ICC Champions Trophy 2013 May 28, 2013

Adjusting to conditions a challenge - Mathews

ESPNcricinfo staff

Angelo Mathews brushed off suggestions that Sri Lanka have arrived in England without adequate preparation, but identified his side's batting as the area requiring most attention, as they build up to the Champions Trophy with three warm-up matches at Edgbaston.

"There has been a little bit of doubt; people kept saying that the boys are in India and they haven't had good preparation," Mathews said. "But I want to write it off because we are professionals and we need to get prepared for this kind of tournament because it's a huge event for everyone, personally and as a team. So I think we've done our preparation as a team and individually."

Mathews backed his senior batsmen, like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who failed to perform in the IPL; Sangakkara, in fact, was left out of the playing XI for the second half of the IPL. They were also unable to return to Sri Lanka to train with the remainder of the squad, despite a written request to the BCCI from Sri Lanka Cricket.

"I think the senior batsmen have been world class for us. It's not even a concern when it comes to a tournament like this because they've been here, they've done it, and I have the confidence in them." he said "I'm really proud to have these guys in my team because I can get a lot of information and help."

Nine of Sri Lanka's probable first XI arrived in Sri Lanka piecemeal over the last two weeks. They will now attempt to transition from the slow, turning pitches in the India to conditions better suiting fast bowlers in England, in just over a week.

Those who did not travel to India however, played in a practice tournament in Pallekele, which sought to ready Sri Lanka for English conditions by attempting to recreate the seaming pitches they might encounter there

"We've been playing in low [and] slow conditions and very hot and humid conditions in the past couple months. I think trying to adjust to the conditions is going to be the main challenge." said Mathews. "Especially early summer is always going to be like this; wet, and it's going to swing and seam. I think that's our main challenge as batters especially,"

He believed his bowlers would have an easier time adjusting, citing both their experience and their propensity to excel in swinging conditions. Sri Lanka drew an ODI series with Australia in January, where Nuwan Kulasekara, in particular, extracted substantial movement to trouble batsmen, while Thisara Perera and Mathews are also capable of moving the ball off the pitch to good effect.

"I think the bowlers have got the firepower. We haven't got the pace, but we know how to go in these conditions. In one group guys like Lasith Malinga, Perera have got that firepower. Malinga and Kulasekara, have been our strike bowlers the past three or four years, so we bank on them."

Sri Lanka have been one of the most consistent sides in major tournaments, making four ICC finals and a semi-final in the last six years. Mathews could not put his finger on why they have been unable to convert those chances, but was hopeful of maintaining their impressive run in major events.

"Most teams won't be complacent with us, but I think our past consistency is just a platform, because we need to raise the bar a bit. We've done pretty well on the big stage, and it's just that I can't really point out what went wrong in the finals and semi-finals, but we are hoping to better those performances But I think for now, as a team, we just want to make the maximum out of the first 10 days in England."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mike on May 30, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    Sri Lanka are an ordinary team. Its not like their seniors are getting any younger or something :)

  • Lalith on May 29, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    I guess 7 teams would loose the cup in this tournament.

  • Lalith on May 29, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Mathews is still trying to adjust to the roll of captaincy. Would he play from the Bench like in IPL????

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Just forget about what happened in India, Make hay while the sun shines. ICC is a better challenge boys. Good luck , inshah allah

  • Dimuthu on May 28, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    Sri Lanka always seem to step up and then trip on their own feet at the finals! It's such a rollercoaster ride being a fan! Hopefully the IPL fun and frolic has left their mind now, and it's time for some serious ODI cricket. It's no test cricket, but the next best thing. Cummon Lions! I will be at the Oval cheering you against the English. Finally win a trophy and lay the ghosts of 1996 to rest!

  • Sarah on May 28, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    @Jadejafan ; Huh. ha.. So, deep down you know that Sri Lanka are a serious contender for the trophy. That's why you said "if they get thru" . lol Thanks man. But I can assure you for 100% that India will not make it the semis. good luck !

  • Prashan on May 28, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    @Jadejafan, I agree that our recent record against India is awful. But please remember that we have a good ODI record against England in England winning 7 out of the last 10 ODIs. Forgot how we won 5-0 in 2006? Also, remember that our recent ODI record against Aussies in Australia has been impressive too. No way can an ordinary team get Aussies all out for 74. Too early to make predictions really.

  • Suss on May 28, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    @Jadejafan: Yer maybe in Indian slow low turning wickets but in faster/seamer friendly conditions India are not that great. Remember the CB series last year mate? Don't forget the seaming pitch at hambantota last year too. If young players like Chandimal, Thirimanne and Kushal can get runs for SL in this tournament, then Sri lanka could be a major threat to other teams.

  • Mike on May 28, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    Sri Lanka are an ordinary team now and have no chance to win this trophy given the strength of the others. Even if they do get through, our Indian team will make sure again that they keep on losing to us again and again good luck!

  • ttn on May 28, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Wish Kasun Madushanka is given a chance, he is like Anderson-Mcgrath bowler and bowls +135 kmph. Has sharp seam movement.Has the best stats for a sri lankan pacer in slow and low conditions in SL. Thissara has improved a lot during the IPL. Reminds me of pollock. his stay with Steyn and Waqar helped him a lot. Now he is more aggressive and finding the block hole very well with his reverse in in and out swing. His 5 run over vs a hodge and yorker to Hussey.was the highlight for me N Pradeep is another good bowler.sometimes i feel he is unlucky. seen him bowl +150kmph and some real jaffas. Eranga is good as well. Reminds me of Umar Gul. He has pace and bounce and skid. FInds swing and seam both ways. Went to AUS and broke a few helmets.

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