ABU DHABI, Tuesday: Batting coach Hashan Tillakaratne was confident that Sri Lanka can bounce back in the five-match one-day international series against Pakistan which they are trailing 0-2 after their 32-run loss in the second ODI played here on Monday.
Sri Lankan bowlers did a splendid job to confine the strong Pakistani batting to a total of 219-9 but all their good work went unrewarded when Sri Lanka’s batsmen failed to match the performance of their bowlers and they were dismissed for 187.
Of the top order batsmen only skipper Upul Tharanga shone with a defiant 112 not out, his 15th ODI hundred and first against Pakistan, the rest of the batters from 1-6 could garner only 30 runs amongst them. It was a similar situation in the first ODI as well where the top six batters managed just 96 runs of which Lahiru Thirimanne made 53.
“The batters need to get their act together. Skill and everything is there but they need to get their act together,” said Tillakaratne a member of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning side.
“It has been very difficult and disappointing. I thought we could have chased down that target and bounce back by winning the game. But still the series is open and we need to rectify our mistakes and come back strongly. I am sure the boys are also aware of the situation.” Sri Lanka were moving along steadily at 70-2 when leg-spinner Shadab Khan was introduced into the attack and he changed the complexion of the game with three quick wickets.
Sri Lanka slumped to 93-7 and despite Tharanga’s century and some gallant batting by tailender Jeffrey Vandersay (22) the rest of the batting proved a failure.
“It was a very commendable and super knock by Upul. We have been practicing for leg-spinner and hopefully we will put up a good show in the third game. I am very positive. We need to rectify our mistakes and win all three games,” said Tillakaratne the team’s Test batting coach who has taken over the role for the ODIs as regular ODI batting coach Avishka Gunawardene is in the Caribbean with the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team as its head coach.
Shadab finished with figures of 3 for 47 and with his contribution of 52 not out with the bat was easily the front contender for the Man of the Match.