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Yasir Shah took a career best four wickets to bowl Pakistan to a comprehensive 135-run win over Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI at R Premadasa Stadium.

Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said that everything from the toss went wrong for his team after they were defeated by 135 runs in the third one-day international played at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.

“From what I saw it was a very hard wicket, and we didn’t expect it to turn. But it started turning and it was quite difficult to go after the spinners,” said Mathews at the post-match press conference.

“The rate kept going up and the boys had to go for it – just blocking and take singles. When you’re going after 316 you just have to take that calculated risk. Nothing really paid off.

“The bowlers couldn’t have done anything different. They were cruising through, and they were on course for about 350, but we stopped them at 316. The pitch was playing really well for the batters in the first half and then it started turning in the second half, so we really never got going with our batting.

“Also their bowlers bowled really well. They have a lot of variety. Their spinners and fast bowlers did well. We were constantly put under a lot of pressure. It was not a 181 wicket, but we had to take a calculated risk and nothing paid off,” he said.

A worry for Sri Lanka is that Pakistan are scoring 300 or thereabouts pretty consistently whereas the Lankan batting has wavered from match to match.

“We have to be consistent in our batting. We are playing on good tracks. They have been scoring close to 300 in two games now. We can’t let that happen really. All of us have to step up and try and win the next game,” said Mathews.

Lasith Malinga the Lankan spearhead leaked the most number of runs going for 80 in his ten overs and Mathews admitted that his key bowler was gradually on the wane.

“We’re slowly injecting some new blood into the system. Nuwan Pradeep is getting a go. But you also need that experience and youth blending together. You can’t have so many inexperienced guys playing together,” said Mathews.

“They have been handling Malinga quite well in the last few games, so hopefully he can do a lot better in the coming games.”

All-rounder Thisara Perera is another cricketer who has failed to deliver with either bat or ball and is causing some concern to the team with his failures.

“I actually expect a lot more from him. He hasn’t been consistent enough for us. We just keep believing in him because we all know that he wins you games as well but after all consistency also matters,” said Mathews.

“We had chats with him. I thought he bowled pretty well today, but we need him to contribute with his batting as well. Hopefully he can contribute with bat and ball in the next game.”

In the same breath there was something positive in the shape of Lahiru Thirimanne who found some form following a series of failures to notch up a half-century.

“We had a lot of faith in him, and we knew that he was going to deliver. We just kept talking to him because we know he’s special talent. He’s ideal for that no.3 position. The way he batted I’m very pleased. Hopefully he can continue the same way in the next few games,” Mathews said.