Graham Ford was once again appointed Sri Lanka's coach in 2016    Getty Images
Graham Ford was once again appointed Sri Lanka’s coach in 2016 Getty Images

Sri Lanka s coach Graham Ford is happy with the team s batting despite their defeat in the second One-Day International against South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban. Chasing a big total of 307, the Lankan batting line-up failed miserably and were bowled out for 186 in the 38th over and lost the match by 121 runs. This was their second defeat in the series with three more matches to go. South Africa have taken the lead of 2-0 and for Sri Lanka to win the series, they have to win the remaining matches, which is surely a herculean task for them.

As reported by ESPNCricinfo, after the match, coach Ford defended his team s batting failure. “I was quite excited with what I saw today. Unfortunately none of our batsmen converted starts but they certainly showed they have got the talent to play at this level and to make an impact at this level. I feel when I look at the number of games so many of them have played and the ages of some of them, if they are looked after and shown the right kind of support, in time, they could be a very good Sri Lankan side,” he said.

Ford also backed his thought process by adding that these players do not have any experience of playing in South Africa or in foreign conditions and said this experience will help them in improving. For some of the guys it’s a bit of a jolt to come and see how tough it is to play in foreign conditions and to play in South Africa,” Ford said. “From that point of view, it’s got to be a learning opportunity. If we are realistic and we look at the players we’ve got and the ages and the amount of games they have played, it is about learning and it is about improving. At times we’ve shown improvement, at times I have hoped for more improvement. On tonight’s performance, I was quite excited about what I saw.”

With only six months left for Champions Trophy, where this Lankan side will be facing South Africa in group stage, the coach is worried and expressed it honestly. “It’s pretty clear there is a lot of improvement that needs to take place. From what I saw from some of these young batsmen, they showed they can handle this sort of bowling attack,” he said. “Conditions in England might not suit them as much as today’s conditions so we will have to do a bit of thinking about balance of side and the way we can try and disrupt them in those conditions but we will have to improve a lot in all three disciplines.”

Further, Ford also expressed his concerns over Angelo Mathews‘ absence from the team as he has been an excellent player of the white ball. “In white-ball cricket, Angelo is a fantastic all-rounder. He is the leader of the group so it is a setback but if I look at where we are at, it gives us a chance to groom a couple of other guys in the set-up and hopefully it will pay us back down the line.”

The team s batting is majorly dependant on stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga and wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal. But both haven t been able to inspire the team by setting an example. Chandimal has recovered from thumb injury, which kept him away from playing in late 2016.

“In recent weeks, he has started to look a lot better, started to time the ball and shown he is not far away,” He started this tour a little under-done because of that serious finger injury but we all know what a capable player he is. He will get one score score hopefully in the next game and hopefully he won’t look back,” Ford further added.