Before the start of this year, Sri Lanka had only suffered one singular ODI whitewash. But it has been a horrendous year for the Lankans as they’ve had a series of 12 consecutive losses, with as many as three 5-0 series defeats alongside it. Of these three, Tharanga captained two embarrassments at the hands of South Africa & Pakistan respectively. After the series losses, Angelo Mathews stepped down as captain, with Tharanga getting the full time armband of the ODI & T-20 teams.
But Tharanga isn’t thinking about stepping down. He said, “It’s the responsibility of the selectors and the board. I don’t want to leave the team and go. The board will decide who will take the team forward. As captain, I would like to take the blame for the defeats. The batsmen also need to take a fair share of the blame. We have to score as a team. Batsmen can fail two or three games, but not all five games. It’s tough when we don’t perform as a team”.
Tharanga added, “We repeated the same mistakes. In this game, we were four wickets down in the third over and there was no coming back from thereon. In the last 15 to 18 months, we have struggled with our batting and that has been the main reason why we have come up with below par performances.”
Sri Lanka’s main concern has been batting as they’ve failed to get past the 250 mark in each of the last 12 ODIs. Even in the recently finished series against Pakistan, they scored 200+ in only two matches. It was Sri Lanka’s 12th straight defeat in ODIs and this year, after 26 games, they have won only four matches. Batting has been Sri Lanka’s biggest drawback as they have been kept below the total of 240 in the last 12 games. In the series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka were able to go past 200 runs only twice.
Tharanga concluded by saying, “We had a lot of discussions. We have analyzed what needs to be done. What we have failed to do is to deliver in the middle. What is really disappointing is that these were not unplayable wickets. They were very good tracks. We were just not good enough. Today we tried to change the line-up a little by sending Niroshan Dickwella at number five as he is very good against spin, but we just lost too many wickets earlier on”.