Chamika Karunaratne backs Sri Lanka batters to post 300-plus scores

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Karunaratne, who top-scored in the first ODI, said the fact that most of the batting order had got starts was encouraging

Although none of Sri Lanka’s batters hit a half-century in the first ODI, the team has the ability to put up scores that will challenge India – something beyond 300. This was what allrounder Chamika Karunaratne said following Sri Lanka’s drubbing in the match. Karunaratne had top-scored from No. 8, hitting 43 off 35 balls, but five other Sri Lanka batters had made scores greater than 20.

Karunaratne said the fact that most of the batting order had got starts was encouraging.

“A lot of our batsmen got good starts, but a lot of us weren’t able to continue,” he said. “We were trying to play longer innings – even when I was batting with Dasun Shanaka in the 42nd or 43rd over I asked him if I should go for some big shots, but he told me to wait until the 45th over. If more of our batsmen had been able to bat longer, we could have attacked earlier and gone for a bigger score. We do have the ability to get to 300 or 350, and hopefully that will happen in the next games.”

Sri Lanka’s innings had been beset by slower-than-ideal batting and the team had especially struggled to rotate the strike against the spinners, through the middle overs. They played out 159 dot balls through the course of their 50 overs.

“This wicket was playing a bit slow, so we did talk during our innings about putting the ball into gaps and running hard a little bit more,” Karunaratne said. “But they also bowled really well. They bowled in good areas and their captain managed the field well.”

On the field, Sri Lanka were essentially blown off the park. They conceded fifty runs inside the first five overs, and 100 inside 13 overs. Karunaratne said India’s rapid scoring rate was partly down to Sri Lanka going in search of wickets as well.

“We tried to get wickets rather than bowl dot balls. We tried to use our bouncers and our pace. They are a top team and we knew they would attack us. If we’d taken wickets we would have been able to pull them back. We were able to get one in the powerplay, and if we’d had another one or two in the powerplay we would have been able to change the game a little bit. “

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf