Bowling first was a collective decision says Bhanuka, after heavy defeat
Australian player Glenn Maxwell (L) hugs Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga at the end of the first international Twenty20 cricket match at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday. – AFP
ADELAIDE, Sunday - After his team suffered a 134-run defeat in the opening Twenty20 international against Australia in Adelaide, batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa justified Lasith Malinga’s decision to bowl first, saying it was the collective call since they didn’t know what to expect from the surface.
After inserting Australia to bat, Sri Lanka were buried under a mountain of runs, with the hosts zooming to 233/2 on the back of David Warner’s 56-ball century – his first in T20Is. Australia then followed it up with a clinical performance with the ball to limit the visiting side to 99/9.
“It was a short stay for us in Adelaide, so we didn’t know what sort of wicket it would be and we knew it wouldn’t be bad for us to bat second,” Rajapaksa said. “So we didn’t want to take a chance, and that was a collective decision of the players and we decided to bowl first and look at how the bowlers would go. But it was clinical to us.”
“We had some plans to keep them under a good score but things didn’t come off for us as well as we planned during the tour. But we don’t want to lose our hope and we don’t want to put our heads down.”
Fighting against the pressure of a daunting total, Sri Lanka lost several wickets to miscued hits and expansive strokes, and Rajapaksa thought there was plenty to be learned from the way Australia approached their innings.
Though they collected over 68% of their run through boundaries, Australia ran hard between the wickets, and when they did find the boundary, pierced the gaps on the vast outfield expertly. The large dimensions of grounds in Australia offer mean that finding boundaries isn’t always easy, and necessitates efficient running between the wickets.
“Looking at Warner, Finch and Maxwell and how they batted, I think there’s a lot to learn,” Rajapaksa said. “Especially the way they ran between wickets, and I’m sure we got a lot to learn a lot about that. In Australia, it’s about hitting the gaps and getting the doubles. There’s a lot of runs on the boundaries.
“We’d like to have another couple of days to practice on, but we’ve got so much travelling as well so we need to adapt really soon. So we’re hoping to get ourselves back together and deliver better.”