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Angelo Mathews very disappointed with not being able to convert starts

Mathews pointed out that injuries to a lot of players have left them with limited resources.

Angelo Mathews Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan cricketer Angelo Mathews leave the grounds. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lankan cricket is dilapidating by every passing game. Post 7 international games in the series, the hosts remain winless. After getting whitewashed in the 3-Test series, they look set for a similar fate in the ODI series as they are 0-4 down. The final game will be played in Colombo on Sunday.

Things are not going Sri Lanka’s way ever since big players walked into the sunset. They have produced moments of brilliance, having whitewashed the visiting Australians in a Test series last year. But the recent form of the Island nation has been so poor that Angelo Mathews had to step down from captaincy and later, Sanath Jayasuriya resigned from his position of a chief selector. In an interview with Cricbuzz, Mathews pointed out that this is the same team which chased down 322 in a canter against the Indians in the Champions Trophy in June.

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“I cannot pinpoint one reason as to why this keeps happening. Mind you, this is the same team that chased 322 in England against the same opposition and won. Definitely, we are not short of skill, but we lack confidence at the moment,” Mathews told Cricbuzz.

Sri Lanka missing injured players

Injuries have further depleted the resources of Sri Lanka. Six out of the 11 players who played against India in the Champions Trophy has been sidelined due to injuries which haven’t helped the 1996 champions. “When you don’t have the best eleven in the park that really affects you. Some of those guys are definitely impact players and we miss them big time,” Mathews explained.

Mathews’ decision of stepping down did not go down well with Arjuna Ranatunga but a series defeat against Zimbabwe at home was a tough one to embrace. Mathews explains that things can quickly change once the team gathers momentum. “Losing the Zimbabwe series was a bitter pill to swallow. We have not had any momentum since then. The moment we get our momentum back, everything will fall in line,” noted Mathews.

“It’s all about momentum. All that we need is to win one game and when that happens, I am sure we will turn things around. That will help us to overcome many things. All that we need to do is to win that one game to gain confidence.”

Sri Lanka must win final ODI for WC direct qualification

With an ODI series whitewash looming large on them, Mathews wants Sri Lanka to win the last game in order to stay in contention for a direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup. Even if they lose the last game, they will still be in the hunt but will rely largely on West Indies’ performance in their forthcoming ODI series against England and a lone ODI against Ireland. Mathews explained that they must do their own bit.

“That is a concern, no doubt. We would like to win the next game at least rather than leave everything at the hands of West Indies. Whatever we can control we have to control. I must say that India have played outstandingly well. We seniors have to lift our games as we have not lived up to expectations.”

Mathews disappointed with own form and crowd

Mathews, a modern-day great of Sri Lanka, hasn’t got going at all himself. He has just a solitary fifty in the ODI series and managed another one in Tests. 2 half-centuries in 10 innings is certainly not up to the high standards set by the former skipper. No wonder he is disappointed but can still make a mark in the next two games.

“Personally, I feel very disappointed with the way I have got out especially after getting decent starts. I have been trying to score runs quickly rather than settling down. Really frustrated with my performance and only in the last game I was able to make a very small impact.”

Sri Lankan fans have turned up to watch the action at the stadiums game after game but their patience was tested in the 3rd ODI. After breaking through the middle order twice in consecutive games and still not being able to close games, the fans resorted to throwing bottles in the field which made Mathews sad.

“We understand the frustration that everyone is going through. All what I can say is that we are more frustrated than anyone else. Throwing bottles is not going to give any solutions. Extremely sad to see something like that happen. We have to admit that we have not played good cricket, but we don’t go out there expecting to lose and we do try our best,” concluded Mathews.

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