Mathews: Series defeat won’t affect WC preparations

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Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was happy with the way his team performed in the fifth and final ODI of the series against India on Sunday saying the series gave them the opportunity to experiment and won’t impact their preparations for the World Cup. 

Here are few excerpts from his post-match interaction with the media: 

On Sri Lanka’s improved show 

Yes, I thought it was a competitive game, we have improved from the last four games. It was a tough wicket to bat on, it was not coming through. But the batters had to dig deep, stay at the crease, get some partnerships and get a good score for the bowlers to bowl at. I thought we did that, but unfortunately the bowlers were a bit too wayward. 

On whether the series will have a negative impact on World Cup preparations 

I don’t think so. We have figured out who our players are going to be. We gave them opportunities, we wanted to try them out here because playing in India is always a lot of pressure. We wanted them to know who the guys are under pressure. We now have an idea. We just have to flush [the defeats] out of the system and take the England series on, and move on. 

On disappointing batting 

Yes, I would like to see more batters get some runs. But as I always say, whoever gets in has to go for a big one on that day and I’m pretty pleased with the way I batted today. Lot of positives today: the way [Lahiru] Thirimanne batted, the way Dilshan and Mahela batted, because it was not the easiest wicket to bat on, it was turning quite a lot, stopping and going up and down. We managed to get 286, which was a good batting display. 

On holding himself back and giving Mendis the ball when Virat Kohli was on a roll 

We tried to get him out several times – as soon as he came in and midway as well, because we knew that his wicket was crucial. We wanted to try and get him out, we kept our fields in; we tried but we failed. So we thought we would attack from the other end towards the end. But Kohli batted brilliantly and unfortunately we couldn’t stop him. I thought our bowlers bowled better half-way into the game and then towards the end, and the spinners started off well early on. 

On positives from the series 

We wanted to give opportunities to some of the newcomers because we didn’t have our senior players like Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake. We wanted to give opportunities and see who will respond best to those pressure situations. I’m extremely pleased with the way Thirimanne batted because we wanted someone who is solid at No. 6, and I thought he did his job in the last two games. All the batsmen got starts but I think we can still improve in all the departments.