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Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle
GALLE: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews admitted that his team bowled and batted poorly in the first Test to lose to Pakistan by ten wickets at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka was dismissed in their second innings for 207 after allowing Pakistan to recover from 96-5 to 417.

“All of us have to take the responsibility. The players are the ones who bear the most responsibility, because we’re the ones who play. We didn’t play well, and Pakistan played better than us,” said Mathews at the post-match press conference.

“The good thing for us is that this is just the first game. We can bounce back and still win the series. The belief is there – it’s just that we need to do the work on the pitch. It’s a fairly an inexperienced batting order except for (Kumar) Sangakkara, and we will learn and put up a good score for the bowlers.”

The defeat at Galle was Sri Lanka’s sixth out of 25 Tests at a venue regarded as one of their favourite.

“No matter where we play it’s tough to lose. If you take our recent history, we’ve only recently lost to South Africa at Galle, so we’ve historically played well here,” said Mathews. “On this occasion, we bowled and batted poorly – we accept that. Our fielding was good, but the other disciplines weren’t there.”

Mathews acknowledged that his spinners were not as effective on the Galle track as the Pakistanis.

“It was turning from day one and we needed our spinners to fire and fire quickly, but they didn’t. Hopefully they will in the second Test.”

One of the major concerns for Sri Lanka was that Rangana Herath a match winner for them on several occasions proved ineffective taking a solitary wicket in the match for 129 runs.

“Rangana was not as effective as Yasir Shah or Zulfiqar Babar was for them. I wouldn’t call it being rusty, but unfortunately he couldn’t make an impact in this game,” said Mathews.

“We’re playing a Test match after a few months, and Rangana is coming back after an injury. He’s having a lot of niggles. He knows he hasn’t done well in this game, but hopefully he can bounce back quickly.”

Mathews didn’t want to be drawn into any controversies when questioned about his dismissal where he was given out caught off bat/pad due to lack of conclusive evidence.

“Unfortunately I can’t comment on that as a player. The ICC rules and regulations prevent me doing that as a player and as a captain. We all make mistakes and we have to live with them. There’s not much to be done. DRS is good because it gives the umpires a chance,” Mathews said.

Picture by Ishara S Kodikara (AFP)

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