Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Sharjah December 23, 2013

Hafeez drop was crucial, says Mathews

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said that the dropped catch off Mohammed Hafeez was just one instance of the side's poor fielding that played a big part in their 113-run loss to Pakistan in the third ODI.

Hafeez was dropped in the 19th over by Lasith Malinga at long-on off Seekkuge Prasanna's bowling. The batsman was on 26 at the time and went on to score 140 off 136 balls to guide Pakistan to 326 for 5. In reply, Sri Lanka could only muster 213.

"It [the dropped catch] was pretty crucial and Hafeez went on to get a big one. We let him go and he got them a big score and it was unfortunate," Mathews said. "We can't blame it on one man, to be honest. I thought our fielding was also a let-down. Chasing a total like 320-plus, we needed a good start but we kept losing wickets at regular intervals and we could not really get on from there."

Mathews also praised Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, who made a comeback to international cricket after nine months. Gul was picked in the playing XI for the third ODI in place of Sohail Tanvir and immediately had an impact, picking up three wickets for 19 runs in 5.4 overs, including the wickets of opener Kusal Perera and No. 3 Dimuth Karunaratne.

"We all know that Gul is a very good bowler," Mathews said. "He had been hit by injury but we know what kind of a bowler he is and we had to be a bit cautious. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of wickets to him and he got us on the back-foot early on."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq also praised Gul saying the side had missed the bowler's experience in the death overs.

"We were missing his experience in the death overs and his return has certainly boosted our bowling," Misbah said, while praising the spinners for their contributions to the win.

Hafeez, who won the Man-of-the-Match award, credited Ahmed Shehzad, saying the opener allowed him to settle down early in the innings. The pair added 160 for the second wicket in nearly 28 overs, helping Pakistan recover from the early setback of Sharjeel Khan's wicket.

"I was trying to not get bogged down. I was trying to play technical shots. Ahmed played really well, he took the pressure on and the partnership gave us momentum. The bowlers did a great job on this sort of pitch," Hafeez said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aized on December 25, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    Seriously? I'm a pakistani fan! It is not nice to blame Malinga for that drop catch! If hafeez was gonna be out on 26, then I'm sure someone else would have bin getting a ton! Its simple! Pakistan batsman and top order are in critical form! Even how if hafeez was going to be out on 26, then there would have been more overs, and more balls, (the one hafeez used were gonne be there) and pakistan would have still demolished sri lanka! Gul was the bowling star and hafeez the batting star! Just go with it Sri Lanka! If SL wanna prove them selfs better, then they still have a chance to win series! Hope that the 4th ODI is the most critical awesome tricky match for both teams! Cant wait <3 ;) good luck both teams now i just wanna see sharjerl khan an shahzad both getting tons! Hehe

  • mohammad on December 24, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    Gul set the tone to win the match. Hafiz's luck gave Pak a decent score. Without Hafiz, Pak had players to get those runs, but the ist 2 wickets of SL dented their chase,

    Shezad fined 50%. I hope this guy does not become another Umar Akmal. Fire on all cylinders and then flop, need good attitude.

  • Sugath on December 24, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    Giving excuses shows the poor leadership qualities of Mathews. You do not pick out one reason for total failure, as there was host of reasons. Dropped catch may have caused 20% contribution but in not the only reason. On field Mathews showed his poor qualities as a leader, hardly present on crucial situations to sort out issues. He seems a very poor communicator and a poor motivator. In fact Sanga could be seen trying to rev up the morale but not Mathews. What the Sri Lanka team needs is good leadership above all others. Of course time to think whether Maliga is a spent force bucause in the last few matches he is shadow of his former self. The pre-match SWAT and SPIN it appears has not been done evident from the fact the same type of field was set for all batsmen by Mathews. Kula needs to know where the wicket is and not keep trying too many tactics spray the ball all over the park. Whay not pick some other bowlers for next match. But Mathews has to lead from front or kaput for Lanka.

  • Srinath on December 24, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Agree with Riyaz Muzammil. Actually Malinga doesn't deserve a place in the team now with current form, especailly playing with India (no way as he's obliged to Mumbai Indians), Pakistan and Bangladesh. Let's give more chances to young guys to have a good future. If you go back and check Malinga's performances after IPL it's pathetic. That burden is carried by batters.

  • Android on December 24, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    Malinga should be permanently sold to an IPL team and sl should find a decent pacey who could have unpredictable variations well Tissera perera should be used on English track to bat and bowl. that simple change will give the team 100

  • Android on December 24, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    no team except pak can bowled out sl on 213 on such a flat track ....this proves their bowling attack is awesome

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    Sack the fieldining coach and batting coach as their use by day has gone. R Rodrigo

  • Android on December 23, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    A great show by the pakistan team, nice to some excelent fast bowling by gul and batsmen making good runs. keep it up team pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    we need to bat first. that's our strength recently, not chasing

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    pakistan are not great the toss bat the match.

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