Upul Tharanga who failed to lead his team to a single victory in the five-match ODI series against India has appealed to fans to continue backing the team. He did, however, lash out at the team’s batting line up and praised Virat Kohli for his performance stating that it was a good example for them.
Sri Lanka lost the Test series 3-0 and in ODI series they again failed to register a single victory as Indian team won the fifth and final ODI by six wickets and inflicted a 5-0 clean sweep. Tharanga, who faced ban due to his team’s slow over rate in the second ODI, returned for the fifth match but again he was unable to guide his team to the elusive win.
“I have to admit as a team we weren’t up to the mark. The Test series was a huge disappointment and then we failed in the ODIs as well,” Tharanga told a media conference after the final ODI loss as reported by Hindustan Times.
“We committed too many mistakes. As a batting unit, we failed to post decent totals. Even after five games, we failed to post 250 runs even once. I’m disappointed with that. These batting displays are worrying.
"Even today we could have made about 270 or 275. We were well placed, but like in the last few games, we collapsed. We lost some seven wickets for 53 runs. That has been something that is happening frequently now. In ODIs, even if you fail in one department it is very difficult to compete.”
The Sri Lankan fans showed their anger during the third ODI which was played at Kandy as they lost their cool and started throwing bottles onto the field. The match was stopped because and could only be resumed once the security officials had brought the crowd under control.
“When we lose, the fans move away from us. They would like to see us winning. We all want to win games, but there are mistakes that happen. (But) we need the backing of the fans. The nation has to back us. We need to rectify our mistakes and move forward,” Tharanga appealed.
The Sri Lankan batsman
“Openers Dickwella and Danushka (Gunathilaka) are attacking batsmen. We have given them the freedom to use the Power Play. But we have told them if you get a start, you need to go on. When you are batting in the Power Play you score about 30 or 40 runs, and you should go on. We failed to achieve that even after five games. Not a single century in the whole series, and that has been a letdown,” he said.
On the other hand, Kohli scored unbeaten 82 in the first ODI and in the centuries in the last two matches guided Team India to comfortable victories. Tharanga praised his Indian counterpart and believed young Sri Lankan players can learn a great deal from him.
“The whole series and prior to that we have spoken about it. Virat is an experienced player. We can learn a lot from him. In ODIs, one of the top four batters need to make a century, only then can we get something like 280 or 300.
“Most of our players have played less than 30 matches. That’s something that you gain with experience. Kohli’s batting was a good example for us.”
The 32-year-old also waived off the rumours of his resignation from the captaincy after the failure in the series.
“No reason for that (resign). The next selectors will decide how we will move forward. We didn’t play well. The last two years we have not played well. Only these set of players can come out of it. We need to plan better. We need to identify what are the areas we can improve on,” Tharanga said.