Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan feels that Sri Lanka’s current cricket team has forgotten how to win matches over the years, insisting that the sport is currently going through a difficult phase in the island nation.
Sri Lanka, under a new captain Dasun Shanaka, failed to defend a total of 275 for nine in the second ODI, allowing India to pursue the goal with three wickets in hand and five balls to keep, despite reducing the visitors to 193 by seven in one stage.
“I told you before that Sri Lanka didn’t know the winning ways, they forgot the winning ways for so many years. It was difficult for them because they didn’t (know) how to win a match,” Muralitaran told ESPNCricinfo.
Foot spinner Wanindu Hasaranga had claimed three weeks to leave India, fighting at 193 for seven in 35.1 overs, but Sri Lankan captain Shanaka made a big mistake by holding him back for the final overs.
“I’ve told you before, if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in the first 10-15 overs, India will fight and in fact India is fighting. Great efforts by (Deepak) Chahar and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) made them win.
“And they (Sri Lanka) also made some mistakes. He should have bowled Vanindu Hasaranga, instead of holding him, he should have bowled him and tried to take a wicket,” he said.
“If they were to take one door out of Bhuvneshwar or Chahar when two other tails came, it would be difficult to pursue 8-9 collisions … they made some mistakes, but this is an inexperienced country.”
Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur looked disappointed when he made a few animated gestures from the locker room towards the end of the game as
Chahar (69) and Bhuvneshwar (19) overcame the goal with an undefeated stand of 84 moves to give a minor India a relentless lead of 2-0 in a series of three games.
Muralitaran said Arthur should have remained calm and delivered his message to the new captain.
“I think the coach behaved like that, he was disappointed and everything, instead of just calming down and sending some messages,” he said.
“Tell the best bowler to ball and try to take the gate instead of trying to hold them until the end and protect it, it never works that way.”
“Seven wickets have disappeared, one wicket and match would have been sealed, but they did not know the winning ways, they forgot, it is time for cricket from Sri Lanka to reach winning roads,” he said.