Australia in Sri Lanka 2011

Batsmen lacked application - Atapattu

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

August 21, 2011

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Angelo Mathews was stumped off Xavier Doherty, Sri Lanka v Australia, 4th ODI, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, August 20, 2011
Sri Lanka's batsmen have failed to click as a unit, according to their batting coach Marvan Atapattu © AFP
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Sri Lanka's batting coach Marvan Atapattu has blamed a lack of application from the Sri Lanka batsmen for the team's poor performance in the ongoing ODI series against Australia. Australia took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series after they beat the hosts by five wickets in the fourth ODI in Colombo on August 19.

"The batting is pretty disappointing, no doubt about it," Atapattu said. "It's more to do with application [rather] than anything else. We know the potential that we have, but we have not gone all the way to show what we are made of.

"It's consistency in application that we lack. Apart from one or two batsmen, it has nothing to do with technique or anything like that. It's more to do with application."

Sri Lanka have failed to bat out their 50 overs in the three games they have lost and were bowled out for just 132 on Sunday, which disappointed Atapattu. "Being ranked No. 2 [Sri Lanka were ranked second in the ICC rankings for ODI teams at the start of the series] we should be doing much more than what we have. It is disappointing to see the personnel in the team and their performances. We look at the team and say this is one of the best batting line-ups in the world; although we are playing against the No. 1 [ODI] team, we as a batting unit believe that we are much more capable than this."

Upul Tharanga, the leading run scorer for Sri Lanka in the series so far, is the only top-order batsman for the hosts to average above 40. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have all struggled for consistency, with none of them averaging above 37. "The problem we have is that it is only the same two or three batsmen who are always contributing. The pressure on these batsmen is more. What we are trying to do is get the rest of the batsmen to also contribute."

Atapattu said that batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who was dropped from the squad after the first three ODIs, had some technical issues that needed to be resolved. "Chandimal has changed a bit since he got his last fifty in Manchester. There is nothing wrong with his hitting - he is a fantastic hitter of the ball; probably the best in the country today. He needs to fine-tune certain areas before he faces a good bowling attack like Australia's next time around."

Sri Lanka's batting line-up has undergone changes in recent times: Thilina Kandamby who was vice-captain on the England tour was dropped for the Australia series, while, along with Chandimal, allrounder Thisara Perera was dropped after the first three games against Australia. Atapattu suggested the changes were not helping but said the batsmen in the side should be delivering.

"It is the duty of the captain and me as batting coach to make the best use of the batsmen selected in the squad. There is a lack of consistency in the batting line-ups we have been given; but we don't have any control over that. The players who are in the squad should make the runs. The reason for not reaching even a total of 200 [in the fourth ODI] is because the batsmen failed to contribute.

"My personal opinion is to give as much opportunities to a player and if he doesn't perform to expectations then we will have to look at another potential player and give him similar opportunities, but we must have patience with them. If we keep on changing players from day to day we will remain in the same position always. We cannot expect to produce an Arjuna [Ranatunga], Aravinda [de Silva], Hashan [Tillakaratne] or Roshan [Mahanama] overnight - it will take some time. Until such time we have to be patient. If we don't get the expected results from the present crop of players then we will have to adopt that policy [of giving new players opportunities]."

The final ODI will be played in Colombo on Monday which will be followed by three Tests in Galle, Pallekele and Colombo.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by great on (August 22, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

This is my selection 1 dilshan 2 upul 3. chandimal 4 angelo 5 sanga 6 mahela 7 mendis/prasanna followed by bowlers.. we can change this batting order according to the situation..Sri Lankan middle order is the main reason for recent defeats.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

It was Aravinda who messed it up during the WC, which nullified our chances of winning it. Now it is the time for Mendis to screw it up. Sri Lanka is the only country to go with 4 specialist batmen in the team. In contrast Australia has 7 batsmen. Batting is the failure, but you change the bowling attack. Hilarious. Once the top 2 goes early, Sanga & Mahela bat with lot of pressure hiding their strokes to avoid any collapses because there is nothing much to follow. Getting the batting order correct with at least 6 specialist batsmen (not bits & pieces players), 4 specialist bowlers with an all rounder (with Dilshan, you will have 6 bowlers), then you will start winning.

Posted by hyclass on (August 22, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

I think youve hit the nail on the head @RandyOz...a number of the dismissals i saw would shame park cricketers. I have no doubt,that 20/20 is creating the panicked batting i saw and clouding what constitutes good or bad bowling. Changing formats is not just a technical issue.Theres an emotional change in how to approach each delivery.Scoreless deliveries are dynamite for batting sides in 20/20. There is also little in the way of shape to each innings ,relying more on who lucks in on the day.In ODI innings, not scoring many off a dangerous bowler can be part of the game plan,or milking only 4 an over in the middle overs to maintain momentum and keep wickets in hand. It far more replicates test match cricket.There is an ideal pace to each ODI innings,based on the pitch and the opposition.This varies a little and scores of anywhere between 230 and 300 can be competitive. I think that SL are struggling to come to terms with the format transition and im confident they arent the only ones.

Posted by Happy_AusBang on (August 22, 2011, 7:18 GMT)

This is what happens when you hype up people who are not yet fully ready. Matthews is a promising player and should be treated as such. Instead they were hyping him up as "key player" "potential captain" and so forth. What does he do? He tries to be a hero and does an "Afridi". If SL are not careful he will become the Afridi of SL, i.e so much promise, so little to show for it except for ads on TV.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2011, 7:04 GMT)

Tough loss for Sri Lanka. Australia is showing us all how good they are. They are still #1 and they belong there. They are tough and disciplined as always. Sri Lanka can be competitive if they can put a descent score on the board to which they are very capable. Yes a huge dependency on the top 4 to contribute. I have always liked Samaweera as steadying influence in the middle order if they will only pick him, and Mathews is no doubt a superstar in the making. Let's not start the big blame game folks. Instead let's just say well done to Australia and maybe we can give them better challenge next time. Remember that we did beat Australia in the last ODI series in their home turf, so it can be done!

Posted by RanjitW on (August 22, 2011, 6:59 GMT)

I disagree with Atapattu ! We do not have a strong batting line up ! It is quite clear that SL batsmen were clueless against the the Aussie fast bowlerswho manhandled the Sri Lankan batsmen. Expecially Bollinger sent a bouncer at the body scaring the SL batsmen and with the next ball took the wicket. So it is the lack of experience how to face fast bouncers. If SLfst bowlers cannot boel bouncers get a machine that cn do and train them to get out of that fear.Then we have a strong batting team.

Posted by Ameega on (August 22, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

@Meety: Agreed mate. True, some extreme SL fans thought they could end up with a 5-0, but they were very minority. In one of my previous comments after 3 ODI, I clearly mentioned that SL need to level the series before Aussies come back to their form. Unfortunately (for me and for other SL fans), Aussies gained the form the first over of the 4th ODI. @Willow25; as Dasith Sean correctly said, it was not SL fans rated SL as the favorites. Nobody expected 5-0 whitewash in favor of SL, but most predicted SL winning the series (I guess it was still reasonable after 2-0 result in T20s). SL team or fans never (or very rarely) used to condemn opponents before start of any series. I can recall how punter predicted a whitewash in favour of Aussies before being thrashed by England last summer. I am disappointed of the way SL batted in all 4 ODIs (including the one they won), but not hopeless for a come back. Best of luck for both teams, and expecting a nail biter for the first time in this tour

Posted by kothumalli11 on (August 22, 2011, 6:29 GMT)

Dear Selectors, Pls keep Chamara in for today's ODI as well. He is a wonderful batsman, got great technique and one of the popular (failed) batsmen in international cricket scene now. Like you, all the other international teams and their fans love to see him included in the SL playing 11.Keep up the good work and contribute Australia making 4-1 in this series.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (August 22, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Biggest mistake of selectors is Chamara Silva.... What happened to Samaraweera? He was a great batsman, and to all those that think he is slow, there have been many games where he hits in the end and his SR has gone close to 100. In the WC against Australia before it rained, the batting lineup also disintegrated, but Sanga and Samaraweera were the only two that stood and they built a huge partnership that would have definetely tallied (if it did not rain) at least 250 runs. Besides the point, I'm waiting for the Tests to start. These day/night matches do not work for a person in the US..... Game starts at 2 AM over here... when the tests start, it will be 9:00 PM..... which is a lot more manageable

Posted by stormy16 on (August 22, 2011, 5:38 GMT)

Total failure by the SL batters and lack of application is a fair call even from a guy like Sanga who twice threw his wicket after getting starts. Dilshan has scrathced around but that middle order remains a mess and amazingly Chamara Silva who was part of the original problem is still there and looks no better. Worse still is thety drop Chandimal who I thought was a answer to the problem and surely did enough to be ahead of Chamara. We are also missing just how good the Aussies have been on all fronts. The fast bowlers have bowled with skill and pace and the spinners have done enough - well better than the SL spinners at this stage.

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