Ford looking to bowlers for improvement


After being mauled by Australia for a world record 263 in the first T20I, coach Graham Ford is looking for a big improvement from his bowlers as the series draws to a close in Colombo.

In a far cry from the Test matches the Australian middle-order fired in the ODIs and the openers have come good more recently leaving Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the back foot.

Sri Lanka’s frontline bowlers leaked runs at Pallekele going at over 11 runs to the over and Ford wants to see a drastic improvement.

Ford said: “In the first T20, there were a lot of balls that were in the areas that Maxwell would want them to be in.

“We didn’t execute properly. We didn’t have a superstar like Lasith Malinga in our attack, or someone with more experience. We’ve thought about a few ways of going about our business differently, but once again it’s about execution.”

While the track was good for batting, the Sri Lankan bowlers offered far too many bad balls for the Aussies to put away.

Ford continued: “I was surprised by the lack of ability to stay out of trouble on a good batting wicket, which is the art of T20 bowling.

“Some of our bowlers are very inexperienced. We unfortunately don’t get exposed to high-pressure T20 games that much. The [domestic T20] competition here is played in front of no crowd at all.

“In comparison, ten out of the 11 Australians play the IPL, and they all play the Big Bash League. So the occasion gets to young and experienced bowlers. To practice your skills is one thing but to execute it under enormous pressure is another.”

Ford also went on to praise destroyer-in-chief Glenn Maxwell for his performance, scoring 145 in 65 balls.

The coach added: “If you look at Maxwell’s career, on his day, even the best of bowlers can’t contain him. He had a fantastic day out. The pressure that he creates when he is hitting the ball that well leads to bowlers bowling those loose deliveries.

“It’s about pressure. He has gone out and hit the ball amazingly well and hopefully he will not do well again.

“Lance Klusener was a fantastic striker of the ball, but he probably had a couple of areas that he targeted. He wasn’t a player who scored 360 degrees like Maxwell.”

The final T20I will also be the final match in a glittering career for Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Ford only had good things to say about the man.

Ford rounded off: “Look, Dilshan has been a wonderful man.

“He had just lost the captaincy when I first got involved with the team. He came to Australia and played amazingly well and really committed to the team’s cause. I have had wonderful support throughout from him.

“It’s wonderful to have his energy and commitment and the vast knowledge that he passes on. It’s very sad to see such a legend of the game finally calling it a time. For me it’s a privilege to have been involved, been able to witness his exploits first-hand.

“He can be extremely proud of what he has done over the years, and certainly goes down as one of the greats of the game.”