Lankan shot selection poor


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews feels his team’s shot selection let them down during the first Test against South Africa at St George’s Park.

Sri Lanka lost by 206 runs after being bowled out for 281 in their second innings in Port Elizabeth with a number of batsman guilty of poor shots.

Probably the worst of those shots was Kusal Mendis’ attempted ramp shot off Kagiso Rabada which he could only tickle through to Quinton de Kock.

Mathews said: “I think the shot selection is key when it comes to a wicket like this and a bowling attack like this.

“You need to concentrate really hard. You need to work really hard to score runs against these guys. There are very few opportunities to score runs. Sometimes as batters you wait for the bad ball and you don’t get it for a long time.

“That is Test cricket. You need to concentrate really hard, stay focused, and wait for the loose one. Most of the batsmen are very young. They are still learning and finding their feet on the Test arena. We’ll have to give them a chance.”

Sri Lanka showed a lack of restraint in their first innings chasing the carrots the Proteas dangled outside off all to often and while they improved in the second innings they were still short of where they would want to be.

Mathews lamented their poor first innings: “We should have got more than 200 in the first innings. Unfortunately we didn’t, so after they got a lead it was pretty hard work for us to get back into the game. Especially if you restrict them to a decent total it’s very important to even it, or get a lead.”

The skipper was deeply disappointed about the run out of Dimuth Karunaratne in the second innings after the openers looked well set.

Mathews added: “I thought we played some terrible shots in the second innings and that was our own downfall. I thought we gave away some easy dismissals. Yes, they bowled very well, but in the second innings there was a run-out and we let them back into the game.”

The captain wasn’t too harsh on Kusal Mendis whom he felt played well apart from his terrible dismissal.

Mathews said: “The way Kusal Mendis batted – apart from the shot he played to get himself out – was brilliant.

“He was so positive. He was willing to take on the bowlers and that is a plus point for us. We shouldn’t back off even in these conditions. It is challenging, but we need to look to score runs.

“We didn’t want to change the way Kusal played, but we knew that we were up against a good quality seam attack. You can go slashing and get away with it. We didn’t want to change his game because everybody talks about how when Sanath Jayasuriya started off, the way he played, and he never changed his game. Unfortunately in these conditions it wasn’t the right game plan for us.”