Chamika Karunaratne, who top scored for Sri Lanka in the 1st ODI, claimed that the hosts could have posted a competitive total had batters converted starts, but insisted that the side has the potential to post 350. Karunaratne also admitted that, with the ball, SL lost the game in the powerplay.
It was a markedly improved performance with the bat from Sri Lanka in the first ODI on Sunday, but the 262 accumulated by the hosts proved to be below-par on a Colombo wicket that was a batting paradise. Winning the toss and batting first, the hosts endured a brisk start, with openers Avishka Fernando and Minod Bhanuka adding 49, but wickets at regular intervals stymied the side throughout the innings. As many as five batsmen passed the 25-run mark, but remarkably none were able to convert the middling score into a fifty, with only one batsman even crossing the 40-run mark.
The one batsman who came closest to posting a half-century was Chamika Karunaratne (43*), and the right-hander, after the game, rued the inability of the batters above him to bat long. Karunaratne, who played a fine cameo towards the end, reckoned that the untimely top-order dismissals had a ripple effect on the other batters, and stressed that the hosts could have posted a competitive score had more top-order batters converted their starts.
“A lot of our batsmen got good starts, but a lot of us weren’t able to continue. We were trying to play longer innings, even when I was batting with Dasun Shanaka in the 42nd or 43rd over I asked him if I should go for some big shots, but he told me to wait until the 45th over. If more of our batsmen had been able to bat longer, we could have attacked earlier and gone for a bigger score,” Karunaratne said on Sunday.
The 262 posted by the Lankans was chased down by India with nearly 13 overs to spare, but Karunratne reckoned that his side has the arsenal to post a 350-plus total.
“We do have the ability to get to 300 or 350, and hopefully, that will happen in the next games,” said Karunaratne.
It was one-way-traffic in the second innings, though, as on the back of cameos from Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Kishan, the visitors hurried through the chase to seal a convincing 7-wicket victory. The first 10 overs, quite remarkably, yielded 91 runs, and the hosts never recovered from the initial blow that was dealt to them.
Karunaratne admitted that Sri Lanka lost the game in the powerplay, and reckoned that the only way they could have stopped India was if the bowlers claimed multiple scalps inside the first 10 overs.
“We tried to get wickets rather than bowl dot balls. We tried to use our bouncers and our pace. They are a top team and we knew they would attack us.
“If we’d taken wickets we would have been able to pull them back. We were able to get one in the powerplay, and if we’d had another one or two in the powerplay we would have been able to change the game a little bit,” the 25-year-old said.