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The stand-in skipper of Sri Lanka Upul Tharanga in his post-match presentation revealed his bowlers bowled well initially to keep South African openers under check which further saw southpaw Quinton de Kock and batting mainstay Hashim Amla getting off to a slow start in their opener of 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at the Oval.
“I think we bowled well at the start. Bowlers came back strongly after the Hashim-Faf partnership [for second wicket],” Tharanga said at the presentation.
Tharanga is hopeful of giving his best against India while stating they would be putting more focus on their batting — to register a decent target against Virat Kohli-led side who are scheduled to player their opener against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday (June 04 ) at Edgbaston.
“We play against India and we have to come back strongly, especially in the batting to get the big scores,” Tharanga expressed.
The 32-year-old Tharanga (57 off 69 balls) was the top scorer for his side after being bundled out for 203 in 41.3 overs. On the other side, left-handed Kushal Perera remained not out on 44, as his innings was comprised off five boundaries.
Tharanga further revealed it was a good effort from the bowlers to restrict South Africa under 300-run mark after significant hundred from Hashim Amla at the top.
“Under 300 is a good effort [from bowlers],” Tharanga said.
Tharanga believes not picking up wickets in the middle overs made things difficult while stating left-arm slow bowler Lakshan Sandakan could be useful in their second fixture against India on June 8 at The Oval.
“We couldn’t get wickets in the middle overs. Maybe Sandakan can be useful in the next game,” Tharanaga stated.
Tharanga further revealed bowlers bowled tight length in the initial stage while failing to capitalise on taking the wickets.
“We bowled well in the first 10-15 overs, but didn’t get many wickets,” Tharanga remarked.
Moreover, Tharanga has indirectly blamed his batsman for playing the irresponsible shots after having a flying start. At one stage the Lankans were 69 for one in 8.2 overs which further saw them losing the plot, as they kept on losing the wickets at regular intervals.
“We played some loose shots today,” Tharanga further added.
Only three batsmen, who showed some responsibility with the bat from Sri Lanka included skipper Tharanga himself followed by Niroshan Dickewella (41 off 33) and Kusal Perera (44 off 66).