Niroshan Dickwella acknowledged Sri Lanka were far from where they want to be on the field as they slipped to a second consecutive loss against South Africa in the five-match ODI series in Dambulla. South Africa chased down 244 with four wickets in hand after half-centuries from Angelo Mathews and Dickwella lifted the hosts to a modest total.
Sri Lanka have now lost their last ten ODIs against South Africa and are finding it hard to find a solution to the issue. “We made mistakes throughout the game,” Dickwella said after the match on Wednesday (August 1). “If we want to win a match, we can’t make so many mistakes. Maybe you can make two or three mistakes and fix those things within the game itself and win the match. But if you make mistakes through the match, it’s hard to win.”
Three catches put down in the first six overs of the chase hurt Sri Lanka as Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla gave the visitors a brisk start – scoring 91 for the opening wicket in 14 overs before the latter fell for 43. De Kock continued to make 83 while Faf du Plessis contributed 49 before South Africa crossed the line. In those three catches put down, de Kock was dropped twice while Amla was reprieved once as Sri Lanka were left frustrated and with plenty of what-ifs.
The third ODI now becomes a must-win for them as they look to keep the series alive and not add another loss to their long tally against South Africa. They can take heart from Dickwella’s return to form and Mathews being among the runs as well.
“I was working with the batting coach Thilan Samaraweera and coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and I did some changes in my batting and I was worried about those things,” Dickwella revealed. “Then we had one-to-one meetings, and I said I’m going to play like how I used to play, and not think about my technique. I’m going to work on my technique in the nets, but I’m going to play my normal game like I used to play when I started my career. That’s what I did when I went to the middle today. It worked out for me.”
Sri Lanka were dented early on by Lungi Ngidi as they slipped to 13 for 2. Dickwella counter-attacked by taking on Kagiso Rabada to get off the blocks. While it did take the innings forward, Dickwella was dismissed in the 26th overs – with 123 on the board – and Sri Lanka never really recovered from that blow.
“If I go to a negative mindset after we lost two wickets, definitely I’m going to get out,” Dickwella said. “I didn’t think about the wickets. It was not my mistake to lose those wickets, so if I think about those things, and bat as a reaction to that, it’s not going to help me. I spoke to my partners, and we wanted to build a partnership. Then Angelo Mathews came and it really helped me because he is the senior player and he always talks to me. He always advises me how to play and how to take the calculated risk. That helped me.”
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