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Mathews puts the blame on bowlers

Angelo Mathews refused to put Sri Lanka's first-ever loss to Bangladesh on home soil down to conditions, and blamed his side's bowling instead

Lasith Malinga appeals, Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 3rd ODI, Pallekele, March 28, 2013

Lasith Malinga and Sachithra Senanayake were the only two Sri Lankan bowlers with an economy rate of less than six  •  AFP

Angelo Mathews refused to put Sri Lanka's first-ever loss to Bangladesh on home soil down to conditions, and blamed his side's bowling instead. Bangladesh got off to a rapid start in their response to Sri Lanka's 302, before rain forced an almost three-hour delay in play.
Sri Lanka contended with a wet ball for the remainder of the curtailed match, but Mathews said his side's bowling had been a concern throughout the series, and they should have walked away with a series win. Only Sachithra Senanayake and Lasith Malinga maintained an economy rate of less than six runs an over, as Bangladesh chased 183 in 26 overs to win by three wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
"I don't think we can blame the conditions. We didn't bowl well and that's why we lost. It was very disappointing. I feel we had the runs on the board, but we just didn't bowl well. Our bowling was the turning point. We didn't execute our plans and we were wayward from the start.
"Duckworth Lewis is always complicated. We had our chances still, because they had to get 102 off 13 overs and the bowling attack that we've got is brilliant. Unfortunately, we just couldn't pull it off."
Sri Lanka had begun the match promisingly, with Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan providing their second brisk 100-run partnership in the series. Dilshan hit 125 from 128 balls, and had support from Kumar Sangakkara as well, who made a busy 48. Sri Lanka lost their way from 203 for 1 in the 36th over, when the middle order collapsed, but Mathews said the batting had not worried him.
"Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Janith gave us the ideal start. The midde-order batsmen we were a little too hasty. But still, I think 302 in a 50-over game is a lot of runs. The batting was good, but we again showed a weakness with the ball. Our batting has been good throughout this tour. I think both in the first ODI and in the third ODI, we have not bowled well at all."
Bangladesh had the advantage of playing out all ten of their mandatory Powerplay overs despite the shortened chase, but Mathews said a curtailed match did not necessarily swing the game in Bangladesh's favour.
"It would have been different if they were chasing 303 and we were playing a 50-over game, but the credit should also go to the Bangladeshis for the way they played. They batted extremely well. It could have gone both ways. Maybe with the pressure of a 50-over match, it could have gone our way, but we could still have won the 27-over match. We didn't play well and we accept that."
Bangladesh required more than seven runs an over for much of their chase, and they kept in touch with the asking rate with regular boundaries, before closing in on the target quickly with a final flourish. Sri Lanka fielded well, despite the wet ball and slippery surface, but it was the bowling where they were not poised, Mathews said.
"It was a nervous game because it went down to the wire and the pressure was on. They were feeling it and we were also feeling it. We were a little a little bit rattled with the ball. Those 13 overs were played under high pressure, and Bangladesh outplayed us there, when we were troubled a little bit.
"Ultimately they held it to pull it off and get across the line. They've played some really good cricket and we were outplayed today."

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