Angelo Mathews blames fitness for Sri Lanka's fiasco against England

AFP, Jul, 07 2016

Colombo: Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews on Thursday blamed fitness issues for the team's disastrous England tour, but said he hoped to use the advantage of home conditions against a tough Australian side.

Mathews returned home after losing the Test series 2-0, the five match ODI series 3-0 (with one tie and one no result) and also conceding the only T20 in chilly English conditions.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews. Reuters

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews. Reuters

"Fitness was a big issue, as the captain I am disappointed with our battling, bowling and fielding," Mathews told reporters in Colombo. "We have to improve in all departments."

However, he thanked loyal local fans for not mocking them for their dismal performance.

"From the officials at the airport (in Colombo) to others we met on the way, they have been very supportive at a time when we are down," he said. "This support means a lot to us."

Asked about preparations for the upcoming home series against Australia, Mathews said he wanted to address fitness issues plaguing the young team which saw five bowlers suffer injuries during the England tour. Mathews himself was injured.

He could not say how long the team would require to fully recover from the void created after the retirement of legends including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

"It will take a bit of time. I have been saying that for the past few months as well," Mathews said.

"But we are doing the right things at the moment. We are not winning games, but we are seeing improvements day by day."

His comments come with the Australian team set to arrive on Saturday in Sri Lanka, where they are due to play three Tests, five ODI matches and two T20 games.

Mathews said the Australian team was "tough", but he hoped the home side advantage in sultry conditions would help local players.

"It (the series) is in our home conditions, but we have to prepare well and prepare for a tough challenge, and to overcome the tough Australia side we have to play our best cricket," he said.

But he warned against raising expectations too high, noting that Australia had done well in Sri Lanka during their 2011 tour when they won the Tests 1-0 and also claimed victory in the ODI series 3-2.

Published Date: Jul 07, 2016 | Updated Date: Jul 07, 2016



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115