No doubt it was a dead rubber but like in the last home series against South Africa, Sri Lanka produced their best form after they had lost the series.
“This is all about hard work. Credit goes to all the players and the coach and the supporting staff. They have done a wonderful job on and off the field. That’s what changed in this game. You have to believe in yourself,” said Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal after Sri Lanka had inflicted on England their heaviest ODI defeat by way of runs.
“The other thing is that we were mainly concerned about our fielding. As I said you can’t control your batting and bowling, but you can control your fielding. If you can control that then your batting and bowling falls into place. That’s what we did as a team.
“This is a really happy moment, beating the no. 1 team in the world. Credit goes to all the players, firstly Dikka and Sadeera, who gave us a really good start. They are the ones who set the tone. After that Mendis batted really well. Also when it comes to bowling, Kasun and Dushmantha were brilliant. Overall this is a really good performance, and I’m sure the boys will continue this going forward.
“We all know we are a young team. We just want to keep improving with every game. That’s what we always discuss at our team meetings. The main thing is fielding. If you can keep that energy and good attitude when you are fielding, other things will fall into place. That’s what we did as a team.
“We had lost the series when we got here, but we were intent on regaining form ahead of the T20I and Tests. I’m glad three of our Test batsmen made runs today. We’re hopeful we can take that confidence into the next two series.”
The captain had a word of praise for the struggling Kusal Mendis who finally came good to score a splendid fifty off 33 balls that comprised six sixes.
“We trusted him. We looked at his fielding, and that was the No. 1 reason we trusted him. His attitude on the field was great. We know that when you have a player like that, he can get into form very quickly. We know how good a batsman he is and we had a lot of trust in that. He took that responsibility on and played well for the team,” said Chandimal.
“It’s not just Mendis, but a lot of players experience ups and downs. And that’s not just in cricket, even in family life you have ups and downs. It can happen to anyone. Kusal is our future and everyone in the team trusts him. He has come back to form, and I’m sure he’ll take that forward.”
Chandimal appealed to the spectators and fans to have faith in the team because it is their support that encourages them.
“When the ground is full of spectators and fans, we are really happy when we play, because we know they are with us. Today being a work day maybe not many people were able to come”.
“Whether we are winning or losing, it’s the fans who encourage us and spur us on. Right now we ask that the spectators and media to give us whatever support they can. If we get that support, we will be able to grow even more.”
Chandimal said that they were still in the process of looking at a few players before the World Cup next year.
“Today we gave a few new cricketers the chance to see where they are. Our big picture is the World Cup. Before we get there if we can give the youngsters in the team opportunities, that’s what we are hoping to do.”
MORGAN UNHAPPY WITH ENGLAND’S PERFORMANCE
England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan described England’s performance as “extremely poor” and hoped the experience could prove beneficial to them ahead of the World Cup.
"For 50 overs today we were under serious pressure and we didn't have a lot of answers. That gives us a good opportunity to go back and look at everything from preparation right down to the end result. That's always better when you've been put under a lot of pressure,” said Morgan who rested himself from this match allowing Jos Buttler to take over the reins.
"We didn't take our game forward today. There were areas it went backwards. Our fielding was extremely poor, our attitude was very poor and that has to be addressed. We'll have to break down everything from yesterday's practice. Did we do too much the day before the game? Did we overcook ourselves? We might have been a little bit fatigued. I don't know. We will break it down and find an answer because otherwise we're just papering over the cracks which is not what we want to do," he said.