Sri Lanka cricket coach Trevor Bayliss termed the 3-2 Idea Cup One-Day International series defeat to India as a minor hiccup , and insisted, but for below-par batting, the hosts could have beaten the tourists considering the outstanding effort put in by their bowlers.
Our bowling was outstanding throughout , he told Sunday Observer , in the aftermath of the 112-run win by Sri Lanka in the fifth and final ODI at R Premadasa International Stadium last Friday (Aug29).
But, the same cannot be said of the batting. It was a failure and if only our batters had been more consistent we could have overturned the final result . Sri Lanka won the first ODI in Dambulla by eight wickets before India levelled the series with a three-wicket win in the second game also at the same venue.
The teams then moved to Colombo to resume their rivalry as M S Dhoni s men won the third ODI by 33 runs to take a 2-1 lead, before sealing the series with a 46-run triumph in fourth game rendering the last One-Dayer inconsequential to the series outcome.
He said the wickets provided for the series in Dambulla and Colombo were quite different from each other and that batting under floodlights at the R Premadasa Stadium was always going to be a tough proposition. Bayliss said that the toss itself was crucial to the final outcome of the series result, and that at the R Premadasa Stadium (the venue for the last three ODIs) if the batsmen had got their act together the visitors could have struggled to win the series.
Bayliss who presided over his second home ODI series defeat after an identical 3-2 loss to England, in November last year, singled out fast-improving all-rounder Thilina Thushara
Mirando and pacer Nuwan Kulasekera for special praise saying :they were two impressive performers who grabbed their chances .
The Australian noted that the Idea Cup One-Day International series also provided Sri Lanka with the springboard for the emergence of young talent in the form of Mahela Udawatte, Malinda Warnapura and last but not least mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. Bayliss though commended Mendis for continuing to amaze both critics and players alike since he burst into the international spotlight in the past one month or so.
He is a quick learner and a bloke who has a good head on his shoulders , the coach said describing Sri Lanka s new spin sensation.
He will no doubt continue to be among the wickets as his variations are tough to decipher, but it is too premature to predict whether he will become another Murali or a Shane Warne .