Instead of honest assessment of batting failures in first two matches, Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurasingha has yet again started blame game by criticising world cup pitches at Cardiff.
Right after an unconvincing win against 10th ranked Afghanistan on June 4, Chandika Hathurusingha, the million dollars paid coach of Sri Lanka, blasted the Sophia Gardens pitches at Cardiff, stating that the the green top wickets were not suitable for the ODI cricket and the poor pitches were the main reason his inform batsmen like Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews couldn’t score big.
Sri Lanka has played their first two world cup matches at Cardiff. While against New Zealand, Sri Lanka were bundled out for 137, against Afghanistan, their batsmen failed again miserably by posting another substandard total of 201 batting first. However, instead of lamenting poor batting effort in two con matches, Hathurusingha went hard on pitches.
“The two pitches we got here was not ideal for ODI Cricket. If you look at the other venues wickets looked little more brown but these were green wickets. When we get good wickets I hope our batters like Angelo, Mendis will do well” Hathurusingha said after the Afghanistan match.
However, as it has always been a case with Hathurasingha, it was yet another lame excuse, with the intentions of diverting cricket fans focus from pathetic batting display by his batsmen!
In the first match, New Zealand opener walloped Sri Lanka by amassing 137 runs in just 16.1 overs. Sri Lanka bowlers could not even break the opening stand as both Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro were at their devastating best.
In the second match, Sri Lanka’s dynamic opener Kusal Perera played a blinder of a innings and single handedly guided the team to a score, that proved too much for inexperienced Afghanistan batting line up.
Obviously, Guptill-Munro onslaught in the first match and Kusal Perera’s stroke filled half century in the second match proved there were no demons in the pitch!
What Hathurusingha failed to highlight, is the inability of Sri Lanka’s batsmen to play in challenging conditions. In England, specially in May and June, ball swings in the first innings. And even with a green top, Cardiff pitches were typically English pitches.
What Hathurusingha failed to highlight that in last four matches (including two warm up) Sri Lanka batsmen have failed to apply themselves, failed to get used of conditions by surviving first 20 deliveries. As for as Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews are concerned, so far both they are completely out of form in all the innings they have played.
Moreover, what Hathurusingha failed to highlight that Sri Lanka posted yet another substandard total against Afghanistan, because of poor tactics by the team management, not because of poor pitch.
Sri Lanka were going strongly at 90/0 in first 15 overs, as both Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera were perfectly handling Afghan pace attack.
After Dimuth perished while playing a lofted shot, Sri Lanka should have sent a right handed at number three, as Mohamed Nabi, an off spinner, was getting considerable amount of turn and bounce from the wicket. Yet, Team management opted for left hander Lahiru Thirimane, who killed all the momentum, gained by Kusal and Dimuth.
Ideally, Kusal Mendis, a right hander, should have promoted to number three, as Sri Lanka were already in a dominating position and Mohammed Nabi were bowling in the middle. By doing so, Sri Lanka has a chance to slot Angelo Mathews, their best batsman, at number four and capitalize the good start, provided by openers. But, Hathurusingha and batting coach Steve Rixon opted for Thirimane and laid the platform for another batting collapse.
Instead of highlighting all these failures and mistakes, Hathurusingha, as he always does, put all the blame on pitches. However, One can’t expect true and honest assessment from Hathurusingha. Remember, few months ago, he told Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) that the presence of then manager Charith Senanayake was hindering team’s winning chances!