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We can’t lose the series - Hathurusingha

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha gives a few important tips on batting to opening bat Tamim Iqbal.
Former Sri Lanka cricketer turned head coach of Bangladesh Chandika Hathurusingha said the ball was in Sri Lanka’s court to either draw or lose the three-match One-day International series.

Bangladesh who won the first ODI at Dambulla by 90 runs are 1-0 up going into the third and final game at the SSC on Saturday.

“Sri Lanka are a very strong team at home. I can’t remember a time when they didn’t win a single game in a series, so it is a good position that we are in,” said Hathurusingha yesterday.

“We are 1-0 up, we can’t lose the series. They have to play well, and we have to play our best game to come good. We are very much confident, if we get our process right. I think we will do well against Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka bounced back from their defeat in the first match at Dambulla to post an imposing score of 311 in the second game played at the same venue, but before they could get at the Bangladeshi batsmen rain washed out play forcing a no-result that sees them trailing 0-1 in the series.

“It was a good score, but chasing 300-plus was not easy. The wicket was better than the previous match. We were really confident that we could have got it,” said Hathurusingha.

“We didn’t bowl as well as we could have, in certain periods. They played well on that pitch. (Kusal) Mendis and (Upul) Tharanga batted well, and did better than the last game. We came back well. The match could have gone either way,” he said.

Bangladesh who have been at the receiving end on past tours to Sri Lanka are now quietly confident of returning home with a win. They have already recorded their maiden Test win against Sri Lanka and are now eyeing a maiden ODI series win.

“When you win, everything looks good. The body language and effort on the field is the biggest change I have seen in the last few matches, after the Galle Test,” said Hathurusingha.

“They had a good one-to-one afterwards, and the boys responded to that very well. In the last game we were a bit lethargic after the first ten overs, but after that they were really good in the heat.”

Hathurusingha said that batsmen converting scores into big ones was one of the things they have always spoken about. In that aspect opening bat Tamim Iqbal anchored the Bangladesh innings in the first ODI with a century that saw them run up their highest total against Sri Lanka – 324-5.

“If you get in, make a big contribution. The seniors have responded to that really well. It comes with the belief and maturity of the players,” said Hathurusingha.

“I would say it was one of the best performances for the batting group. We always talk about using the top seven batsmen in 50 and 20 overs. It is our game plan. In that sense, it was a perfect game. They are really confident in their preparation now.

“It is not me, but the whole team and my coaching staff who are contributing. We are doing our best to prepare our players to perform. I am very happy with the way things are going so far.”

Being a past Sri Lanka cricketer and now plotting the downfall of his own country Hathurusingha said “it was a totally different feeling”.

“As a player you played for your country, which is a different feeling. And now, I am doing a job. I have to do it to the best possible way I can. This is not only my effort; it is a whole team effort. It is a good feeling to be on the winning side always,” said 48-year-old Hathurusingha who represented his country in 25 Tests and 35 ODIs between 1991-1999.