Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga ahead of their second ODI against Pakistan in the capital accepted that batting collapses was a major worry for this side and are one batsman short for the ODI series.
“This series when it started we spoke about batting because batting has let us down over the last few series. We tried to tell the players what is their role. All the players are aware of their roles. I hope from tomorrow onwards we will come up with good batting efforts,” said Tharanga, who went on to add that they had a feeling that they will need one more batsman in the side.
“Prior to the series what we wanted to do was to stick to six batters. We retained four seamers and we wanted (Suranga) Lakmal and (Nuwan) Pradeep. We knew that they will struggle to play all five games as both played Test matches as well. That is the reason that we retained four fast bowlers in the squad and ended up having only five batsmen,” revealed Tharanga adding that it has been a struggle for them to post good total since 2016.
“We have not been consistent. Lot of things changed. Players were changed and we had injuries. But still I don’t think we played to our potential. We were not consistent. We play one game well and then we fail to live up expectations. We beat India in England in June but since then we have struggled due to lack of consistency,” said Tharanga, who took over the captaincy in July this year.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad ahead of the match was of the view that his role in the current ODI setup would serve perfectly if he comes lower down the order.
The skipper was of the view that the inclusion on Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malek has added tremendous depth to the middle order.
“Last year we had a different combination because Hafeez was not there. Here Hafeez played well and Shoaib Malek is also there so team comes first and I want to keep that same combination going,” said Ahmad, who was pleased with the way his boys performed in the first ODI and was hoping that they carry the same form into the second ODI.
“Thanks God we did well in the first ODI, we played well and the team gave an overall performance, so the expectations are high for an important second game. We have done good preparation so it’s important match. We will do our best and take it one by one and win the next,” said Ahmad, who felt that one grey areas where the team needs to improve is taking more singles in the first 10 overs.
Ahmad went on to add that the focus of the team from now on was to build the team for the 2019 World Cup in England.
“It’s important to build a strong side for the World Cup and we are giving consistent chances to youngsters and that will be the key. It’s close to one year now so we have to keep building towards that with small things and it will be the key to give consistent opportunities.”
Pakistan: Ahmad Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malek, Sarfraz Ahmad (c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf , Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Khan.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga(c), Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage.