Hathurusingha told the media after their practice session at Sinhalese Sports Club ground in Colombo on Thursday, “When you win, everything looks good. The body language and effort on the field (are) the biggest changes I have seen in the last few matches, after the Galle Test. They had a good one-to-one afterwards, and the boys responded to that very well. In the last game (Dambulla ODI), we were a bit lethargic after the first 10 overs. But after that, (we) were really good in the heat and came back well.
“Batsmen converting starts into big innings is one of the things that we always spoke about. If you get in, make a big contribution. The seniors have responded to that really well. It comes with the belief and maturity of the players. They are really confident in their preparation now,” he said.
The former Sri Lankan cricketer believes the Tigers have a great opportunity to clinch the series in the third and final ODI on Saturday in the capital city.
“We are very much confident if we get our process right. I think we will do well against Sri Lanka. They are a very strong team at home. I can’t remember a time when they didn’t win a single game in a series, so it is a good position we are in. We are 1-0 up, we can’t lose the series. They have to play well, and we have to play our best game to come good,” he said.
The Tigers produced a clinical display in the first ODI, thrashing the home side by 90 runs. In the second and penultimate ODI, the Lankans came back well, posting 311 runs before being dismissed in 49.5 overs. Rain then intervened during the innings break, forcing the game to be called off.
Hathurusingha however, is of the opinion that they had the ability to chase down the target.
“I would say it was one of the best performance for the batting group. We always talk about using the top seven batsmen in fifty and twenty overs. It is our game plan. In that sense, it was a perfect game in the first match. Hat-trick is always good, but it came too late for me in the second ODI (smiles). It was a good score, but chasing 300-plus was not easy. The wicket was better than the previous match. We were really confident that we could have got it,” he said.
Apart from Hathurusingha, batting coach Thilan Samaraweera and fitness coach Mario Villavarayan also hail from the island nation. Regarding a clash of interests, the 48-year old said, “It is a totally different feeling. As a player, you played for your country, which was a different feeling. And this here now, I am doing a job. I have to do it to the best possible way I can. It is a good feeling to be on the winning side always. And about the winning credit, it is not only because of me. The whole team and my coaching staff are contributing. So credit goes to them as well.”