Malinga frustrated as familiar failings scupper Sri Lanka

By Sports Desk March 13, 2019

Lasith Malinga was scathing of his Sri Lanka team-mates after another poor display with the bat contributed to their six-wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa on Wednesday.

The tourists were rolled out for just 189 in the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth as the Proteas took a 4-0 lead with one match to come in the series.

Only two of Sri Lanka's top six managed double figures and they were indebted to a late blitz from number nine Isuru Udana, who crashed seven fours and four sixes in his entertaining 78 from only 57 balls.

Following the second ODI, which saw the visitors skittled for only 138, Malinga said his side "must understand their own value" on the international scene and the veteran seamer was similarly critical after this latest loss at St George's Park.

"You can't say much," said the captain. "We are going on the same path. The wicket was very suitable for the bat, but the batsmen didn't realise the value and the opportunity to play a long innings.

"Being six down inside 18 overs, it's very hard to come back. We always talk about taking responsibility and putting our hands up to bat through the full 50 overs, but the last few years, we've been struggling to do that.

"Before we get to the World Cup, we have to realise that and get there. Some people don't realise their value and do their job for the national team.

"This is a good, tough side to play before the World Cup. All the players need to realise these are the conditions we need to prepare for at the World Cup."

Winning skipper Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, was glad to see David Miller and JP Duminy steer the chase home after he and Quinton de Kock had fallen when well set.

"It's really pleasing to see JP and Dave finish it off for us," he said. "That's what we want our middle order to do for us.

"Big picture, it's not the worst thing that Quinton and I got out today, because it gave those guys a chance.

"We're playing some really good cricket. All the stuff that needed to happen over the last six months or year has happened. One more [match] to go, and then the guys off to IPL, and then it's an exciting two months for us."

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  • Karunaratne hits a century as Sri Lanka make light work of New Zealand Karunaratne hits a century as Sri Lanka make light work of New Zealand

    Sri Lanka cruised to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand as Dimuth Karunaratne scored his first century in 23 innings on day five of the first Test in Galle.

    Karunaratne - who had reached 71 not out to lead Sri Lanka to 133-0 at the close of day four - scored 122 as he maintained his perfect record as Test captain.

    Tom Latham's drop let Karunaratne off the hook early in Sunday's play and, though the hosts eventually lost their skipper when he edged Tim Southee behind, the damage was already done.

    Angelo Matthews (28 not out) picked up the mantle and with the umpires granting an extension prior to lunch he sealed the win, and 60 ICC Test Championship points, when he nudged Trent Boult for a single, with Sri Lanka successfully chasing down 267, bettering their previous record run chase at Galle (99).

    After a superb knock in the last session of day four, Karunaratne picked up where he left off, clipping New Zealand's spin bowlers around the pitch with ease.

    Karunaratne hit six fours and one maximum, with that huge hit over midwicket from Ajaz Patel bringing up a 150 partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (64), who was dismissed three overs later when the Black Caps reviewed an initially unsuccessful lbw appeal.

    Kusal Mendis (10) was quick to stamp his authority on proceedings - hitting William Somerville for four on his second delivery before he launched a six over long on.

    Mendis' cameo was a short one, though, with Patel drawing a lazy sweep that Sri Lanka's number three wedged straight to Jeet Raval.

    But Matthews steadied the ship, keeping the strike ticking over between himself and Karunaratne, and the latter ended his long wait for a ninth Test hundred when he lobbed Patel for four.

    With the hosts firmly in control, Sri Lanka's batsmen picked up the pace and, though Southee ended Karunaratne's innings before Kusal Perera (23) sent a Boult delivery to Mitchell Santner, Matthews gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the two-match series four overs later.

  • Karunaratne and Thirimanne put Sri Lanka in sight of victory with record stand Karunaratne and Thirimanne put Sri Lanka in sight of victory with record stand

    Sri Lanka put themselves in a strong position to win the first Test against New Zealand as their run chase began with an unbroken century stand.

    Set 268 for victory in Galle, Sri Lanka were handsomely placed on 133-0 when fading light stopped play late on day four.

    Dimuth Karunaratne reached 71 not out and Lahiru Thirimanne was undefeated on 57, in what was already a record first-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka in the fourth innings of a Test.

    New Zealand, who sit second in the ICC Test rankings, stretched their overnight lead of 177 to 267, with BJ Watling adding 14 to his overnight score before being caught behind for 77 by Niroshan Dickwella off Lahiru Kumara.

    William Somerville made an unbeaten 40, with Trent Boult cracking a rapid 26 and last man Ajaz Patel weighing in with 14, the lower-order batting success in the innings of 285 all out suggesting it was a wicket ripe for scoring on Saturday.

    That was how it continued to look as Sri Lanka began chasing down their target, although Tim Southee and Trent Boult gave Karunaratne and Thirimanne cause for early worry.

    Thirimanne was well beaten by a ball from Southee that narrowly cleared off stump, before moments later Karunaratne almost nicked a delicious delivery from Boult.

    It was often Karunaratne who was riding his luck, and it was not until the 22nd over that Sri Lanka, ranked sixth among Test nations, registered a boundary.

    Later, Watling could not cling to a difficult chance as Karunaratne got a bottom edge off Somerville, the ball going through the wicketkeeper to bring up the two runs that took him to a half-century.

    Tom Latham at short leg missed out on a sharp chance as Karunaratne used up another life, and the same batsman was fortunate not to be stumped by Watling in the next over.

    Somerville, a 35-year-old off-spinner playing just his second Test match, took three first-innings wickets and was unlucky to gain no further reward as Sri Lanka edged towards their target in the gathering gloom.

  • Latham eyes lead of over 200 after Watling rescues Black Caps Latham eyes lead of over 200 after Watling rescues Black Caps

    Tom Latham believes setting Sri Lanka in excess of 200 will give New Zealand a great chance of winning the first Test after BJ Watling dug in on an eventful day three in Galle.

    Lasith Embuldeniya (4-71) claimed two early wickets as Sri Lanka reduced the Black Caps to 25-3 after Niroshan Dickwella (61) and Suranga Lakmal (40) got them up to 267 all out - securing a first-innings lead of 18.

    Watling (63 not out) and Latham (45) made key runs as the spinners piled on the pressure with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor falling cheaply. 

    The tourists were leading by 177 on 195-7 when stumps were called due to bad light on Friday and Latham thinks Sri Lanka could be up against it if Watling and the tail can hang around on day four.

    "I think anything above 200, we are not too far off from that," the opening batsman said.

    "The important thing for us is to come back tomorrow morning and put up those partnerships like we did today. Like Tim Southee (23), Will Somerville can help us build a partnership with BJ, who has been outstanding today.

    "Hopefully we can stitch that total to make as many as possible. We know how tough it can be in the fourth innings to chase down a score.

    "It's a surface where when you get in, you can score, but sometimes things happen quickly in this part of the world. This wicket is no different.

    "Through the three innings we have seen wickets lost in a hurry. Hopefully we can put pressure on the Sri Lankans and the wicket keeps deteriorating and the spinners will come into play."

    Dickwella is confident Sri Lanka can pull off a successful run chase if they wrap up New Zealand's second innings before too long.

    "The wicket is turning but it is slow turn. Slower than what we usually get in Galle. Even if we get a target of 225 or so, I think we can chase it down." said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

    "Batting fourth will be tough on this wicket, no doubt, but we have a decent batting line-up. Those chasing stats are what teams have done in past.

    "We're a different team and this is a different opposition. We have to play according the situation. Our batters will do the job, I feel."

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