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The sight of Lasith Malinga holding his head in frustration revealed the entire story of Sri Lanka’s outing against Pakistan. The Lankan fast bowler had as many as three catches dropped off his bowling (towards the end of the match) which ultimately proved too costly as sSri Lanka crashed out of the Champions Trophy. Chasing a target of 237 at one stage Pakistan were almost out of the match with the side tottering at 137/6. But from thereon a resilient knock by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and some abysmal fielding by the Lankan fielder saw Pakistan claim a dramatic victory.
It all began during the last 45 minutes of the match when the Lankan side started succumbing to pressure and began to falter in the field. Overthrows and misfields started to happen in almost every other over. However, in the 30th over the Pakistan scoreboard read – 162/7 and things still seemed under control for the island nation. Sarfraz Ahmed was the only one waging a lone battle. But suddenly during the span of a couple of overs, the entire complexion of the match changed as the Sri Lankan fielder dropped as many as three catches off the bowling of Lasith Malinga. The main culprits in the crime were Thisara Perera and Prassana
However, in the 30th over the Pakistan scoreboard read – 162/7 and things still seemed under control for the island nation. Sarfraz Ahmed was the only one waging a lone battle. But suddenly during the span of a couple of overs, the entire complexion of the match changed as the Sri Lankan fielders dropped as many two catches off the bowling of Lasith Malinga. The culprits in the crime were Thisara Perera and Seekkuge Prasanna.
While Prasanna’s chance was a difficult one as he ran in from deep square and almost got his hands to the ball before spilling it, Thisara Perera dropped a dolly at cover. His drop sent skipper Angelo Mathews on his knees and it was at this point Sri Lanka completely lost their way. Earlier, in the first over of the Pakistan innings, it was Danushka Gunathilaka who dropped a sitter of Azhar Ali.
It may be recalled here that a couple of years back Sri Lanka interim head coach Jerome Jayaratne had lambasted the Sri Lankan side for its poor standards of fielding. He had deemed it as “the worst in Asia.”
“We are now the worst fielding side in Asia, we were never behind Pakistan but now we have gone behind them,” Jayaratne told The Nation. “India proved that they were better than us and even Bangladesh are fielding better than us.” “It’s a lot to do with the fitness levels. The way our guys are fielding they are carrying excess weight and we are in shambles.”
It will be interesting to see what Jayaratne has to say after Sri Lanka’s display against Pakistan on Monday.