Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan reckons Sri Lanka have forgotten how to win matches and further adds that this is a tough phase for the sport in the island nation. Sri Lanka lost the second One-Day International (ODI) against India by three wickets on Tuesday (July 20) and as a result, they have also lost the series.
"I told you before, Sri Lanka didn't know the winning ways, they have forgotten the winning ways for the last so many years. It has been tough for them because they have not (known) how to win a match," Muralitharan told ESPNCricinfo.
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers and despite having India in trouble at 193 for 7, they could not finish the job off. Muralitharan reckons keeping him for the final overs instead of bowling him out earlier was a huge mistake by Sri Lanka.
"I have told you before if Sri Lanka takes three wickets in first 10-15 overs, India is going to struggle and actually India struggled. Big effort from (Deepak) Chahar and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) made them win," Muralitharan said
"And also they (Sri Lanka) made some mistakes. They should have bowled Wanindu Hasaranga, rather than keeping him, they should have bowled him and try to take a wicket."
"If they would have taken one wicket out of Bhuvneshwar or Chahar, with two other tail-enders coming, it would have been tough to chase 8-9 runs an over...they made some mistakes but it is an inexperienced side," he added.
Sri Lankan coach Mickey Arthur seemed frustrated as he made some animated gestures from the dressing room towards the end of the game as Chahar (69) and Bhuvneshwar (19) overwhelmed the target with an 84-run unbeaten stand to hand a second-string India an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Muralitharan said Arthur should have stayed calm and conveyed his message to the new skipper. "I think the coach was acting like, showing himself disappointed and everything, rather than just calm down and send some messages," he said.
"Tell the best bowler to bowl and try to take the wicket rather than try to keep them till the end and defend it, it never works like that."
"Seven wickets gone, one wicket and match would have been sealed but they didn't know the winning ways, they have forgotten, it is a had time for Sri Lankan cricket to come to winning ways," he said.
The two teams will clash in the final ODI on Friday (July 23). They will also play three T20 Internationals (T20I), starting Sunday (July 25).
(With inputs from PTI)