England v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Chester-le-Street May 24, 2014

Atapattu backs Sri Lanka's fighting spirit

Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka's interim coach, has backed his team to come out firing in the second one-day international against England as they attempt to level the series.

They lost by 81 runs in a truncated match at The Oval and the forecast suggests weather may have a say on Sunday as well, but regardless of the duration of the contest Atapattu believes the early setback could bring out the best in Sri Lanka.

"History will tell you that if these guys are pushed to the wall they come out with all big guns blazing." Atapattu said. "Even in that World T20 game against New Zealand where we had to win, the way that we played showed the character of the team. They play with a lot of pride each one comes with a big reputation that helps the team spirit. We derive the results that we want to have. Those kinds of things drive the team forward."

The loss at The Oval was Sri Lanka's first ODI defeat for the year after a run of nine consecutive wins. Angelo Mathews pulled no punches after the match, assessing it as a poor performance throughout, and Atapattu sounded a similar note.

"Our execution on the field was nowhere close to our best. We are a good team that finishes innings which is one of our strengths. It was one of those days when our bowling didn't come right we must make sure it does not happen again," he said. "We have been doing so well in the two shorter formats been brilliant on the field and batted well which have been our strong points, but on Thursday it was a different scenario."

The two areas where Sri Lanka lost significantly were during the Chris Jordan blitz when he blasted 38 runs off 13 balls and when they lost Tillakaratne Dilshan soon after the final break for rain which reduced the chase to 32 overs.

"They batted extremely well and for Jordan to get 38 off 13 balls was remarkable. He got the measure of the two bowlers [Malinga and Kulasekara]," Atapattu said. "We shouldn't forget that although it was a 50-over game it ended up as a 32-over affair. In shorter games this could happen. If somebody has a good day the game could shift very soon within a few minutes. The momentum shifted towards England.

"Losing Dilshan at a crucial juncture straight after the break for rain was the other setback. Dilshan and Mahela were going really well at the time when rain disrupted play. Then straight after the break Dilshan got out caught at third man. If he had gone a bit longer, another eight to ten overs, we would have had a good platform to launch. We missed that."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    Marven has not picked right today, need a good opener, surely not thirimanne. Should go with Kusal or Vitanage. And for gods sake wheres Perera?

  • Rupert on May 25, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    SL certainly can bounce back with a vengeance as Marvan says but England might just make it 2 zero here. Rain is forecast (Always SL's bane) and SL have made a gaff in dropping Tissera Perera, a player who can turn around a match on his day. Kusal Perera, always a high risk dynamo should also have played. He is the only batsmen in SL who can give them a hurricane start.

  • Sage on May 25, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    I totally agree with Marvan here. SL will bounce back with vengeance they are known to that. But there is no room for complacency. I understand weather is a major factor and agree with the comment which Herath-UK has made. Hopefully England will give more summer months in the future. Since 2006 SL has done well against England and I'm sure they will perform really well soon. All I can say is SL gave the 1st ODI to England on a silver platter. It will be very important to see how Chris Jordan is going to perform in the 2nd ODI. Is he for real or just exploited condition during the 1st ODI? I also like Alex Hales being part of the ODI squad for England. No doubt it's going to be a very good contest and in the end perseverance will prevail. I was bit surprised as for why Kusal Perera did not play...SL should have an ad-hoc plan to conquer former coach as he would be well aware of SL's strength and weaknesses. I know SL will do well as they are very humble in defeat as well in victory.

  • Angad on May 25, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Can't draw any conclusions from one bad game. True, SL has built reputation of bouncing back. First couple of international games coming straight from Asia is always tough, especially in England at this time, when summer hasn't even started and the wickets are still fresh. Anyway, we know of SL's strength in the shorter format. I'm sure they will be a bit more clinical and organised with their execution in the next game. Look forward to it.

  • Prashan on May 25, 2014, 2:04 GMT

    Absolutely true Marvan! Look at our 2011 tour of England where we lost the 1st ODI but won the 2nd and 3rd. Look at our Australia tour last year where we lost the 1st ODI but won the 2nd and 3rd. Look at the series against Pakistan in UAE where we lost the 1st ODI but won the 2nd ODI. Go back to Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka in 2012 where we lost the 1st ODI but won the 2nd ODI. So history shows that if Sri Lanka loses the 1st ODI, there is a tendency to come hard to win the 2nd. Against SA, in 2012 tour we lost the 1st ODI badly but came close to winning the 2nd ODI but just missed.

    As we had to see anyway an end to our winning streak of 10 consecutive ODI wins, it happened on Thursday. Hope our bowlers and batsmen succeed today. Kusal Perera might be good to play today as he will be determined to make mends for his failures in England.

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 0:21 GMT

    Sri Lankans always come back fighting when they are pushed to the wall. I could very well remember the "Great Escape" in 2006 tour of England, when they were made to follow on 359 runs behind early on the third day of first test match. We batted 199 overs scoring 500+ runs with 6 half centuries and an epic hundred by Mahela. Even in shorter form there had been many such comebacks. Important lesson to be learned from last game is to bat first if we win the toss. All the best Lions!!

  • Ranil on May 24, 2014, 20:38 GMT

    Sri Lanka should not lose heart with this weather affected pitch results as no other visiting team would do better. Only way is all the visiting teams to negotiate with the ECB to push the series more towards the summer in the future.

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