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Sri Lanka lacks confidence and momentum, feels Mathews

In an interview with Cricbuzz, his first media interaction since stepping down from captaincy in July, Angelo Mathews says that the Sri Lankan team is disappointed more than anyone else with the current losing trend. Sri Lanka were whitewashed in the three match Test series and trail the One-Day International series 0-4. India have totally dominated the bilateral series with an ODI and a T20 International to go.

 

 

"I cannot pinpoint one reason as to why this keeps happening. Mind you, this is the same team that chased 322 in England against the same opposition and won. Definitely we are not short of skill, but we lack confidence at the moment," Mathews told Cricbuzz referring to Sri Lanka's stunning run-chase at The Oval during the Champions Trophy game against India in June.

 

 

Six of the players who featured in that game in London are not part of the current squad due to injuries. Mathews felt that injuries had taken a huge toll on the Sri Lankan side. "When you don't have the best eleven in the park that really affects you. Some of those guys are definitely impact players and we miss them big time," Mathews explained.

 

 

"Losing the Zimbabwe series was a bitter pill to swallow. We have not had any momentum since then. The moment we get our momentum back, everything will fall in line," noted Mathews.

 

 

India have not lost a game on the tour so far, and given the margins of their victories, they could finish the tour with an unblemished record.

 

 

"It's all about momentum. All what we need is to win one game and when that happens, I am sure we will turn things around. That will help us to overcome many things. All what we need to do is to win that one game to gain confidence."

 

 

"It is very hard to keep losing like this. The whole team is down. The way we have lost, in particular, has been disappointing. We have simply not been able to compete. We have lost before too, but we have competed well," Mathews added.

 

 

Defeat in the fourth ODI in Colombo by a massive 168 runs means that Sri Lanka can no longer automatically qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Sri Lanka's fate is now at the hands of Windies. Victory in the one-off ODI against Ireland and a 4-1 series win over England will help Windies to qualify ahead of Sri Lanka for cricket's showpiece event.

 

 

"That is a concern, no doubt. We would like to win the next game at least rather than leave everything at the hands of West Indies. Whatever we can control we have to control. I must say that India have played outstandingly well. We seniors have to lift our games as we have not lived up to expectations."

 

 

Mathews has been Sri Lanka's best batsman since Kumar Sangakkara retired two years ago, but in this series he has struggled having managed one half-century in the Tests and another in four ODIs so far. Altogether he has two 50s in 10 innings against India in the current series.

 

 

"Personally, I feel very disappointed with the way I have got out especially after getting decent starts. I have been trying to score runs quickly rather than settling down. Really frustrated with my performance and only in the last game I was able to make a very small impact."

 

 

Continued poor performances by the team has resulted in angry reactions by fans. Objects were hurled onto the ground for the first time in the history during the third ODI at Pallekele as Sri Lanka lost the series with two games to spare. Seats were empty in the fourth ODI in Colombo with only eight thousand tickets sold in a venue that can hold 35,000 fans. Colombo's ODI matches are generally witnessed by packed houses.

 

 

"We understand the frustration that everyone is going through. All what I can say is that we are more frustrated than anyone else. Throwing bottles is not going to give any solutions. Extremely sad to see something like that happen. We have to admit that we have not played good cricket, but we don't go out there expecting to lose and we do try our best," concluded Mathews.

 

 

The fifth and final ODI will be played in Colombo on Sunday followed by the one off T20I on Wednesday.

 

 

Posted on 2017-09-03 16:16:55
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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

FEEDBACK/COMMENTS

Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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