Cricket: India whitewash worst loss for Sri Lanka captain Chandimal
REUTERS - The 3-0 whitewash to India at home was the worst series loss Dinesh Chandimal has ever experienced, Sri Lanka's new test captain has said while apologising to the fans for the team's performance.
Sri Lanka failed to challenge the world's top-ranked test side during the three-match series and the gulf in quality between the two sides was clearly visible.
"This was the toughest series in eight years playing international cricket, no doubt," Chandimal told reporters after his side lost the final test in Pallekele on Monday.
"We were not able to take the games to five days.
"The previous two were four-day tests, and this was a three-day test. Since I've been in this team, this is the worst series loss I've experienced."
Angelo Mathews stepped down as captain last month after Sri Lanka's maiden one-day international series loss to Zimbabwe at home calling it the lowest point of his career.
Chandimal was handed the reins of the test team and led the side to a four-wicket victory in the test against the African side.
The 27-year-old, however, missed the opening test against India in Galle with pneumonia but returned to captain the side in the remaining two matches.
While citing injuries to top players as one of the reasons for Sri Lanka's lacklustre performance, Chandimal said the lack of runs from senior batsmen was a factor as well.
"Consistency has been a huge issue this series," Chandimal said. "Some players cannot perform well in every series. As seniors, you have to do well, and then the youngsters will follow.
"Angelo and I couldn't get amidst the runs, and we take a lot of blame for that. But we were trying very hard in the middle ... and we've been training very hard.
"I have lot of faith the seniors will come back strongly when we take on Pakistan."
Sri Lanka will next play a full series against Pakistan and the skipper asked the fans to keep supporting the side.
"I want to convey our disappointment to all of our fans," Chandimal said. "To all Sri Lankan fans here and away from home, we are very disappointed about our performance.
"The fans have always supported us. They encourage us always. Although we were losing, people were still applauding us. That is what the team needs now. We cannot let the players be mentally down."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Greg Stutchbury)