Mathews unsure when Malinga will return


Angelo Mathews does not know if Sri Lanka's Twenty20 captain Lasith Malinga will play any further part in the Asia Cup after he missed Sunday's 23-run defeat to hosts Bangladesh.

Paceman Malinga took 4-26 in Sri Lanka's victory over the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, but sat out their second game of the tournament in Mirpur.

The quick is reportedly carrying a niggle and stand-in skipper Mathews was unable to shed any light on how long he will be sidelined for with just over two weeks remaining before Sri Lanka start the defence of their World Twenty20 title.

The all-rounder said: "Lasith will always be a crucial bowler for us. Unfortunately we didn't have him today. I don't really know if he will be fit for the next two games [against India and Pakistan], but it is what it is.

"We have got only those resources we have to use in the game. We have to do it the hard way. India have been playing good cricket, we have to play really good cricket to win."

Mathews defended his decision not to introduce Dushmantha Chameera into the attack until the 14th over after Bangladesh recovered from 26-3 to post 147-7 and Sri Lanka fell short on 124-8 in their run chase.

Chameera took 3-30, but Mathews felt it was a better option to keep the spinners on rather than bring the paceman on when the Tigers were in the mire.

Mathews said: "Chameera bowled brilliantly. I thought we needed someone to do Malinga's job towards the end.

"The wicket was turning as well, and that's why I kept bowling the spinners. The batters were finding it hard to hit boundaries off the spinners, which is why I delayed the fast bowlers."

Sabbir Rahman's fine knock of 80 proved to be the difference as Bangladesh made it two wins from three, while Al-Amin Hossain (3-34) and Shakib Al Hasan (2-21) impressed with the ball.