Great comeback in the last session: Adil Rashid
Adil Rashid picked up his second five-wicket-haul in Tests. (Getty Image)

England legspinner Adil Rashid lauded the comeback that his side made in the final session of Day 2 of the third Test against Sri Lanka. Rashid, who picked up his second Test five-wicket-haul, triggered a collapse that saw the hosts lose their final eight wickets for just 67 runs. As Sri Lanka lost the plot from 173 for 2 to be eventually bowled out for 240, Rashid stated that he had the belief that England could turn things around in the final session.

“It was a great comeback in that last session, they got off to a great start but we always had that belief going into tea, we came back and kept it simple and the rewards came,” Rashid told Sky Sports. “Batsmen are there to make runs, there are always going to be partnerships, that’s part of Test cricket. But the main thing was to have that belief within the team, not to go through the motions and give up. That’s what we did, and the tea break came at a good time.”

While Rashid finished with terrific figures of 5 for 49 in 13.5 overs, the legspinner admitted he was happy with his performance. “Maybe there’ve been periods when I felt I’ve bowled better but today it felt good and to get the wickets in that session, with Stokesy at the other end, was a nice feeling. He is a matchwinner, he proved that again for the team, running in, bending his back. We had a set plan and he executed it perfectly so all credit to him,” Rashid said.

Rashid, part of England’s three-pronged spin attack, takes pride in being the man who can make “things happen”. While Moeen Ali and Jack Leach are wonderful spin options whom England can fall back on, Rashid in a way is the leader of the spin attack. The fact that three of them work and operate in tandem is what works well for England.

“Definitely that is my role,” Rashid told Sky Sports. “Since I came back, I’ve tried to come in and break partnerships, and make things happen. You’ve got Leachy and Mo who can contain and get wickets, but we have that understanding now that that’s what Rooty [Joe Root] wants from me as a bowler. Sometimes, if it doesn’t work within five or six overs, I can have a break and come back in again, but at this moment in time it’s going okay.”

“We’re all enjoying it, all three of us, as we all feed off each other. We get on well off the pitch and we help each other. We’re all happy having that attack, especially with one spinning in, one spinning away and a wristspinner, so we’ve got quite a lot of variation there and on any given day it could be a different person for every innings. And luckily enough it was me today.”

It’s taken Rashid a long time to establish himself part of England’s set-up. Understanding that Test cricket is the ultimate challenge, the legspinner said that he falls upon his variations to get things going his way.

“I went out there with a positive mindset, and bowling my variations, sticking to my strength,” he said. “My strength is the variations, and being confident in that. Sometimes I was mixing up my pace too, bowling slower and quicker, and it’s about finding the right pace a lot sooner into the spell, rather than 10-15 overs in.”

“At times it can be challenging, especially with the red ball. You have to do the practice in the nets, find your natural pace, whatever that is, and bowl there, then go quicker, slower … for me it’s about being positive, being attacking with the variations, and sticking to that positive mindset.”