The 10-ball period in which Sri Lanka dropped three catches – all of them off England top-scorer Jason Roy – was when the hosts lost the one-off T20I in Colombo, according to Captain Thisara Perera.
Roy was spilled in the deep three times, and the first two chances off the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan were particularly straightforward. He would make 34 runs off 11 balls after that first reprieve.
Although Sri Lanka had been half-decent in the field in the recent ODI series, they have in general caught woefully over the past two years, particularly in limited-overs cricket. Three different head coaches – Graham Ford, Nic Pothas, and now, Chandika Hathurusingha – have attempted to turn Sri Lanka’s fielding around, but have not been decisive in correcting the malaise.
“It’s hard to keep saying every time that when we drop catches, we lose the game. But that was the most important thing in today’s game,” said Thisara. “That was a bad patch for us. It’s the batsmen that scored the most runs for them whom we reprieved. We could have kept them to under 160 if we took those three or four catches.”
The other definitive period of the game for Thisara was the first three overs of Sri Lanka’s chase, when Joe Denly dismissed both the openers and had the hosts 16 for 2.
“We also gave away two wickets in the first few overs, and lost a lot of momentum there. If we had kept those wickets in hand, we might have been able to chase 188, especially given the outfield was a little greasy.”
Later in the chase, Adil Rashid would effectively seal the match for England, with a four-over spell that claimed three wickets and conceded only 11 runs. Though Thisara is not a part of the Test set-up, he felt Rashid was hitting ominous form just ahead of the Tests.
“Moeen Ali and Rashid are bowling really well. They are bowling good lengths, which is the main thing. It will be really difficult for us in the matches coming up as well. They are doing well in Asia.”