Sri Lankan One-Day International captain Upul Tharanga said on Saturday that the hosts will have to quickly forget the 0-3 drubbing in the Test series and draw confidence from their win over India in the 2017 Champions Trophy in June. Tharanga took over the reins of the captaincy in the 50-over format following the resignation of Angelo Matthews following Sri Lanka’s home series defeat to Zimbabwe in July 2017.
“We have got to forget the Test series and the mistakes we made. We are heading for a new format and are looking forward to it. That’s the most important thing,” Tharanga said on the eve of the first ODI of the five-match series to be held in Dambulla.
“India have been very consistent in the last three-four years. In comparison, we lack consistency and that has been a big drawback. Our fielding has been terrible. We have dropped catches.
He also added, “But we have the confidence having beaten India in the Champions Trophy. No one thought that we would beat them. If you take the last series, our batting was also good.”
India have rested their Test bowling line-up of Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav from the ODI squad. But, even with the less experienced bowling attack, India start as the favourites against their sub-continental opponents.
“In their ODI side, Bhuvneshwar [Kumar] is their No 1 bowler. They are without a few bowlers but it doesn’t make their attack any weaker. We cannot under-rate their attack. They have done well in tournaments like Indian Premier League. We have to work hard and play well,” Tharanga said.
“I thought we did not play to our strengths during the Test series. We have done well in the ODIs in the last 10 years but the last 18 to 20 months have been a bit different. We have lacked confidence. You cannot give the opposition too much chance and when chances come your way, you have to grab them with both hands,” he added.
The 32-year-old also confirmed that he would be batting at No 4, but didn’t reveal their first choice for the 11-man team.
“I will be batting at No 4,” he stated. He also added, “We have not selected the final side but we are thinking on the lines of two seamers and then Angelo [Matthews] is able to bowl a couple of overs. We have also got Thisara Perera. If he can bowl a few overs that enables us to balance the side. That exactly what we were lacking in the last couple of months.”
Sri Lanka need to win at least two matches in the series in order to gain a direct qualification spot for the 2019 World Cup.