REUTERS – Sri Lanka have been so woeful in the first two one-day internationals of a five-match series against New Zealand that the team’s leadership have been able to sum up their displays in three simple yet damning words.
“Pathetic, Embarrassing and Sorry.”
After being crushed by seven wickets in the first game at Hagley Oval, where only a 98-run seventh wicket stand between Milinda Siriwardana and Nuwan Kulasekara saved them from total humiliation, coach Jerome Jayaratne issued a public apology.
He then urged his experienced players, particularly his top order to stand up to Brendon McCullum’s side.
Instead, Sri Lanka were bundled out for 117 in 27.4 overs on Monday with none of the top order, including opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has amassed more than 10,000 career one-day international runs, scoring more than 17.
All-rounder Kulasekara led the way with 19.
The hosts, led by Martin Guptill’s blistering 93 not out from 30 balls, then completed the total humiliation by racing to a 10 wicket victory inside nine overs.
Such was the comprehensive nature of Monday’s performance, the game was over before the scheduled innings break.
Captain Angelo Mathews did not pull any punches in a withering assessment of his team’s efforts.
“It was quite embarrassing. It was a pathetic batting display by the whole unit,” Mathews told reporters.
“It was a belter of a wicket. It didn’t seam, or swing or bounce. It was just bad shot selection.
“We couldn’t handle it and we lost too many wickets up front and we did not give our bowlers a chance to bowl at them.”
The target of 118 was far too small on a pitch that should have produced more than 280 runs and with Guptill in imperious mood, the home crowd were able to pack up their picnic baskets and head home early.
Mathews, however, must now not only get his players to work on their technique but also try to lift their confidence to get his side back into the series that shifts to Nelson for the third and fourth games.
“We will be speaking to the boys and trying to get the mindset right,” he said.
“It is really unfortunate we have not been able to compete in the first couple of games (but) there are still three more games and hopefully we can turn it around in Nelson.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Napier; Editing by John O’Brien)