Hyderabad: Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said the challenge of performance against India in their own backyard was never beyond doubt but he is pained to see that they have failed to play their brand of cricket.
"It was always going to be tough in India, whether you are prepared or not prepared. It is a challenging tour for any team, not only us. Not many teams have won against India in India. But we just wanted to play our brand of cricket, which we haven't played in the last three games," a dejected Mathews said at the post-match conference after losing the third ODI by six wickets.
"If we play our brand of cricket and stop worrying about winning or losing then I think we can head into the World Cup pretty high and confident," the all-rounder added.
Mathews said the batsmen, specially the youngsters, have let the side down, resulting in team's lackluster show.
"We can't repeat those mistakes time and again. We flopped in our batting. I thought the power-play was crucial, we lost 4 wickets for minimum runs. We keep doing the same mistakes and hope that we win, which we cannot do here. Especially against a quality team like India you got to stay positive. 300 is a minimum mark here on these wickets. 242 was nothing for the bowlers to bowl at," said Mathews.
Striking a fluent 118 on Sunday, Mahela Jayawardene fought a lone battle with a 105-run partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan (53) and Mathews said that it's time for the youngsters to step up their game.
"Only Dilshan and Mahela showed some resistance and all the other batsmen just threw it away. Either just lack of concentration or just playing some silly shots. Going into the World Cup we need top guns to fire.
"And they are ones who have been performing for the last couple of years. The younger guys need to step up and grab their opportunities, we can't keep chopping and changing. They need to give their 100 per cent, we see the seniors give their 100 per cent. They are hungry for runs and the younger guys need to learn from them," he added.
The Indian batsmen have continued with their good showing with Shikhar Dhawan (91) and Virat Kohli (53) making short work of their 243-run chase and Mathews said that the visitors should take a cue from their opponents.
"When you lose matches then there are going to be many opinions but the bottom line is that we haven't performed well and we haven't batted well. And that is a cause of concern. We need to be positive and aggressive. We can take a point or two out of the way India has batted. The way they are batting at the moment. They are positive and aggressive and look to score runs," said Mathews.
The Indian bowlers are also playing their part with Umesh Yadav (4-53) and Axar Patel (3-40) once again setting up the six-wicket win at Uppal. Mathews also praised the young left-arm spinner from Gujarat.
"Axar has done pretty well. The three games he played against us and I saw a couple of games against West Indies, he did really well. He looks a great prospect for India and he can bat as well," said Mathews.
Insisting that the experienced Kumar Sangakkara has not been dropped from the final two ODIs, Mathews clarified that the changes have been incorporated keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup.
"We had decided a few days ago that Sangakkara will be going back. He has been rested and we wanted to give chances to guys like Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thiramanne for coming back to the team. So we need to give opportunities, get our strengths and weaknesses right and going forward we need to get the best batsmen out in the World Cup. So we are experimenting a bit.