Pothas pins pitch after poor performance


Sri Lanka interim coach Nic Pothas feels a pitch that flattened out was behind Zimbabwe’s fightback on day three of the one-off Test.

The Lankans had reduced Zimbabwe to 23/4 before Sikandar Raza led a rally that saw the visitors end the day on 252/6 leading by 262 runs.

Pothas refused to hang his players out to dry saying after play: “You’ve got to give credit to our players as well as the opposition.

“Once the hardness went out of the ball, it obviously became a bit more difficult, and it spun less than yesterday. I thought Raza played really well, as did PJ Moor and Waller.

“But our guys were phenomenal. They did their jobs. I thought the quality of the fielding was superb. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ll get up again tomorrow morning, try to get a few quick wickets, and then chase a score.”

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Pothas felt the softer ball wasn’t turning as much as the new cherry and feels this aided the Zimbabwe rearguard action.

He added: “The pitch has changed quite a bit. Once the hardness went out of the ball today, it didn’t seem like it did as much as yesterday.

“Yesterday and day one the ball spun. At the end of the day we’re playing in the subcontinent and wickets spin. You just need to come up with plans to score, and how you’re going to get wickets. Today it was surprising that it didn’t do as much as expected, but we just need to find a way of getting wickets.”

Pothas praised the diligence of his troops and feels that on the whole the team is making progress and playing quite well.

He went on: “The amount of work those guys put in behind the scenes, and the effort they are putting in today with a soft ball, and a wicket that’s not conducive to fast bowling – I thought they did a fantastic job on it.

“If we’re going to keep judging them, we need a bit of perspective. I think under the conditions they did a great job.”

Sri Lanka have been heavily criticized for their fielding with the Champions Trophy match against Pakistan a glaring bad spot but Pothas, the fielding coach under Graham Ford, feels they have made progress in this area.

He said: “Are we judging them on one hour against Pakistan? I think we need to be careful on that, because in the first innings I thought we fielded phenomenally well. I think in general, we’ve been pretty harsh on them even when they put in good performances.

“I don’t think they get enough credit for it. When we played against South Africa at The Oval, I thought we fielded brilliantly. We fielded brilliantly against India.

“Then we had an hour of madness at the end of the Pakistan game, which was unfortunate. Since then we’ve done some pretty good stuff in the field, so I think we need to be a bit careful with always looking at the negative part of their fielding.”