We could not exploit India's rustiness, says Mahela

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 24, 2012 05:22 hrs

​Losing the first ODI of the series was obviously a big disappointment for us. We wanted to start with a bang and try to exploit any rustiness from India, but we started poorly and helped India bat us out of the game. 

Credit to India, for they fully capitalised on a sloppy start by us. They were rusty, especially Sehwag, and we should have dismissed both openers early. Unfortunately for us it did not take long for Sehwag and Virat Kohli to rediscover their best form.

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With hindsight I think we should have restricted India to around 275 and that would have given us a decent chance. Those missed chances though cost us dearly. When you are playing a side like India you simply have to take every opportunity that comes your way.

The other big blow for us was losing Nuwan Kulasekara. He is a really dependable member of the attack and I rely upon him a lot, especially in the powerplay overs. Covering his five overs was really tough and now we also face being without him for the rest of the series.

Chasing down such a large total was obviously going to be difficult – in fact it would have been a record chase had we won. I still felt we had a chance and the fact that we got within 21 runs was pleasing.  Great credit for that is due to Sanga. He held together the innings brilliantly. It was not easy to score freely against some good bowling, but he showed all his experience and skill. The big problem was that after Upul’s dismissal there were no other top partnerships.

Thisara Perera is a huge talent and very dangerous in such circumstances, but he was left with a bit too much to do in the end. If there had been one good cameo by myself, Dinesh Chandimal or Angelo Mathews then we might have overhauled the target.

Today is a new game now and a very important match for us. We have to level the series and go to Colombo all-square. To do that we need to be far more clinical in the execution of our game plans and take all opportunities; even the half-chances.

Professional Management Group

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