“Dimuth is the example to follow” – Thirimanne

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Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne walks back to the pavilion after his LBW dismissal during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 1, 2019. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Lahiru Thirimanne says Sri Lanka are once bitten, twice shy when it comes to the challenges they’ll face at the ICC Men’s World Cup 2019 after defeat by New Zealand. 

>>Sri Lanka crash to 10-wicket defeat in World Cup opener<<

The Black Caps pace battery were shorn of the injured Tim Southee but exploited helpful conditions to great effect, bowling Sri Lanka out for 136 at Cardiff Wales Stadium. 

Thirimanne says his side, basing themselves in Cardiff, can turn the 10 wicket defeat into a positive if they take learnings into their next game against Afghanistan in the Welsh capital.  

“It was tough conditions, to be honest, but we batted very poorly,” he said.

“We could have easily got to 250 and had a good fight, but we couldn’t manage to do that. 

“We have another game in this ground so we know what to expect and we should be able to adapt to conditions quicker. 

>>Photos: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand | ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 – Match 03<<

“We are playing in England, so sometimes you have to expect the ball to move around and for it to be tough. That’s how cricket goes sometimes. 

“The best thing we can do is put this game behind us but we need to learn from it.”

Thirimanne bore the brunt of early seam and swing, trapped lbw by Matt Henry’s in-dipping delivery with the second ball of the game.

The 29-year-old, without a one-day cap in nearly two years, is capable of prolific run-getting in the format as proven by his warm-up half-century against a tough Australian attack earlier this week. 

>>CWC19<<

As Sri Lanka navigate their way through eight further World Cup matches, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne provides a perfect example of circumspection at the crease in 50-over cricket.

And Thirimanne encouraged his team-mates to model their batting approach on their captain who has returned after a four-year absence from one-day internationals in rare form. 

“Dimuth is the example to follow,” he said.

“It’s not easy as an opener. I know it’s very difficult to bat in these conditions but he fought very hard.”

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“We knew that New Zealand have a very good bowling attack. They capitalised on conditions really well.

“The mood is very good, because we knew this wasn’t our day. 

“We can’t let our heads get down and walk away. We have to come back strongly.”