Mathews fingers middle order for defeat


Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Mathews, has pointed the finger of blame at Sri Lanka's middle order after a batting collapse saw them fail to post a total large enough to secure a victory against Australia.

Sri Lanka lost three wickets between the 30th and 33rd overs, including the wicket of the captain himself, who went for a duck, and could only post a total of 227 for 8 which Australia eclipsed with 19 balls to spare.

Mathews fell in a double wicket maiden bowled by James Faulkner, with Kusal Mendis' wicket falling just before the captain was well caught at backward point.

The skipper said: "We were going pretty well at one point,

"But straight after Kusal Mendis got out, I got out, and then Dhananjaya got out. I thought that was a bit of a turning point. We needed a partnership with Dinesh Chandimal. Either me or Dhananjaya had to set it up for Thisara Perera and Milinda Siriwardana to go out there in the 43rd or 44th over and get those quick runs. 

"It wasn't easy to get quick runs. The boundaries were 80 or 85 yards away. We needed to be scrappy, but unfortunately we were short 20 or 30 runs."

After the Test victories, Mathews had brushed off Australian criticisms of the pitch but after defeat at Khettarama, the captain appeared to agree with the tourists star performer, Aaron Finch, feeling the pitch was too dry.

Mathews commented: "The pitch was a bit too dry I thought,

"It was hard work for the batters. It was stopping and gripping for the seamers' slower ones, and it was turning square. With this kind of weather we knew it was going to turn, but it was a bit too dry. It's that type of wicket that Australia's seamers will also come into play with their variations."

Mathews praised the efforts of debutant Amila Aponso who finished with figures of 1 for 27 and extracted sharp turn out of the dry pitch, at some points turning it to first slip: "I thought Amila bowled the best out of the lot,

"Dilruwan Perera was steady, but the way Amila bowled was fantastic. This is actually the first time I'm seeing him. He bowled extremely well and I'm very pleased."

The captain gave credit to Finch, who smashed Mathews for six in the first over of the innings, for setting up the tourists victory with his 56 off 46 balls: "He got a lot of runs against the new ball, and that would have been his plan, because when the ball gets a bit older – after 10 overs – it is not easy on this track. 

"With the fielding restrictions and two men out of the ring, he scored quickly and fearlessly against our spinners."