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June 27, 2019

Chandika Hathurusingha

Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Tomorrow is like another crucial match for you because the tournament has just widened up, it's open. So what are your thoughts, what is the strategy? Does the fact that South Africa are already knocked out of the play-off, I mean the last four stage, does that put you in a better position?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: You can take it either way. When you have no pressure of qualifying, they can come and play without any pressure, fearless cricket and that can get them going, so at the same time they can turn up and just want to go home, so you never know.

Q. Coach, any update on Nuwan Pradeep, who has been down with fever and the No 6 position, which has been turning around with Milinda Siriwardana coming in one match, Jeevan Mendis last game. Any changes?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: On Nuwan, we haven't heard from the doctors yet, he is going to see a doctor today, and then I will know in the evening what the situation is with him.

In terms of No 6 position, you are right that we tried a few players and we didn't have much patience with any of them, so we have to be a little bit patient with the one whoever we pick.

And it all depends on the combination that we want to play against, the opposition, as well as the venue that we are playing. So that also we need to decide in the morning of the game.

Q. Over the years, the Sri Lankan teams have worried about how to play South Africa's fast bowling, but in recent times, Imran Tahir has been quite a handful. How do you sort of plan out, to take him on? You had quite a bit of success in the bilateral series as well?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: Yeah, you're right. He is a world-class bowler, that is the reason. It is not only because we have the weakness of playing spin. I think our guys play spin okay, but he's a world-class performer.

The thing for me I'm looking at is some of the players that are playing tomorrow not being there in South Africa, like Angelo and then he was not there, and Kusal did not play in the last few games and Dimuth as well, so they are in form.

For us, fortunately, most of the top order got some runs somewhere down the line, so hopefully we click as a batting group this game.

Q. I know that you lost to South Africa 5-nil two months ago, but the conditions here would make you think that you are in with a chance?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: Obviously, we think that we have a good chance because we are coming off two wins and a very good win against England, although we didn't play our best cricket to win the game in terms of batting. And I think we had a perfect bowling display, defending that target.

I mean, the cricket is funny game. You can lose so many games and win the one that is the most important, it is this next game. I think we have enough talent and skill-set to compete with them tomorrow.

Q. The batsmen had a bit of a -- they got themselves going in the last match a little bit. But what are you trying to tell them in order to I guess get them get back into full form? The middle-order has been a bit shaky right through. What do you as a coach have to tell them to get them to produce more consistently?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: That is what we have discussed, even before the England game also. They all have done this before, especially someone like Mathews, a world-class player, and he showed a lot of mental resilience in that innings because -- he was under pressure, the team was under pressure for various reason and he was not coming without much runs.

So he showed a lot of character so those are the things we discussed and having partnership. He was in one or two partnerships, even not batting well as he could or we know he can bat, but still had a crucial partnership with Mathews and, of course, Mendis got involved in two good partnerships with Angelo so those are the things that we normally talk, it's very key for us to put partnership together and click as a batting group.

Q. This power hitting hasn't been something we have seen from Sri Lanka much. Has that been a focus over the last few days?
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA: Yes, we have been practicing a lot of power hitting with various ways of using the nets facilities we have. The good thing that what has worked for us is that the top order, we had two good partnerships at the start, apart from the last game. We know that what they can produce and we still back them to do that so hopefully next few games they come off.

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