We can’t afford to relax: Mathews
Colombo, July 27: Sri Lanka head into the third ODI in Colombo in an upbeat mood after trouncing India by nine wickets at Hambantota to level the five-match series 1-1. One player who played a starring role in the hosts’ thumping win was Angelo Mathews. His three-wicket haul, combined with Thisara Perera’s efficient display, ensured that the Lankans got back into the series in impressive fashion.
Mathews spoke about Lanka’s preparations during the pre-match press conference ahead of the third ODI, at the R.Premadasa Stadium.
On beating India convincingly in the second ODI
Even though it was a convincing victory the other day and we were really good in all three departments, we can't relax at any given time, especially against the Indians, because they can come back hard at us.
On his recent bowling performances
I've always enjoyed bowling as much as I can. I had a few issues with injuries in the past, but in the recent past I've been bowling pretty well and my fitness is pretty good. I'm hoping to continue in the same form as long as possible.
On SL’s preparations ahead of the third ODI
We did well in our training in the last couple of days. We're prepared for every game. We'll get a good wicket at RIPS [R. Premadasa Stadium] and we're not worried about changes in this game because we played well in the last game.
On Sri Lanka not having won a series involving India in a while
We had a really bad patch in the recent past. For about six to eight months, we didn't do well as a team, but I think we've picked up now and are doing really well. Our form is pretty good and our batsmen, bowlers and fielders are doing pretty well. It's just that we need to be consistent and try and do our best.
On batting under lights at the Premadasa
It's pretty good and we've chased pretty well and we won against Pakistan. The wicket doesn't change too much when you bat second.
On Thisara Perera
We both [serve] as all-rounders in the team. We enjoy each other's company and we help each other a lot. Thisara has been wonderful in the recent past and he's been very consistent with bat and ball. We all hope he'll continue in the same manner.
On Isuru Udana’s poor performance in the previous game
When you play your first game, you always feel a bit of pressure. It's just that. He's a very good bowler and we've seen him in T20s. He’s done a wonderful job for Sri Lanka in T20s. We need to back him and give him the confidence that he needs.
On Thisara Perera’s improved displays
He’s started working really hard. All the players work hard, and he works hard as well. He's very committed to training and he wants to get better and better each and every day. He goes to the senior players, talks to them and learns all the time.
On making plans for individual Indian players
We have plans for individuals but we don’t [play against individuals]. All six seven or batsmen that India have can make big scores, so we don’t look at them individually; we look at them as a unit.
On bowling with the new ball
I've always enjoyed bowling with the new ball. For my type of bowling, there'll be help with the new ball. It seams a bit when the wicket helps and my job is to keep it tight until the bowlers [who follow] come and attack.
On whether India's batting was top-heavy
When it comes to the top-order, they make a huge difference. If we can get a few wickets early on, we can put pressure on the middle-order batsmen. In the first two games they didn’t have the time to get set and score.