Dilshan laments at lost opportunity to level series
Sri Lanka skipper T. M. Dilshan rued on the lost opportunity of levelling the ODI series at East London on Saturday. South Africa beat Sri Lanka by five wickets at East London on Saturday to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.
"The wicket suited us. I thought we didn’t get enough runs in the first 20 overs," said Dilshan at the post match press conference on Saturday.
"We were 58 for two in the first 20 overs and we should have been at least 75 runs by that stage. They bowled a lot of slow bowlers and did well to keep us under 250," he said.
Being put into bat first, Sri Lanka had a dreadful start, losing their skipper without a run on the board. Fuf du Plessie ran him out for no score by throwing at the bowlers end in the second over of the day.
To make life more difficult to the Sri Lankan batsmen, South Africans showed brilliant fielding skills of collecting and accurate throwing at the stumps in almost each time the ball came to them.
Their catching was outstanding and the one held by Dale Steyn at backward square leg to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene for 19 runs was out of this world. Then Robin Petersen, running behind the ball from mid-on to long on, took another great catch to get rid of power hitter Nuwan Kulasekara.
It was Kulasekara who turned the tide of runs in Sri Lanka's favour with a 13-ball 22.
"They fielded really well. That’s why I said it’s a team effort from them. But at the same time we didn’t field well. If we are short by 20 runs, we should put an effort whereby to save something like 15 runs or so, but that didn’t come," Dilshan lamented.
Dilshan was a worried man even before the match with the news of a back injury to Ajantha Mendis. The skipper clearly knew that he needed two spinners on the surface but had only one to go with.
"Unfortunately we brought only two spinners and one of them was injured. Had we played another spinner it would have been handy," Dilshan said.
All-rounder, Kosala Kulasekara bowled only one over for the entire innings but the captain said he is in the team as a batting all-rounder. That forced Dilshan to bowl nine overs on a slow wicket.
Despite being pushed back to the wall where he'll be in a must-win situation at Bloemfontein, the skipper still has positive thoughts.
"We can take some positives despite losing. If we can lift ourselves by another 10 or 15 percent it can be a good game," said Dilshan.
"Sanga, Mahela and I are not in good form and if we can come to the party that would be fantastic," he said.
Dilshan has lots of hopes on 22-year-old Dinesh Chandimal.
"He is a fine youngster we have got. We have to give him more opportunities. That’s the reason why we have got him to bat at number four and pushed Mahela down to number five. We hope he will continue the same form in the next few games," Dilshan said.
(Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from East London)