Back to the drawing board for Dilshan
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, has asked his batsmen to take responsibility and arrest their worrying slide, after his team shuddered to a 4-1 defeat in the ODI series against Pakistan.
"I can still take positives, especially from the bowling unit - who did a great job throughout the series," Dilshan said, after the loss in the fifth ODI in Abu Dhabi. "[However], we must be worried about the batting as most of the batsmen didn't click. We played seven batsmen, but in every match only two or three were performing and the rest were failing. So there are some areas of concern that we have to sit down to discuss. Everyone has to take responsibility before going to South Africa."
While the one-sided scoreline suggests otherwise, Sri Lanka were in strong positions in a couple of games that they went on to lose. Dilshan admitted the inability to close out matches from winning positions cost his side. "The third and fourth ODIs, we should have won easy. At some stages we were going very well, but we didn't finish and hence lost the series. Otherwise we would have won the series 3-2."
Dilshan has endured a horror run with the bat since taking over as the full-time captain, but brushed aside the general impression that captaincy was denting his own form. "I took over the captaincy in England series and got good runs," he said. "Unfortunately, I broke my finger and after then I didn't play enough. After the injury I am lacking in confidence and form. But I know I am good and I can get runs. I want to go back to Sri Lanka work on few areas to get back my form."
Sri Lanka lost the Test series 1-0 prior to the ODI defeat against Pakistan. Their next assignment is in South Africa, where they are yet to register a Test win, and have generally struggled over the years.
"We have three weeks before the next tour starts," Dilshan said. "I think the batting group should be working on some area. It's better that we can go back to the Sri lankan domestic season and every one can play at least two-three matches to get the form. Everyone knows there are mistakes, and they can correct them quickly before going to South Africa - that is on the mind at the moment."
Dilshan further described Pakistan as a better side than his own. "They have more good players, with more options on the bench. They have seven bowlers out of whom, most can bat as well. So they are not a bad side, they are a good ODI side and in Tests as well."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent