Mathews rues injured Malinga’s absence


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was forced to explain why he used his best bowler right at the end of Bangladesh's Asia Cup innings, when the damage had already been done, and said he was trying to find an answer to Lasith Malinga's absence.

Malinga had been ruled out of the match on Sunday through injury, having only returned to action last week after three months on the sidelines. As such, Dushmantha Chameera was expected to fill the void.

Mathews only brought the paceman on in the 14th over though, after Sabbir Rahman had already flayed the slow bowlers on a paceman's deck. Chameera took three wickets in his four overs on the trot.

Sri Lanka then failed to chase the target of 148, losing by 23 runs, as the home bowlers did a better job of using their fast bowlers on the perfect deck for their purposes.

Mathews explained why he held Chameera back till so late: "Chameera bowled brilliantly. I thought we needed someone to do Malinga's job towards the end.

"The wicket was turning as well, and that's why I kept bowling the spinners. The batters were finding it hard to hit boundaries off the spinners which is why I delayed the fast bowlers."

Sri Lanka still have to face India and Pakistan in the tournament, and Mathews seemed worried about how Malinga's absence would impact those matches:  "Lasith will always be a crucial bowler for us.

"Unfortunately we didn't have him today. I don't really know if he will be fit for the next two games, but it is what it is.

"We have got only those resources we have to use in the game. We have to do it the hard way. India have been playing good cricket, we have to play really good cricket to win."