West Indies v Sri Lanka, tri-series, Port-of-Spain July 9, 2013

Sri Lanka's character pleases Mathews

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka overcame adverse playing conditions and a poor start on the first day of their rain-affected ODI against West Indies to achieve a victory that has all but put them in the final of the tri-series, a result the captain Angelo Mathews said had proved the character of his side.

Play was abandoned on Sunday with Sri Lanka 60 for 3 in 19 overs. They had to restart their innings, which was reduced to 41 overs, on Monday knowing that anything less than a strong batting performance would hurt them under the D/L method. Under Kumar Sangakkara's guidance, Sri Lanka made 159 in 22 overs.

"We had a team talk, and we needed to get runs. Especially with D/L, batting first is a disadvantage," Mathews said. "It is tough to play around rain delays batting first. We had to get the runs, and I am glad that we got the runs.

"Very pleased with the boys. They showed a lot of character. Especially on the first day. I thought Sangakkara batted brilliantly, he held the innings together."

Sangakkara batted through the innings, converting a cautious start on Sunday into an unbeaten 90 off 95 balls on the reserve day. He helped Sri Lanka take 72 runs off the last six overs. "I think the wicket was quite spongy. There was a slow high bounce. It needed patience at the start and slogging at the end," Sangakkara said. "If you hang in there, with the new rules, and the wicket getting better, you can get the runs.

"The real decision is, when the going is tough, are you going to absorb the pressure or are you going to attack? Batting first, you can absorb the pressure and then catch up in the end. If you have wickets in hand, the advantage is with you. On tough wickets like this, being there in the end helps."

Sri Lanka were aided by a West Indies bowling performance that was poor compared to the effort on the first day of the game. Apart from their inability to contain the batsmen, West Indies' bowlers conceded 31 runs in extras, 24 of which were in wides.

"We undid the work we did yesterday. It wasn't right on our part. When you set plans, you have to bowl the plans. We were all over the shop," their stand-in captain Kieron Pollard said. "If we are honest with ourselves, our bowling was not up to the mark. Thirty-one extras is totally unacceptable."

The batting also let the home side down. Chasing a revised target of 230 in 41 overs, West Indies slumped to 31 for 4 in the ninth over. Devon Smith made a 14-ball duck. The innings was stabilized by Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons, who made half-centuries, but after that stand another collapse followed and five wickets fell for 23 runs.

"Bravo and Simmons brought us back, but if we are totally honest with ourselves, myself included, we haven't batted well," Pollard said. "We always put ourselves in these situations. As cricketers, we need to find a way out. It should not have come down to this."

West Indies now depend on Sri Lanka beating India in the final league game on Tuesday in order to make the final of the tri-series.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kepili on July 10, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    When the Rain came for the aid of India, they were tottering at 119 losing 3 wickets (cream of their batting back in the shed), managing just a fragile RR of 4.1 RR (despite having the comfort of dry outfield & less moisture to boost the seaming ball PLUS THE SALVAGE OF FACING MINIMUM NUMBER OF OVS TO MOST EFFECTIVE SL STRIKE BOWLERS KEPT TO BE UTILIZED IN ANTICIPATED LATER OVs!). Anyone who watched the match would know the visible body-language of Indian players at that stage. Despite all these advantages & caution India already lost all 3 of their best bats for119 r in 29 overs, managing a tiny RR of 4.01. My question is what logic goes into this stupid DL system to justify a Raised RR of 6.84 (asking to score 179 by adding unbelievable 60 runs to the score India hardly managed with all those advantages)? Assuming that remained 21 ov India's rest would have achieved a much higher RR than they did with their best on that pitch, is like expecting a coverdrive from an American BB play

  • manjula on July 9, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Good game SL. As I said before Mathews seems to be a good captain. But he lost his contribution as a player little. His performance was good in last WI game. With experience he will see through.

  • James on July 9, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Mathews is definitely a must in the team for his allround abilities, but till now nothing to show that he is captaincy material. I hope the selectors don't ruin the player in the hope for finding the captain. Among the problems of finding an alternative captain is that most of the younger guys - apart from maybe Kulasekhara are not certainties in the team. Lets hope that some future captain develops in the next one year so that Mathews can contribute as a star player.

  • Shamalka on July 9, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    I don't know what Mathews is doing in this team? He has just scored 129 runs (3rd highest for a SL batsman in this tournament) in this series with an average 129.00 at a strike rate of 96.99 and taking 5 wickets (most for a SL bowler in this tournament) with a best figures of 4/29 at an average of 16.00 with a 3.80 Econ and lead the country to the finals of this tri-series after leading it to CT Semi-Finals. He hasn't done enough at his young age to prove his value to the team. He should take examples from extra-ordinary talents like Chandimal if he needs to protect his position in the team. Pulling matches into SL favor and winning them single-handedly in past tournaments - we don't remember. If he can't score a hundred in every other match or cannot take 5 wicket hauls in every other game, please give the captaincy to a great player like Chandimal and look for another job out of cricket.

  • Asanka Sharmal on July 9, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Mathews getting back to what he used to be. He should be given a long run to prove his capabilities as a skipper. It will do a world of good tha SL has no other choice. SL need to identify good players and persist. SL cannot do what India / Australia are doing. If a player is good and the attitude is good should be persisted. Hope the local media understands this without bickerng as they were doing for Mathews.

  • Pad on July 9, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    I can definitely see Mathews is learning the art of captaincy the hard way.. he had failures... with SL as well as with Pune warriors... but just seem to be having the guts to be a leader and make bold decisions. You can expect a better grooming ground in the shodows of Mahela and Sanga!! It takes a rough sea to make great captain!!

  • Imalka on July 9, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Well Played Sri Lanka..! Wonderful Cricket match...!

  • Vishwaksena on July 9, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    gud performance by srilanka..shows picking wickets helps u win matches..the first 10 overs were a major blow to westindies . Matthews showed what he is capable of by scoring runs quikly & picking wickets at important times . He is a fine-allrounder & the man who sl depend on heavily in both departments .

  • No featured comments at the moment.