we believe we always have a chance of winning. In South Africa, we were expected by fans from your country and the other neighbors to be thrashed. We all know the end result. In West indies, we won all the silverware. Could it have been 2-0? Offcourse.You folks need to do is find out how many overs were lost due to rain and you will get your answer. Now you folks are desperately hoping, India will get thrashed in England. The answer is simple, whatever we do, we will be competitive. At no point in my paragraph,I said INDIA will win everything. All I said was, Winners win in the present and are cautious about the future. We do not go around giving excuses like we bowled second,Malinga could'nt grip the ball, Mahela should've opened, the sun should'nt have set...blah blah

  • dummy4fb on July 11, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Dilshan's cracking starts was missing in this series............Chandimal is having a great future ahead if he continues like this..................Bad Luck SL !! Well played Eng !! really it was anybody's game .....dilshan must lern from chandimal and mathews , only action bud didint show anithing in this one day seris,

  • marlondias on July 11, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    Here is a good team that should play till the next world cup to really win it in Australia. Also Dilshan must adapt a more attacking fielding set with the following permanent & replacement players.Permanent players in batting order:2 openers:Tharanga & Chandimal,3:Sanga,4:Mahela,5:Dilshan,6:Mathews,:7 an 18/19 Year old talented batting allrounder orJeewan Mendis depending on ground conditions,8:Thisara Perera,9:Randhiv,10:Malinga,11:A young talented fast bowler for fastwickets orAjantha for slowerwickets.Other replacement players must be always young 18 -22 year old players. So these young players will take over as regulars after the next world cup.With the above batting order SL will have a strong middle order and a very dangerous bowling attack.SL selectors should stop bringing new players over 24 years old as our club competition is very weaker than the west.New comers over24 years should only play if they are true match winners.Can selectors see these simple facts before politics?

  • Sakthiivel on July 11, 2011, 12:12 GMT

    This is crazy out here. Why you SL fan doesnt give the credit to Winning team, Just keep on telling, Mathews must be captain instead of dilshan,murali injured in WC final,paranavitha better than dimuth. Always telling excuse for loss. Accepting loss doesnt means that you fail. You will win one day.

  • SudharsanVM on July 11, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    The real fact is SL found players for their vacant middle order. previously kapugdra and silva were wasting thier chances. now they have chndiml, mthws and mendis for spots 5-7. With tharanga back, its look like really a formidable batting lineup. with randiv and kula can bat, the tail can contribute at times. In bowling front malinga, randiv mathews Jmendis, kula+1 more bowler can be handy and they have good variety also. Its just that ENG got better on the particluar day. But anyhow they lost 4 wickets in 5 balls towards the end in 5th ODI is not accepatcble.

  • WaldermaltCricketer on July 11, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    @ Hasitha Jayanath Wickramasinghe, you are very correct.. India got a very good ground support in the final & they were struggling when they bowled second. They lost to SA, & ENG managed to level the score as India only depends on their batsmen even in the home. Their bowlers were not up to standard in the WC. They won the final cuz they were lucky to meet SL in the final with injured Murali who contributes half of talents & without young talented player MATHEWS. Although in the home India didn't play an outstanding final match in WC. But we don't say they won just cuz of luck not with Talents. But Indian fans should not insult teams like SL just because They won the WC. India is not the only team to win the WC. Yes they have won at & away home. But other countries are also playing same CRICKET. Any country can win & lose. That's common to every & each team.AUS won three times in a row & lost in 2011. Who can say India will win every match in future cuz they won the WC. this is funny..

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