The 3-0 score line in the India-Sri Lanka series is not that surprising considering how underprepared the visitors were going into the series all of a sudden. Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews had admitted even before the matches had started that they were not in the right frame of mind to win considering the circumstances under which the tour was organised. At the same time, Mathews has also candidly stated that even if the series wasn't arranged hastily, and was a properly organised one, they would still have had it tough considering India's strength at home.
Going into the Hyderabad ODI, Sri Lanka knew that they needed to win the game to stay alive in the series. Thus, they were under extreme pressure going into the do or die clash. Unfortunately, Lanka could not handle the pressure, and succumbed to the same. It was their batting that prominently let them down in the match. Batting first, they needed to put up a massive score on the board considering India's vast batting strength, particularly at home. But, Lanka just did not get their act together as two relatively inexperienced international bowlers in Umesh Yadav and Akshar Patel had them on the ropes.
It is no secret that Sri Lanka heavily depend on their big three in the batting line-up. On Sunday, two of them tasted success but it wasn't enough to help Lanka post their first win of the tour. Mahela Jayawardene, even at 37, batted with the silken touch of old, in a matter resplendent of his hundred in the World Cup final more than three years ago. He had little in the form of support though. Tillakaratne Dilshan hung around for a half-century, but his dismissal came at the most inappropriate moment as the Lankans collapsed around Jayawardene following the opener's dismissal.
There were high hopes from Kumar Sangakkara in the key clash. On numerous occasions in the past, he has delivered under such tense situations. Unfortunately, the elegant left-hander had a rare failure under pressure. And such was the impact of Sangakkara's early loss that they stumbled one after the other. Skipper Angelo Mathews batted exceedingly well in the last match, but could not carry on his form into the must win third one-dayer. The failure of the big hitting Thisara Perera also did not help matters.
In the absence of the experienced bowling duo of Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath, Lanka were expected to struggle with the ball, which is how the case has turned out to be. Nuwan Kulasekara was expected to lead the attack in the duo's absence. But, he has failed to deliver. Similarly, Suraj Randiv too hasn't succeeded in impressing with his spin bowling. The others are relatively experienced, and thus have struggled. Overall, Lanka have just not looked the part.
--By A Cricket Analyst