|Friday, 19 April 2002|
Inconsistent batting blamed for defeat in Namibia
by Saadi Thawfeeq
Lack of consistency in the batting was the key factor in Sri Lanka A failing to win the ICC six-nation challenge trophy in Namibia.
Sri Lanka A lost the final to Kenya by four wickets after coming through the qualifying rounds with an unbeaten record defeating the other four nations in the competition namely, Zimbabwe A, Namibia, Holland and Canada.
What was lacking in the batting was consistency. Different batsmen contributed towards our wins in the qualifying games, but no one showed the consistency with scores of fifties and hundreds to say I am ready for the senior side, said Sri Lanka A coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
From that point it was disappointing, for it is these players who are supposed to graduate to the senior team. They failed to make use of the opportunities that came their way, he said.
The coach cited the final as a good example of how Sri Lanka A threw away the opportunity of making a competitive enough total to put pressure on the Kenyans.
We got off to a brilliant start scoring 46 off the first four overs and by the 41st over we were 178 for five, but Chintaka Jayasinghes dismissal at that stage, triggered a collapse and we finished up not using our quota of fifty overs, said Hathurusingha.
Sri Lanka A were dismissed for 211 in 49th over with Jehan Mubarak making a top score of 82 off 113 balls and Steve Tikolo taking four wickets for 29 runs. Kenya reached the target in the 44th over losing seven wickets in the process to provide a tight finish to the final.
A few more runs from our batsmen and the result could have been different, said Hathurusingha.
He said the tournament afforded competitive cricket to all six countries and added that Zimbabwe A were able to include some of their experienced players in their squad following the cancellation of the tour by Australia. Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were the two Test nations who fielded their A sides in the competition which featured four non-Test playing nations of which three Kenya, Holland and Canada were qualifiers for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
The high altitude and fast grassy wickets provided conditions similar to what the countries will experience during the World Cup next year, said Hathurusingha.
He singled out leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi and fast bowler Akalanka Ganegama as the finds of the tour. He said that Lokuarachchi bowled with great control in all the matches and Ganegama performed consistently well throughout the series. Left-armers Rangana Herath and Ruchira Perera bowled well in patches.
Handling a national side for the first time as coach, Hathurusingha, a former Sri Lanka Test opener said that he immensely enjoyed it. They were a good bunch of guys who co-operated with me very well, he said.
Sri Lanka A team led by Tilan Samaraweera returned home on Wednesday from Namibia. Their next assignment is a three-Test and three one-day international home series against India A who are due on May 9.
Produced by Lake House