July 20, 2019
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    Sri Lanka must adapt to conditions better than at Cardiff - Thirimanne

    June 03, 2019

    Lahiru Thirimanne said Sri Lanka are once bitten, twice shy when it comes to the challenges they’ll face at the ICC Men’s World Cup 2019 after defeat by New Zealand. The Black Caps pace battery were shorn of the injured Tim Southee but exploited helpful conditions to great effect, bowling Sri Lanka out for 136 at Cardiff Wales Stadium. Thirimanne said his side, basing themselves in Cardiff, can turn the 10 wicket defeat into a positive if they take learnings into their next game against Afghanistan in the Welsh capital. “It was tough conditions, to be honest, but we batted very poorly,” he said.

    “We could have easily got to 250 and had a good fight, but we couldn’t manage to do that.“We have another game in this ground so we know what to expect and we should be able to adapt to conditions quicker. “We are playing in England, so sometimes you have to expect the ball to move around and for it to be tough. That’s how cricket goes sometimes. “The best thing we can do is put this game behind us but we need to learn from it.” Thirimanne bore the brunt of early seam and swing, trapped lbw by Matt Henry’s in-dipping delivery with the second ball of the game.
    The 29-year-old, without a one-day cap in nearly two years, is capable of prolific run-getting in the format as proven by his warm-up half-century against a tough Australian attack earlier this week. As Sri Lanka navigate their way through eight further World Cup matches, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne provides a perfect example of circumspection at the crease in 50-over cricket. And Thirimanne encouraged his team-mates to model their batting approach on their captain who has returned after a four-year absence from one-day internationals in rare form. “Dimuth is the example to follow,” he said.
    “It’s not easy as an opener. I know it’s very difficult to bat in these conditions but he fought very hard.” “We knew that New Zealand have a very good bowling attack. They capitalised on conditions really well. “The mood is very good, because we knew this wasn’t our day. “We can’t let our heads get down and walk away. We have to come back strongly.” New Zealand’s Martin Guptill was full of praise for how his team made the most of conditions in Cardiff.
    “I think the beauty about our guys is they can exploit those conditions quite regularly,” Guptill said. “We put the ball in the right areas enough today to get the rewards up front. I think [winning the toss] worked in our favor a wee bit. Even if we had been put in this morning, I think we still would’ve played with the positive intent that we had this afternoon. [It] may not have come off, but we still would’ve gone out there and tried to play as positively as possible.”
    Having bowled Sri Lanka out for 136, the lowest ever ODI total on this ground, New Zealand chased it down in a hurry - They ended up winning with more than 200 balls to spare. When asked if this approach was about setting down a marker for the tournament or improving the team’s net run rate, Guptill said both were important.
    “It’s always nice to have a healthy run rate at the start of a tournament. Once we had them seven, eight down it was, try and knock them over as quick as possible and then knock the runs off as quick as possible as well. We’ve got a healthy run rate at the moment, so hopefully we can take it through the rest of the tournament.”
    Starting with such an emphatic win will have given the New Zealanders a real boost, especially as they have a tricky run-in at the end of the tournament where they face arch-rivals Australia and tournament favourites England in their last two group matches.
    “I guess you want to build that momentum early, and today we did that. Our bowlers put the ball in the right areas and made it difficult for Sri Lanka to really get a big start on. If we bowl first in the next few games, we can hopefully continue to do that and make it difficult for the guys to score. Then if we can come out and play with a bit of freedom like we did this afternoon with the bat, I think we’ll have a pretty successful tournament.” New Zealand’s next match sees them take on Bangladesh at the Oval in London on Wednesday 5 June. – ICC

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