Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, has said he will not consider changing the way he bats after a pair of impetuous innings contributed to his team’s heavy defeat by Australia in the first Test in Galle.
Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews added 142 before being parted on the fourth day, showing what might have been achieved by Sri Lanka with a little more application on the most difficult of Galle pitches. Dilshan admitted his side’s first innings surrender for 105 had been the key to their downfall, but has no intention of reining in his own game.
“We can’t expect to get out for 105 in the first innings [and win],” Dilshan said. “That is why we lost this match. We can’t give a 150-run lead, especially on this kind of wicket. We planned to get 220-230 runs [in the fourth innings] but unfortunately we had to get 400 runs.
“[But] I’m not going to change my batting, I’ve batted aggressively over the last three or four years and I want to play my shots. I play my natural game. Especially on a wicket that it is not easy to survive on, you have to play some shots and overcome that [challenge] with something special.”
On the second morning Dilshan drove Trent Copeland’s first ball for four then attempted to repeat the shot from the second and was pouched at short cover by Ricky Ponting. In the second innings he played a succession of questionable strokes before being bowled by Ryan Harris, helping open up the innings and the match for Australia.
Sri Lanka have now gone nine matches since last registering a Test victory, the sort of streak that puts Australia’s struggles around the Ashes series into some perspective. The hosts are yet to win a Test since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan, who seems to have left the same sort of hole Richard Hadlee did for New Zealand when he retired in 1990.
“We have to find a way to win matches,” Dilshan said. “After Murali retired, it is very difficult to win matches, but we’ve got new spinners. I look forward to winning upcoming matches.
The omission of Ajantha Mendis had been a talking point through the match, especially in the second innings when Suraj Randiv did not trouble Australia as much as a spin bowler might have expected to on a dastardly pitch. Dilshan defended the selectors’ call.
“In the last few matches Randiv and [Rangana] Herath clearly did well for our team. Mendis played in the last Test series, but these two have been better overall. That is why we picked them. I feel they were a good choice for this wicket.”
Sri Lanka’s primary consolation came from Jayawardene and Mathews, who showed tremendous courage and skill to hold up Australia’s attack. Dilshan said he had nurtured slims hopes for victory while Jayawardene was at the crease.
“Their fightback was great. After being 68 for five, I felt they put us in a winning position at one stage,” he said. “Mahela batted really well, he showed his character and experience.
“He’s batted in these kinds of situations a lot over the last six or seven years for Sri Lanka. When the team is struggling, he puts his hand up and puts runs on the board. Today he did the same thing. Unfortunately he got out to the new ball, but I’m really happy with the way these two batted.” (Source: ESPNcricinfo)