GALLE, Sri Lanka, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal admitted a woeful batting performance in the first innings cost his team the first test against England at Galle International Stadium.
England won the test by seven wickets on the last day on Monday to record a fifth successive test victory in Sri Lanka.
The home team won the toss and were looking to put a large total on the board but their batsmen contrived to give away their wickets in an opening day performance that drew widespread derision from an array of cricketing personalities.
A paltry total of 135 allowed England to establish a significant first innings lead as they scored 421 with captain Joe Root contributing 228.
“We were outplayed in the first innings with both the bat and ball and that cost us the game,” said Chandimal, who stepped in to lead the team after Dimuth Karunaratne was ruled out with a broken finger.
“If you are playing at Galle, you have to get a big total in the first innings but we didn’t and that is what has cost us. The first innings total is crucial when you are playing on this kind of track.”
Galle traditionally offers runs early but the wicket deteriorates quickly to allow spinners a chance to get among the batsmen.
“We had just come from South Africa and I felt our batting unit thought they were playing out there. We have to learn from those mistakes,” he added.
Chandimal was pleased, however, with the stoic performance in the second innings as Sri Lanka scored 359 and, at times, threatened to set England an even bigger target than the 74 runs needed to win the first of the two test series.
“There were some outstanding knocks in the second innings and if we’d got another 70-80 runs, this could have been a different story. We must take the positives out of this and look forward to the next one.”
The second test, also in Galle starts on Friday. “I think the first innings total is going to be the crucial again,” Chandimal predicted. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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