Nic Pothas, Sri Lanka’s coach, was left frustrated at the lack of fight by his players after they went down by seven wickets in the third One-Day International against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (October 18).
The loss, the tenth in a row for Sri Lanka, handed Pakistan an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for a meagre 208 in the 49th over with Hasan Ali, the seamer, returning career-best figures of 5 for 34. The modest target was overhauled by Pakistan in the 43rd over with Imam-ul-Haq, the 21-year-old debutant, hitting a hundred.
Asked about Sri Lanka’s batting failure, Pothas was at a loss for words. “The honest answer is I don’t know,” said a visibly upset Pothas. “We can have so many meetings and that many practices, but once you cross that line, you need to show a little bit of fight. It’s a tough situation. We have seen the same thing happening over and over again and something needs to change.”
Only Upul Tharanga put up some resistance following up his 112 not out in the second game with a resolute 61.
“I probably have to sleep over it and come with a solution,” suggested Pothas. “We would like to be solution-based as much as possible. All I would say is that we expect, and Sri Lanka expect, things to change. It has been a long time now.
“As I said during the Test series, I am interested in picking characters. That’s a decision that we have to speak with the selectors and find out whether we have characters in that room. We saw what happened in the Test series. Once you have good characters and fighters, things happen.
“At the moment, it maybe harsh to say, maybe I have not seen it as yet from this group. I may be speaking out of turn, but I am not too sure whether too many people [in this team] have booked the ticket for the World Cup. ”
Pothas said there were no problems in the pitch, but his team has not crossed 250 in eight games. “It is a problem,” he admitted. “The reasons why are pretty obvious. I can’t answer that question. It looked a good wicket. No demons on that wicket. Pakistan have a good bowling attack, but it certainly is not a 208 all out wicket. That’s for sure. I would just like to see a bit more fight. I am not seeing that character coming out at the moment.”
The remaining matches are in Sharjah on Friday and Monday.