Upul Tharanga blames series loss on batsmen, says Sri Lanka need all-rounders | india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Upul Tharanga blames series loss on batsmen, says Sri Lanka need all-rounders

Upul Tharanga says the approach of Sri Lankan batsmen led their downfall in the series loss to India.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Sep 04, 2017 11:05 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga with his teamates after losing the ODI series to India on Sunday.
Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga with his teamates after losing the ODI series to India on Sunday.(AFP)

Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga admitted that a poor approach in batting did the team in after India inflicted a 5-0 series rout at the Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka lost the Test series 3-0, the first series sweep by an Indian team away from home, and then suffered a similar fate in the ODIs. Upul Tharanga returned after missing two games due to a ban for his team’s slow over-rate, but Sri Lanka failed to touch 250 in the entire series.

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“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,” he told a media conference after the final ODI loss.

“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 said an ODI team will struggle even if it is weak in one aspect, but conceded Sri Lanka were weak in all three departments.

“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.”

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Upul Tharanga said his inexperienced players had plenty to learn from Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

“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.”

Tharanga blamed batsmen for lacking discipline, not going on to get a big score once set.

“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.”

The lack of batting discipline was punished by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah in particular. Bumrah was the player of the series with 15 wickets.

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“Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit bowled really well. They are very good white-ball bowlers. They have played a lot of IPL matches. They are playing with the world’s best players. They have improved because of that. Slow balls and yorkers, their bowlers were very crafty.

“When we are playing white-ball cricket we should have eight or nine guys who can bat. We need to have a couple of all-rounders. We had little support from the tail. Moving forward that will be vital. We will need all-rounders moving forward.”

Tharanga denied there was any reason for him to quit as skipper after his first series ended in failure. The national selectors quit after the third ODI in the wake of crowd throwing bottles into the ground in Pallekele.

“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.”