The devoted Captain of Sri Lankan, Mahela Jayawardene has blamed the top order who let them down in the third final of the Commonwealth Bank Series against Australia which they lost by a narrow margin of 16 runs.
The Islanders have been chasing well in the series and that’s why Jayawardene once again offered the batting to the home side after winning the toss.
The Aussies openers Matthew Wade and in-form hard hitter, David Warner made an imaginary start by posting 75 runs at a quick run rate. They were going great guns when the later lost his wicket for 48 runs as the batsmen who followed could not exploit the ideal beginning.
Wade tried to accelerate but found himself strangled on 49 and in fact, was the top scorer for the Kangaroos as the Islander bowlers penetrated through their batting. The middle order found it hard to negotiate with the accurate bowling which was being well supported by their acrobatic ground fielding.
Shane Watson was gone for 19, the poor run with the bat for Michael Hussey continued and he was unable to move ahead of single, David Hussey followed him for 19, Peter Forrest three and Daniel Christian contributed 19 as well.
Brett Lee and Clint McKay consolidated the innings by scoring valuable 32 and 28 runs respectively. The Lankan Lion bowlers done excellent job as the home side was restricted to 231 runs before they were bowled out in 49.3 overs.
The target looked easy for the visitors keeping in view their powerful batting line up which has done wonders for them in the tournament. Their top order collapsed and a non professional attitude was exhibited while chasing on a perfect batting wicket.
They were four wickets down for just 53 runs and it looked like they will surrender without fight when two youngsters, Lahiru Thirimanne and Upul Tharanga demonstrated how to bat under pressure and almost took them to the victory. They played brave innings under tremendous pressure while ticking the score board at the required pace.
The bad luck for the visitors started when Thiriminne was gone for 30 and later on Tharanga lost his wicket for a courageous knock of 71 runs. The fight was carried on by Nuwan Kulasekara and Ferveez Maharoof down the order who injected 15 and 18 runs respectively before their innings came to an end for 215 runs.
It was a great show by the young guns of Sri Lanka who fought well until the final moments of the match which was a good sign for the future of the national cricket. Mahela Jayawardene was proud of his young lot and predicted that they will emerge as a fighting unit for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. He said after the match,
“Very proud of the boys against two quality teams (Australia and India). The objective is to rebuild for the next four years and we’ve learnt a lot and I’m proud of the youngsters.”
Earlier, the great chance of winning the decisive 3rd final was lost by the most established and highly ranked top order of the Islanders. They were unable to lay down the solid foundation which brought the middle and lower order under tremendous pressure. The skipper himself went back to the pavilion for 15, Tillakaratne Dilshan for 8, Kumar Sangakkara gave up at 19 and the promising Dinesh Chandimal was declared leg before wicket on five runs.
Jayawardene believed that their top order could not sustain the pressure of the calculated bowling of Australia which resulted in losing the important encounter. The depressed Captain further commented,
“Initially if we were given 231 we would have taken it. They put a lot of pressure on us, we fought well but the lack of partnerships upfront did us. We could not execute a good game plan.”