Mathews Rues Sri Lanka’s Slow Start To Series

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Angelo Mathews said Sri Lanka’s impressive victory in the fifth and final ODI against South Africa at Colombo left him with a bittersweet feeling.

Having lost the first three matches of the series, Sri Lanka found their rhythm too late, following up a narrow victory in the fourth ODI at Kandy with a ruthless display in the finale at Colombo, winning by 178 runs to leave the final scoreline 3-2 in the Proteas’ favour.

Mathews was the batting star for the hosts, hitting 97* from 97 balls on a testing pitch to take his side to 299/8, before mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya ran riot, returning career-best ODI figures of 6/29.

“This was a performance we were looking for but it came in the last match,” said Sri Lanka’s captain. “This should have come in the first three matches.

“The wicket was on the slower side and I was struggling to make runs on it. Credit to South Africa with the way they played [in the series]. We are trying to play better in every match. There are still 20 matches to the World Cup and we want to make most of it.”

Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s stand-in captain, said the defeat shouldn’t take the gloss of a confidence-boosting series win in conditions in which they have typically struggled.

“It is never easy coming here and winning in Sri Lanka,” he said. “It is great to leave with a series win. Angelo led them really well and Akila is a serious bowler. It is hard to take them on – someone like him who has so many variations up his sleeve. We have ticked a lot of boxes but there are still things to be done.”

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N Krishnamurthy

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