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Batsmen need to take responsibility, says Angelo Mathews

The Sri Lankan captain admits that England has one of the best seam attacks and his batsmen will need to rise to the occasion

Batsmen need to take responsibility, says Angelo Mathews - Cricket News
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews believes that his side is high on confidence in spite of the defeat against New Zealand.
Going into the game tomorrow, what would you say that you've done with the team since the last game?
Yeah, I mean, the failure after the last game, the camp is confident and the morale is very high. Defending 138 was, was ‑‑ the guys responded to that brilliantly. Yeah, it's simple as that. We've got two games, and it's pretty simple, we've got to win both to stay alive in the series.
Obviously the opposition is different, it's going to be England this time around. How different is it that you prepare against a team like England and what sort of challenges do they bring into the equation?
Yeah, we might have to rethink our strategies a little bit on these conditions, on this wicket, which has a little bit of bounce. So we might have to rethink our strategies a little bit, but I think the way we approach, we've got to stay as positive as possible and try and be ‑‑ try and take them on, because we know that we have to win to stay alive, and I think we shouldn't be putting a lot of pressure on us, we just have to go out there and enjoy and do the best we can, and the result will take care of itself.
We saw what happened to Australia when their great players stopped playing, they fell off a cliff. With India's great players retired they struggled but they've come back strong. Are we nearing a time when your three top players in that top order are retiring, or do you think they've got more time to go?
It's early. They've got more time to go, at least until the next workup, which is not far away. Yeah, I think it's a bit of a transition period for us, but I think we've got the talent, we've got the skill, it's just that competing against the best teams can take a lot out of the players, and it will be very demanding. So I think to stand up to those situations, you need a bit of experience, and I think we've got to be ‑‑ we've got to have the confidence in our players, and I'm sure that the team will rise up for the occasions.
Sri Lanka have really done well in ICC events before, but in particular in England they've struggled. What is the reason for that and what are you doing to avert that or rectify that so to speak in a very crucial game against England?
As I said before the start of the series, it's our history and this is a new series and we've got to take one game at a time. Yeah, the recent history against the English team in England isn't that good, but I think when it comes to a tournament like this, any team can beat any team. So we just need to try and be positive and focused and try and win tomorrow's game.
England's preparations have been completely overshadowed by the David Warner and Joe Root story. As a captain in this competition what have you made of that?
Well, it’s a Australian domestic issue and the Aussies have to decide, but I can't really comment on that. But I think we as players need to keep -- leave everything out to the side and focus on our game.
Can I just ask as a captain of the side if something like that happened to your side, how would you deal with something like that, obviously a very tricky, delicate issue?
Well, I think that's a decision that the management has to take, and I think the management differs from team to team. So, I don't really know if that situation happens in our team, but I'm pretty sure that it will not happen.
In past ICC events the middle order has been ‑‑ if there was any weakness on the Sri Lankan team it would have been the middle order. Is there a feeling that someone needs to take leadership in that middle order?
Yeah, I think the whole batting unit has to take responsibility. The whole batting unit when it comes to the top seven especially, we need to take responsibility on this because we can't really expect the bowlers to score runs for us. The bowlers, if we actually get to 250, 240, the bowlers will actually do the job for us. More often than not they have done the job for us, but I think it's pretty hard to ask the bowlers, as well. We as batters need to take responsibility on our batting.
A bit on James Anderson, the way, the kind of reverse swing that I'm sure you would have seen in videos, with two new balls especially to get that kind of reverse swing, first of all, how would you tackle that?
Well, it depends on the conditions to be honest, because on this wicket I doubt the reverse swing might come into play, but you never know, you can't really predict 100 per cent on anything. So yeah, they've got probably one of the best seam attacks going across in the world cricketing area, and we as batters, that's the challenge to overcome. They've got a few good fast bowlers, Anderson is one of them, as well, and he's been performing, so I think we as batters, we need to rise up to the occasion tomorrow.
Malinga's overall record here in England is pretty impressive. That must be heartening for you going as a captain into a crucial game?
Yeah, they always say he's our premier bowler, but we've got a few others, as well. We don't really bank on one bowler. We have the likes of Kulasekara, Eranga, Thisara, so we've got those seam options, as well, but I think Malinga is standing out of them, and Malinga is one of those players who knows exactly what he has to do in these conditions. And also he helps the other bowlers quite a lot, which is very important, so this is a team unit, and we need to help and support all the others.
Just going back to Mahela, he was out by a very good bowler, Daniel Vettori. Is he concerned at all, especially being in his 30s and coming out of that injury?

Not really. I mean, the three senior players that we've got is unbelievably experienced, and they know exactly how to prepare themselves. I mean, form is temporary and obviously the class is permanent, so we all know what kind of a player Mahela Jayawardene is and I'm pretty sure he'll rise up to the occasion tomorrow.

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