Sri Lanka v South Africa, 1st Twenty20, Colombo August 3, 2013

'Nothing in pitch warranted scores that low' - Chandimal

A succession of rash strokes and an inability to handle pressure brought Sri Lanka's downfall in the first Twenty20 in Colombo, captain Dinesh Chandimal has said. Having restricted South Africa to 115 for 6, Sri Lanka mustered only 103 for 9 in their 20 overs, on a surface that presented no great obstacle for scoring runs.

Sri Lanka had been 72 for 3 in the 14th over, but lost six wickets for 23 runs thereafter in which time they used up 32 balls. Kumar Sangakkara hit 59 off 53 and remained unbeaten at the close, but no other batsman in his company managed double figures.

"There was nothing in the pitch that warranted scores that low," Chandimal said. "The bowlers on both teams bowled very well, and for us, our batsmen we just didn't play to the situation. Early on we lost two or three wickets and then played some rash shots. We played some really good cricket in the first half, but we didn't have anyone to support Sangakkara. Not even one batsman stayed with him."

Chandimal said Sri Lanka had planned to use this series strategically, as they looked to build a Twenty20 side for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next year. As a result Sri Lanka's most successful Twenty20 batsman, Mahela Jayawardene, did not play in this match, despite being available. The series moves to Hambantota for two matches now, and despite the failure in Colombo, Sri Lanka may not play their best XI there either.

"We are giving the young players a chance in this series, because it's the best chance to test our young players looking ahead to the World Twenty20 in five months' time. Most probably, even in the next two matches, only two of our experienced players will take the field, so that we can give that place to a young player. The senior players can come into any match and perform, because they have that experience. We took that decision with the management and selection committee."

Chandimal's promotion to No. 3 had also been made with development in mind. Sangakkara usually occupies the first-drop position across all formats, but was displaced to No. 4 against South Africa.

"In the last ODI Lahiru Thirimanne had the chance to bat at three. In the ODIs, I didn't get a chance to bat very much so that's why I batted at three today. I'm also a No. 3 or 4 batsman and there was a plan to get some experience in the top order for the young players. Kumar is batting very well, so his game wouldn't be affected. I accept though, that I didn't bat well."

Thirimanne's place in the Twenty20 side has also come under scrutiny, after he contributed a nine-ball five, and was caught on the fence attempting to hit out. The harder-hitting Angelo Perera would appear to be the better option for Sri Lanka in Twenty20s, but could not find a place in the side, although he is in the squad.

"In some T20 matches Thirimanne bats really well. We also have to look at the future of Sri Lanka cricket. Thirimanne, Kusal Perera and myself can get experience and take Sri Lanka cricket forward. So it's up to us to figure out how to learn quickly and perform well. We're doing our best to do that. Angelo Perera is a really good Twenty20 batsman as well, and in the future we'll have to see what our plans are and what our changes and combination will be."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on August 4, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    SL should not be the T20 no 1 Rank team. Tissara should open T20 to see how he goes. Give him in the remaining 2 matches.

  • Chatty on August 3, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    I totally disagree with the idea that Chandimal batted at No 3 because Thirimanna batted at #3 in the one dayers. That does not make any sense. Thiri is much more suited to the #3 spot than Chandimal. If Chandimal must bat high, then he should open with Dilshan. Alternatively, drop Thirimanna from the T20 team. But they may not want to do that because he is going to be a key player in the future. Kusal does not seem able to cope at the top, at least not yet. I have no idea what Jeevan is doing in the team. Thisara should get enough time to get in and hit the big shots. Expecting him to do miracles all the time is plain silly.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    first of all Chandimal better score some runs in the next to T20's or he's the first one to go

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    I can't understand what Chandimal is saying. Are we preparing a side for T20 World Cup? Our youngsters are totally irresponsible. Look at how Mathews is batting? How many matches has he played? Still not improved. Sri Lankan youngsters desperately need a good mentor. Can I apply?

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Let's open with Thisara in T20 and see and let Kusal bat at where Thisara bats if you want him to be in the playing 11. To me he should be dropped for some time to learn a lesson.

  • Syed on August 3, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Well and good, we got to build a team for the future as the seniors may retire sooner or later, but I really wonder whether the selectors are getting about in the right manner. eg. Thirimanne, has this lethargic type of body language, wonder whether he suits the 20/20 format. May be for the tests. If you think that Kusal Perera is the next Jayasuriya, they've got it all wrong. This guy is all at sea for fast bowlers, his technique is pathetically abysmal. Chandimal the young captain needs to think, think and apply himself, he has not worked out the faults in his technique. I know they need more time to work things out, but does time wait for them....?

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    Thirimana & Jeewan should not be in T20 X1. Give chance to Angelo Perera & Kule should get a chance. Dilshan to get a rest & replace Mahela.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    Once again younger SL players showed that they cannot even play a good supporting role to a senior player who was fighting a lone battle. Mahela should have played considering this is the first match of the T20 series. Chandimal has not proved that he can be in T20 line up based on merit. He could not find a place in the XI in the last World T20. But suddenly after Mahela stepped down he was made T20 captain. Kusal should be dropped. He was imitating Sanath Jayasuriya against that lowly placed Bangladesh. When confronted with quality bowling he has no answer. Not only he lacks technical ability but temperament as well. For any batsman batting position should not be a hindrance for not being able to contribute in a T20 game. In such a short fast paced game a batsman should be adaptive to bat at any position. This applies to Thirimanne. It is hard to comprehend what role Jeevan Mendis is playing in the team.

  • Dummy4 on August 3, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    SL youngsters are: 1) don't play according to the current situation of the match 2) don't handle the pressure, make it worse

    Thats why we lost most of resent matches. They should try to make good partnership, that I didn't see from youngsters resently

  • No featured comments at the moment.