Angelo Mathews expressed his concerns over his team's lackluster performance with the bat in the first test © Getty Images
Angelo Mathews expressed his concerns over his team’s lackluster performance with the bat in the first test © Getty Images

Sri Lanka’s captain, Angelo Mathews looked quite disappointed after his batsmen failed to learn from the mistakes in the first innings and succumbed to England’s pace attack cheaply to lose the match by an innings and 88 runs. “Failing to leave the ball decisively paved the road to an embarrassing and humiliating innings-defeat”, said Angelo Mathews. Chasing England’s 298 in the first innings, Sri Lanka collapsed to 91, then 119 following on. They batted for less than 73 overs in the match. Thirteen Sri Lanka dismissals were catches behind the wicket on the off side. “We were not decisive in leaving the ball,” Mathews said. “They bowled in good areas and we just kept putting our bats out of line of the stumps, and it kept nicking our bats all the time. We have to be decisive and play the correct one.”  LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: England  vs  Sri Lanka First Test at Headingley, Leeds

Speaking after the humiliating defeat in their first match of the tour, he stated, “It was quite an embarrassing defeat. It was pure poor batting and the execution. You have to be really skillful to bat against these guys, especially in these conditions. Anderson once again showed his class. Stuart Broad was brilliant as well. One or two of our guys needed to raise their hands and put up a good score, particularly in the first innings. We failed to do that in the first innings, and once again in the second innings, so that’s a pretty obvious reason for our defeat”, according to Read: Jonny Bairstow may turn out to be England’s crisis man

Sri Lanka were on top of the game in the first day of the first test match with England reeling at 83 for 5 in the second session of the opening day. Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales put on a partnership of 141 with three catches being dropped. Later, Bairstow also combined with No. 10 batsman Steven Finn for a further 55 runs which added on to their frustration.

Speaking on the missed opportunities, Mathews added, “We got five wickets for 80 runs, and we let them off the hook. We dropped a couple of catches. Jonny Bairstow batted brilliantly and credit should go to him and Alex Hales. They got them to a decent score on this wicket and it was up to us as batters to get to a decent score as well. But once you get 90-odd runs, it is very a difficult road going into the second and third days. It was very tough. We have good enough batting to pass 300, but we made it very tough for ourselves.”

Sri Lanka has five full days now to practice before the second test match begins at Chester-le-Street. They have come from behind to square the series in the recent past like they did against Pakistan after a heavy loss by ten wickets in the past year. They will look for inspiration form that series to stand a chance in the next match.

Talking about his team’s chances in the next match, he quoted, “We have done it in the past. We have a couple of days to regroup, think about our strategy, train really hard and come back hard. All we’ve got to do is change our mindset. If you believe you can do it. Yes, it was a humiliating defeat. It was embarrassing. But if you stick to our plans in the second game we could turn the tables around.”

He concluded by appreciating the performance of Anderson and Broad and revealed that the conditions in Headingly was tough and different. “Nothing really went close to this game. It was swinging and seaming right from the word go. If you have top-quality fast bowling like Broad and Anderson in your team, the opposition batsmen have to work really hard. It was swinging and seaming right throughout the first day and second day, because there was no sun on the wicket to dry it out.”