Sri Lanka’s failures to finish against Australia were exposed

 – Gudstory

Sri Lanka’s failures to finish against Australia were exposed – Gudstory

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Sri Lanka’s batting has been lopsided in all three of their World Cup matches so far, but it only featured against Australia. After making 125 opening runs, they lost 10 wickets for just 84 runs.
While it’s easy to say it was just a bad day, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the signs that led to this meltdown. While last month’s horrific Asia Cup final – a 50 overs final – is still fresh in the memory, you could say it was down to facing one of the best fast bowling attacks in conditions that were in their favour. What is of greater concern for Sri Lanka is how well they fare on surfaces that are more conducive to batting.

If you include the two World Cup warm-up matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Sri Lanka scored totals of 263, 294, 326, 344 and 209. However, a closer look reveals promising positions missed in each of those matches.

Against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka scored just 131 runs after the 20th over. Against Afghanistan they rose from 240 for 2 on the 30th to 294 all out; Against Pakistan, they scored only 115 runs in the last 20 overs. Even against South Africa, there is an argument that after Kusal Mendis’ strong start, he might not have lost wickets as early as he did had he had enough support from his teammates.
“Despite our promising start, we deeply regret our inability to sustain it, which resulted in us being limited to 209 runs,” Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka said after their five-wicket defeat to Australia. “On a wicket like this, I think we should have been aiming for close to 300 runs, and that was a contributing factor to our defeat.”

Nissanka, who scored 61 off 67 balls during an opening stand of 125 with Kusal Perera, is doing his job for the most part. The Sri Lankan scheme is very straightforward – set up a platform and launch. But they couldn’t get off as much as they would have liked.

“To be honest, the opposition bowlers are constantly hitting good areas through the middle, which has created a difficult situation for our batsmen,” Nissanka said. “Unfortunately, we were not able to deal with it as effectively as we would have liked. If we could have played better, we could have achieved a total of 300 goals.”

Against Australia, it was an opening performance but Sri Lanka’s two centurions in this tournament – Mendis and Sadira Samarawickrama – did not do so, falling to Zampa by 9 and 8 respectively.

“This is the nature of cricket. We have performed brilliantly in the last two matches, but such fluctuations can happen,” Nissanka said. “Our focus now is to learn from our mistakes and strive to provide strong performances in the upcoming matches.”

The lack of consistent production from the middle and lower order is a bigger concern, but when asked why such collapses occur, Nissanka dodges the question.

“As a team, we play every match hoping to win. Unfortunately, we lost the last three matches. We played well before that. We hope to play well in the remaining matches.”

After suffering three defeats in three matches, Sri Lanka’s mid- and lower-middle side need to kick into gear before it’s too late. If not, when the top four collapse under the burden as they did against Australia, such collapses will become more common no matter what type of pitch they play on.


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