Angelo Mathews’ superb half century against India at the Sardar Patel Stadium went in vain as his team lost for the second time in a row against the home side. Mathews who had batted one position down in the previous game came in at his usual number yesterday and stabilized the Sri Lankan ship which was sinking quite fast.
He could not get to his hundred, but, his 92 runs were invaluable considering the pressure which he was in when he had made his way to the crease.
He was not on attack, neither was he too defensive. He manoeuvred the Indian spinners and then, in the batting power play, he targeted certain bowlers, whom he thought, were not bowling particularly well.
Then, when Sri Lanka lost some wickets in succession in the death, he pulled himself back a little bit again and made sure he batted for full 50 overs.
Dhammika Prasad, the tail-ender, supported him at the end there. He scored some handy runs which dragged the score past 270 which looked competitive on that wicket which was dry and thus, was believed to be going to spin.
With the ball though, Sri Lanka could not deliver. There was movement under the lights. With a bit of coolness in the air, the quickies were getting the white ball to nip around.
The visitors were unlucky not to get Shikhar Dhawan out early as the umpire Bruce Oxenford could not pick a clear nick.
However, that does not mean the Sri Lankan bowling was overall good. It wasn’t, especially the spin bowling. The spinners did not pitch too many balls in good areas. Seekuge Prasanna got three wickets, but, it was more due to the recklessness of the batsmen, not due to the quality in his deliveries.