CARDIFF (Wales) • Sri Lanka's batsmen need to apply themselves better if the team are to avoid a repeat of the middle-order collapse they suffered in Tuesday's 34-run World Cup victory over Afghanistan, former captain Mahela Jayawardene has said.
They made a promising start in Cardiff and were 144 for two at one point thanks to Kusal Perera's 78 off 81 balls, but lost four wickets for five runs and were all out for 201 in the 37th over.
Afghanistan spinner Mohammad Nabi took three wickets in a single over to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 149-5 and Jayawardene felt the string of soft dismissals was cause for concern.
In a column for the International Cricket Council, he wrote: "The way Sri Lanka lost wickets... in the middle order is a real concern and there were too many soft dismissals.
"Looking at the wicket... this was never going to be a high-scoring game. However, there's no question that Sri Lanka could have batted better. They should have been looking at 250 plus."
Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha also admitted his batsmen were suffering from a crisis of confidence that had been exacerbated by the bowler-friendly conditions.
He added: "When a batsman is in, it looked an easy wicket to bat on but we lost one wicket and then we lost three wickets in one over.
"There were a lot of tentative shots, that was the cause of some of the dismissals. We're lacking in confidence... we allowed them to come into the game."
His players arrived at the Cup in patchy form, losing two warm-up games against South Africa and Australia before being drubbed by 10 wickets in their opening game against New Zealand.
Against Afghanistan, they needed pace bowlers Nuwan Pradeep (4-31) and Lasith Malinga (3-39) to help guide them over the line, but Hathurusingha was hopeful their first win would help build confidence for the rest of the six-week tournament, with his team playing Pakistan tomorrow.
"This gives us a lot of confidence because we really needed a win," he said. "We haven't had much success lately. I'm sure you will see a better team, a better approach from our team after this win. We needed this win badly."
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