Muttiah Muralitharan believes the current Sri Lankan team have forgotten how to win games as they have been on a downward spiral for quite a few years now. Sri Lankan went down fighting in the second ODI, with India winning the encounter by three wickets in the final over of the game.
However, the hosts were in with a great chance of leveling the series as India were 193-7 at one point while chasing 276 for victory. But the Lankans were unable to close out the match, with bowling all-rounders Deepak Chahar (69*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19*) forging an unbeaten 84-run partnership for the eighth wicket to see India home.
Speaking in a chat on ESPNCricinfo, Muralitharan predicted that India would struggle if Sri Lanka found ways to take some early wickets. He stated:
“I have told before, Sri Lanka don’t know the winning ways. They have forgotten how to win for the last so many years. It’s tough for them. I told before the lunch, if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in the first 10-15 overs India is going to struggle and actually India struggled. Big effort from Chahar and Bhuvneshwar their and they made them win.”
Batting first, Sri Lanka put on a competitive score of 276 runs on the board, thanks to some late heroics from Chamika Karunaratne, who remained unbeaten on 44 off 33 deliveries. Charitha Asalanka (65) and Avisha Fernando (50) were the other two major contributors with the bat for the hosts.
Muttiah Muralitharan highlights the mistake Sri Lanka made in the 2nd ODI
Muralitharan believes Sri Lanka made a mistake by not bowling out Wanindu Hasaranga’s overs earlier in the game.
The Lankans kept the leg-spinner’s overs for the latter stages of the match instead of going for the kill when India were seven wickets down. Muralitharan added in this regard:
“They did some mistakes, they should have bowled out Hasaranga. Rather than keeping him, they should have bowled him and tried to take a wicket. If they had taken one wicket out of Bhuvneshwar or Chahar, then two tailenders are coming and it would have been tough to chase about 8 or 9 runs per over. Its an inexperienced side.”
Sri Lankan coach Mickey Arthur was caught numerous times on camera disappointed during India’s chase. Muttiah Muralitharan reckons the coach should have played a more proactive role by sending in a message to get Wanindu Hasaranga into the attack. The spinner returned with figures of 3-37 and was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts. Muralitharan explained:
“Showing himself (On Mickey Arthur) disappointed and everything, rather, just calm down and send some messages. Tell the best bowler to bowl and try to take the wicket. Rather than keeping them for until the end and trying to defend it. It never works like that.”
Team India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. The third and final ODI will be played on 23 July.