Sri Lanka fail to break Indian jinx again

By Rex Clementine in Dambulla.


A disappointed Sangakkara walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed for 17 runs in the Asia Cup 2010 final. © AFP/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI.

June 26, 2010 (islandcricket.lk): As Sri Lanka’s recent trend of losing crucial home matches to India continued, captain Kumar Sangakkara conceded that his team lost the vital final contest of the Asia Cup in the first 15 overs, where they lost five wickets. With the latest defeat Sri Lanka have now lost four successive home series against India in just two years which includes two five match bi-lateral series defeats, defeat in the Compaq Cup tri-nation final last year, followed by the defeat in the Asia Cup final on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, our batting style wasn’t probably apt for the conditions. Maybe it would have been a bit tighter and we should have been a bit more positive in executing our strokes. If we had got through that difficult period, it may have been a couple of wickets down for 60 on the board in the first 15 overs and it would have been a great run chase," Sangakkara said speaking to journalists after the final.

The defeat prevented Sri Lanka from winning their third successive Asia Cup title and the fifth overall. For India, this was their first title since 1995 and the fifth overall.

"Nineteen extras really doesn’t help the cause especially when you know that you are facing the tougher conditions batting second," Sangakkara conceded.

"We dragged it back in the last 12 overs which cost us only 60 runs but unfortunately, India had a great start, a couple of good partnerships in the middle and 268 was always a very good score on a track like this. We probably gave India about 15-20 runs extra but it wouldn’t have mattered in the end because we got only 187."

Sri Lanka were the favourites to retain the title after being unbeaten in the league stage, but they were a complete contrast from the side that played the first round matches.

"What you’ve got to learn is when you get to a final that’s probably where you should play your best cricket, just lift your standards up as high as you can and really go for the blow," the skipper added.

"Unfortunately we had three great games where we outplayed the opposition.

"We always manage to get into the final unbeaten, then not really perform in the final. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to lift our standards. You can always talk about the toss at R. Premadasa Stadium (Colombo) and Dambulla but it’s always the mentality that really counts in the end."

Sangakkara also criticized his team’s fielding as Sri Lanka leaked at least 20 runs due to poor fielding. Farveez Maharoof, Sri Lanka’s hero in the previous game, in particular cut a sorry figure while on the field. Apart from Maharoof, Thilina Kandamby too was exposed on the field.

"We had three great games fielding wise but in the final again we probably saw a big lax in really stopping the ball and converting half chances. Especially in a final the margin for error is very little. Conditions or form don’t affect fielding, it is the one thing that you are totally in control of."

Indian captain M.S. Dhoni, meanwhile, was buoyed with the effort put in by his bowlers. Ashish Nehra in particular bowled exceptionally well and within the space of six deliveries changed the course of the game accounting for the team’s top two batsmen- Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews. He finished with four wickets and many were surprised when he was overlooked for the Man of the Match award.

"I knew what my fast bowlers were capable of doing on this wicket. Both Ashish and Zaheer bowled brilliantly. With the ball doing a bit off the seam, it was always going to be difficult for their batsmen to score runs off them. This was one of the best performances by our fast bowlers in recent times. But they need to be more consistent ahead," Dhoni said.

Comments

NSK's picture
Member since:
23 December 2008
Last activity:
7 years 33 weeks

While the tosss plays the part its an idiosyncrasy of the game. It's sad to continually fall short i the same circumstances but credit to Mahela and Sanga for not hiding behind excuses and focusing on the need to improve the mentality and technique for coping with exaggerated movement and bounce under lights. We didnt adapt to the situation the game gave us (all too often lol) and came off second to India. While we would have returned the favour had we batted first we need to focus on what we can control and develop the mentality and skill to win whatever way the coin falls as all kinds of situations await you in major tournaments. We have dominated Asia Cups in recent times and India only reclaimed it after 15 years so we shouldnt lament. It's all a learning curve and as the Asia Cup become a two-yearly fixture and we discard weaker players such as Kandambi and Maharoof we will win it for a fifth time and chase better.

jayalal's picture

I agree with NSK re mental approach.We definitely need a psychlogist to inculcate a positive approach on our team. Against stronger teams, more of our poor mental approach will get highlighted as we panic when chasing, droop our shoulders, and have defeatist attitude if we loose a few wickets suddenly. Add to thet the fact that Sanath is looking over their shoulders without being told his playing days are over.
Jayalal

Paddy's picture
Member since:
6 March 2010
Last activity:
6 years 31 weeks

SLC should stop organizing matches against India, we keep losing all the bilateral series and tournaments to them. Most of the matches India wins the toss and bat first and win the match. At least SL should develop a strategy to win matches if they are to bat second and under the lights.

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