Umesh Yadav struck with the first ball of the final day by dismissing Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews at the P Sara Oval.

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka’s defeated captain Angelo Mathews said that the target of 418 set by India in the fourth innings of the second Test at the P Sara Oval was not a realistic one to chase down.

Mathews said that it was not a pitch where you could survive playing for a draw.

“We didn’t bat for the time to be honest because the wicket was pretty demanding and it was the fourth innings. (Ravichandran) Ashwin was bowling brilliantly. He was putting a lot of pressure from one end. From the other end the rest of the bowlers put a lot of pressure on us. We just couldn’t hang in,” said Mathews as his side was bowled out for a disappointing 134 in the second innings to hand India a 278 runs win.

“Our approach would be the same, to score runs on whatever day you bat on or the innings we bat in. We just have to plan to score so that you put your negative thoughts away and keep going. That was out intention. But it wasn’t a realistic target to be achieved on the final day of a Test match.

“It’s just that we wanted to approach it in a positive way. At least get some positive thoughts going into the next game.”
Mathews said the Test was lost on the first innings when Sri Lanka conceded a lead of 87 runs.
“We didn’t play our best cricket. We lost the Test with our first innings batting. The wicket was very good to
bat on we just didn’t get close to their score. We gave them a healthy lead to capitalise on in the second innings,” said Mathews.

“They played very positively. Once they got that 400-run mark, It was quite difficult for us to win the match. But we still had to approach it in a positive way because we could not play forward defence because Ashwin was bowling very well. Unfortunately, the batters didn’t play well in the second innings.”

Speaking on the problems Ashwin is creating for his batsmen, Mathews explained, “Ashwin is doing things pretty simple. He is just getting the basics right and he is turning the ball and creating a lot of pressure. He
bowls pretty accurate and has been a tremendous bowler for India over the past so many years and continuing to be so. We need to find out a way to counter-attack him. We have to be positive. We can’t just hang around. He will bowl the odd good ball anyway in an over. We just have to look to be positive and score runs against him.”

Mathews admitted that it was not to win the Test for Kumar Sangakkara who was making his final appearance in Test cricket.
“Over the eight odd years I have been playing with him, he has been unbelievably supportive. Really thankful to everything he has done to me and to the team. He deserved to go out on a high. Really disappointed that we couldn’t do it for him. All we can do is to promise him that we will play well in the next game and win it
for him,” said Mathews.

The Lankan captain asked the supporters of Sri Lanka cricket to be patient with his team.
“You all should understand that it is a young team. We need some time to settle down. We just have to
be a little patient till they settle into their roles. You win games, you lose games but it doesn’t really matter as long as we do our processes right. We need to do that and play at our best in the next game.”