Spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan was critical of the Sri Lankan cricket team’s current run in international cricket, saying the Islanders have forgotten how to win matches over the years after they suffered another defeat at the hands of India at home in the ongoing ODI series.
On Tuesday, July 20, in Colombo, Sri Lanka failed to defend a total of 275 despite reducing the Indian cricket team to 193/7 at one stage, as the tourists chased down the target with three wickets in hand and five balls to spare to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series.
Muralitharan told ESPNCricinfo after Sri Lanka’s ODI series loss to India: “I told you before, Sri Lanka didn’t know the winning ways, they have forgotten the winning ways for the last so many years. It has been tough for them because they have not (known) how to win a match.”
The Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga was impressive with the ball, taking three wickets to leave India struggling at 193/7 in 35.1 overs, but Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka made a big mistake by keeping him for the final overs and Deepak Chahar snatched the game from the hosts.
He further explained, “I have told you before if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in first 10-15 overs, India is going to struggle and actually India struggled. Big effort from (Deepak) Chahar and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) made them win. And also they (Sri Lanka) made some mistakes.
They should have bowled Wanindu Hasaranga, rather than keeping him, they should have bowled him and try to take a wicket. If they would have taken one wicket out of Bhuvneshwar or Chahar, with two other tail-enders coming, it would have been tough to chase 8-9 runs an over…they made some mistakes but it is an inexperienced side.”
Following the defeat, Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur was seen having a heated argument with the new skipper Shanaka on the field that made the headlines and Muralitharan suggested the coach should have stayed calm and conveyed his message to the new skipper.
The legendary spinner added, “I think the coach was acting like, showing himself disappointed and everything, rather than just calm down and send some messages. Tell the best bowler to ball and try to take the wicket rather than try to keep them till the end and defend it, it never works like that.”
He signed off, “Seven wickets gone, one wicket and match would have been sealed but they didn’t know the winning ways, they have forgotten, it is a hard time for Sri Lankan cricket to come to winning ways.”
(With PTI Inputs)