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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Sri Lanka need to 'somehow' win last ODI in Sharjah, says Thirimanne

Batsman says his is a good team, but concedes nothing is working out for them as they stare at potential series whitewash against Pakistan

Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne concedes none of the plans are working for the at the moment. Karim Sahib / AFP
Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne concedes none of the plans are working for the at the moment. Karim Sahib / AFP

Sri Lanka’s batsmen are not technically deficient, but they need to find a way to score runs fast if they are to avoid a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan, according to Lahiru Thirimanne.

The Sri Lankans have their final chance to notch a win in the series when they face a rampant Pakistan side at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

They have not won at the venue since 2002, or any one-day international in the past 11 games for that matter.

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Thirimanne, the left-handed batsman who top-scored for Sri Lanka in the seven-wicket loss in the fourth ODI in Sharjah on Friday, said they need to find a solution to their problems immediately.

“The guys have talent, I have no doubt about that,” Thirimanne said. “It’s a good team, but unfortunately these things happen. We can’t say that it is a mental thing. We have to overcome that.

“All series we’ve struggled to rotate the strike and hit boundaries. We’ve had discussions about how to bat, but unfortunately it hasn’t worked.

“None of the [plans] are working for us at the moment. We have one game left, somehow we have to win that.”

Pakistan have won eight matches in a row, claiming the Champions Trophy in the process, and their exceptional run of form has been founded on the excellence of young players.

Babar Azam, who turned 23 a week ago, has 303 runs at an average of 101 in the series so far. Hasan Ali, 23, and Shadab Khan, 19, are the two leading wicket-takers in the series, with 12 and eight respectively.

Looking ahead to the 2019 World Cup, Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain, is optimistic over the way his side are progressing.

“I am very ecstatic,” Sarfraz said. “If the team plays continuously like this until the next World Cup, we will have a very good team.”