Sri Lanka suffered a massive 141 run defeat after Hitman Rohit Sharma’s third double century in the 2nd one day international at Mohali last evening. India’s dominant win placed the series in the balance with one more game to go in Vizag on Sunday.
After winning the toss and deciding to bowl first, Mathews and Suranga Lakmal managed to keep the Indian openers quiet but failed to get a breakthrough as the ball did very little compared to Dharamsala. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma made half centuries and started to capitalise on loose deliveries in the middle overs of the innings.
Dhawan was dismissed for 68 but Rohit went on to make an unbeaten 208 in just 153 deliveries. India posted 392 for 4 at the end of the 50 overs.
Sri Lanka lost three early wickets trying to accelerate the scoring rate early in the innings. Asela Gunaratne showed some fight with Angelo Mathews in the other end. Gunaratne was dismissed by Chahal but Mathews went on to make an unbeaten 111 in 132. However, his efforts were in vain as the task was way out of reach.
“Unfortunately our bowling didn’t click. Especially Rohit batted really well. That is cricket. We will take positives from this match and flush out the negatives. We had a Plan A and B and C as well – it didn’t click. That’s why I said Rohit batted really well. If we want to chase this kind of score, we need a good start, and middle order as well. Both parts didn’t click, but Angelo did well in the batting part. We will come back well in the third ODI,” said Thisara Perera at the post-match presentation.
For Sri Lanka, it was a day to forget but we identified a couple of negatives and positives as we move to the decider on Sunday at Vizag.
First, let’s take a look at the positives for Sri Lanka.
A much better performance on the field
From the very first delivery, the Sri Lankan fielders were at their best, diving and doing everything they can to put pressure. When it came to ground fielding, the team was criticised and identified as the worst in Asia a few months ago. But, to come up with this sort of performance is something to appreciate and cherish.
Angelo Mathews is still Sri Lanka’s best batsman
After Thisara Perera’s dismissal, Mathews was certain the target was way out of reach. So, instead of just trying hit every ball for six, he took his time to get used to the Indian attack and got to his 2nd ODI century as well.
He remained unbeaten at 111 in just 132 to save the side from embarrassment.
And now the negatives.
Sri Lanka’s decision to play with the same team
We’ve mentioned the Thirimanne factor previously. Sticking to Lahiru Thirimanne clearly didn’t work for Sri Lanka. He does add experience to the side but what really matters is the contribution. Thirimanne has failed to contribute to the team’s cause and he should be benched for the final on Sunday.
Sri Lanka should also include another batsman, ideally Kusal Perera instead of Sachith Pathirana. However, it all comes down to Mathews’ contribution with the ball. He limped off at Mohali so it’s unlikely we’d see him take the ball in Vizag.
Poorly executed wide yorkers
Almost all Rohit’s sixes were off juicy full tosses from the Sri Lankan fast bowlers. They tried to bowl the wide yorker but poor executing resulted in Rohit Sharma’s favour.
“I think the plan was to bowl wide yorkers, but the execution was poor. Our plan backfired. We became very predictable, didn’t have a backup plan. We should have bowled better. This is no way a 390 pitch. Maybe 320 or 330. I think we gave 60 runs or so too many. We bowled too many full tosses, too many short balls and we didn’t execute the plans well. But we will bounce back,” said batting coach Thilan Samaraweera to Cricbuzz.
The mentality of the batsman during the chase
In the past, Sri Lanka always gave a fight when chasing massive scores of over 300. However, that intent was missing, especially from the top order. After seeing off a couple of overs, the batsman should have made use of the power play by playing a few more shots. Considering the target, they could have sent Niroshan Dickwella on top of the order to play a few shots. Dickwella can get you runs but is not a big hitter of the cricket ball. Therefore, Sri Lanka should consider moving him up the order when chasing massive scores.
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