Nic Pothas with former Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga © AFP
Nic Pothas with former Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga © AFP

After Sri Lanka hammered India in the series opener at Dharamsala, the hosts sealed the three-match series 2-1. Sri Lanka had a chance to win their maiden series playing in India. Sri Lanka’s interim head coach Nic Pothas stated that their woeful run in ODIs in 2017 was due to players’ repetitive mistakes.

What we tried to do was to get as many players as possible who are good players of spin bowling into the squad’

“It’s a tough one. In hindsight, we can look back and pick holes in the system. But we had a strategy. What we tried to do was to get as many players as possible who are good players of spin bowling into the squad. If you want to play India, you want to have players who can play spin in the middle order. That strategy is sound. But unfortunately, we lost two wickets in one over and that put us behind the black ball little bit,” said Pothas.

At one stage, Sri Lanka were comfortably placed at 136 for 1. However, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal pulled things back for India and restricted Sri Lanka for 215 in 44.5 overs at Visakhapatnam. Upul Tharanga was in ominous touch, but his dismissal at 95 changed the script dramatically. In the end, riding on Shikhar Dhawan’s 12th ton and Shreyas Iyer’s consecutive fifty, India mauled Sri Lanka by 8 wickets.

Turning point

“Obviously not enough runs on the board. In the 28th over we were well ahead of the game. Then there were two soft dismissals in one over. Very disappointing,” asserted Pothas.

Sri Lanka were whitewashed by South Africa, India and Pakistan in the shorter format in 2017. In addition, they managed to draw a three-match series at home versus Bangladesh, and lost to visiting side Zimbabwe. They also fared poorly in Champions Trophy in England and Wales.

“If I summed up our ODI cricket, I would say we didn’t learn fast enough. In Tests though, it is the opposite. The guys have learned quickly and adapted. In ODIs, the same errors keep happening. We keep crossing the street and getting run over by the same bus over and over. So I leave that up to the selectors and the new coach (Chandika Hathurusingha). I obviously will have my suggestions to make. But if you keep making the same mistakes, you can’t keep living,” concluded a dejected Pothas.