Chandimal attends to personal matters
Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews perplexed both their own captain and England’s with their determination to ensure Chandimal put a Lord’s hundred on his CV today.
England skipper Alastair Cook was even moved to suggest the “gods of cricket” might have viewed the bizarre conclusion to this NatWest Series match with “disgust”, as Sri Lanka briefly threatened to blow certain victory for the sake of one batsman’s personal achievement.
As it was, 21-year-old Chandimal completed an unbeaten 105 in a six-wicket win which came with 10 balls to spare as Sri Lanka went 2-1 up with two games to play.
There was, however, a fleeting moment when Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan began to wonder whether Mathews was putting his team under unnecessary pressure.
The all-rounder ended up with one not out from 21 balls, having patted the 47th over of the innings back to Jade Dernbach for a maiden.
Word, in the shape of a replacement bat for Chandimal, came from the Sri Lanka dressing room that enough was enough, and the number three responded by clubbing Tim Bresnan for six over long-on to reach his hundred and put the outcome beyond lingering doubt.
Cook, who had earlier made a determined 119 in England’s below-par 246 for seven, said of Mathews’ antics: “It was different; I’ve never seen that before.
“It was getting close, wasn’t it? You’ll probably have to ask them exactly what they were doing, although I think it’s quite clear.
“They’re perfectly entitled to do it if they want. It’s just slightly strange and you never know, the cricketing gods might look down in a bit of disgust.”
It was clear that Dilshan thought likewise, as frustration forced him from his seat on the dressing room balcony. Asked afterwards about Mathews’ behaviour, he had mixed feelings.
“That bit disappointed me,” he said. “But they are youngsters and they are learning every time in the middle. I’m really happy Chandimal got a hundred, especially at Lord’s.
“Angelo Mathews not taking the singles shows we are working like a family, a team, a unit - and overall I’m really happy.”
Cook had less to smile about, despite his own second ODI century, accepting England simply did not make enough runs.
“We had a bit of a slow start and lost a couple of wickets,” he admitted. “Then me and KP [Kevin Pietersen] had a good partnership but we just kept losing wickets at the wrong time and were then always playing rebuilding cricket.
“That’s never a way of getting a big score and we were probably about 40 short. I thought 280 or 290 was defendable.”
England need to win at Trent Bridge on Wednesday to avoid a series defeat, and Cook added: “We will review this game - where we think we can get better.
“Our batting line-up hasn’t fired, hasn’t scored enough runs in the last two games. If we want to win games we’re going to have to fire more consistently.
“We’ll all take collective responsibility in the batting line-up for not scoring enough runs. That’s the reason why we didn’t win this game.
“It’s nice for a bit of confidence to score runs, but it’s never nice to do it in a losing cause. You want to score runs when you win, because that’s far more satisfying.”
England’s bowlers faced an unenviable task as Chandimal and Mahela Jayawardene’s second-wicket stand of 112 consolidated Sri Lanka’s overwhelming advantage.
“They’ve batted well in those last two games. They’re allowed to play well,” Cook added. “Our efforts and the way we’re thinking is definitely right. We just need a little bit of luck.”