Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana took a jibe at England saying the defending champions underestimated the Islanders at their own peril, and suffered a heavy eight-wicket defeat which could end their semifinal aspirations in the World Cup. Sri Lankan bowlers were spot-on on a spongy-bounced wicket and skittled out England for 156, and then emerged the winner riding on fifties by Sadeera Samarawickrama and Pathum Nissanka. “I think they underestimated our team because we also lost three games and we only won against the Netherlands.
“That’s why the result went our way because we backed our strength. We went in with a simple plan, so that’s why we won the game today,” said Theekshana in the post-match press meet in Bengaluru.
Sri Lankan bowlers had a woeful time in the first four matches, leaking runs aplenty and South Africa had even mustered a 400-plus total.
Theekshana said the Lankans executed their plans much better in this match.
“In the first four games, we didn’t bowl well in the middle overs. I think we lost three games because of our bowling. So, we did some practice sessions to get more discipline, all the fast bowlers did their hard work before the game so they know what they have to do in the game (today),” he said.
Theekshana admitted that the surface at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, often batsmen’s ally, changed its character a bit during this match as the bowlers too got some purchase.
“I have played an IPL match (here) and the pitch was different. (Today) there was a bit of turn, pace and bounce. In that IPL match, the pitch was flat and scoring runs was relatively easy.
“I’m not implying that it was tough to accumulate runs in this match, as we managed to score 150 runs with just two wickets down,” he said.
The mystery spinner lauded pacers Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Kumara for getting some important England wickets.
“In the initial four or five overs, we conceded a few runs due to our inability to find the right length. However, when Angelo took the ball, he used his experience to adjust the length. This allowed us to regain our discipline in bowling.
“Lahiru then maintained it. We took constant wickets as England went into a defensive mode. So, we had a chance to take wickets, that’s what we’d planned here,” said Theekshana.
The victory over England, Theekshana said, will help Sri Lanka to approach upcoming matches with more confidence.
“Our confidence as a team has increased a lot. In this match we got a very big victory. We are looking to play well in the upcoming four matches and reach the semifinals,” he added.
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