Angelo not keen on experiments?


by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews’ post-match media conference after Sri Lanka won the fourth ODI against South Africa on Sunday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five match series suggested that he wasn’t too keen to experiment in the dead rubber in Colombo on Wednesday and instead wanted a 4-1 happy ending.

"We haven’t taken a call on that as yet, but our main target is to win the next game and make it 4-1. We might do one or two changes, but we haven’t made a call on anything. If you look at our line-up, we have three seniors and the rest are young players. We don’t want 11 freshers coming in. We are 3-1 up and we want to win 4-1," Mathews said.

The Sri Lankan skipper will do well to understand that the Proteas arrived in Sri Lanka having rested two of their main match winners in Jacques Kallis and Dale Styen. While Graeme Smith has been out injured, Hashim Amla missed three of the four ODIs in the current series.

Sri Lanka is a team that heavily relies on the team’s three senior players – Kumar Sangakkara, Tillekeratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene – and with the series won and nothing at stake, the hosts will do well to check out on what the future has to offer.

Leading up to the fourth ODI, Mathews might have been under some sort of pressure as Sri Lanka had taken a 2-0 lead in his absence due to a suspension and soon when he returned to the side for the third ODI, the team lost. "I was a bit worried after we lost the toss. The wicket looked a bit slow and hard to score runs on it. I was worried after they got off to a good start as well. They were 100 for one in 17 overs. I thought we were in for a big run chase, but the way we pulled back things was brilliant. Ajantha Mendis was so special today and so was Lasith Malinga with all those crucial wickets," Mathews added.

"When Hashim (Amla) was in the middle they were cruising and he didn’t look as if he was going to get out. The way our guys showed character was unbelievable. We hung in there and we were patient until they made the mistakes. Overall the bowlers pulled it back for us," Mathews added.

Mathews also explained the decision to open batting with Mahela Jayawardene which he called was a tactical move. "We made a tactical decision. It was to surprise them. We were chasing 239 and if Mahela gave us good start the chase would have been easier for us. The target was not to concede wickets early on and put pressure back on them."

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