Despite the local conditions and the pitches not supporting him, Mitchell Starc has been a handful in Sri Lanka. The left-arm pacer was Australia’s only bright spot in the three-match test series as he bowled some brilliant spells throughout the course of the series. It was a shame as none of his efforts could come in a winning cause. Starc was on fire in the first ODI as well, as he got three wickets and became the quickest individual to get to 100 ODI wickets.
Ahead of the second ODI, Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews spoke about a unique strategy to counter Starc. Mathews mentioned that his batsmen wouldn’t try to be aggressive against Starc, and would be rather content to just play him out.
“We have a clear plan for him – to refrain from attacking him so that we don’t give him wickets,” Mathews said. “If we can score 40 or 50 runs off him, we feel that we can catch up against the other bowlers. Because he’s bowling well, we should give him that respect. But at the same time, we also have to put his loose balls away.”
Mathews opened up on the first ODI, and clarified his moves for the game. “We also have Amila Aponso, who bowled brilliantly, and also Dilruwan Perera, who’s very experienced in international cricket. I wanted to bring Sandakan on against guys like Matthew Wade and Faulkner, who haven’t seen him much. He didn’t bowl that well in the last Test, so he’s a bit low on confidence. I wanted to make sure to bring him on later and give him that protection,” Mathews said.
The Sri Lankan skipper was also cautious about Australian all-rounder James Faulkner, whose four-wicket haul eventually made the difference in the game. “With James Faulkner, his variations were excellent on that pitch, because of how dry it was,” Mathews added. “We struggled with those variations, so we’ll come with a plan tomorrow.”