Mathews blames spinners for loss

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Following their first Test loss to Pakistan in four matches in Galle on Sunday, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews admitted the side's spinners were outshone by the visitor's slow bowlers.

In truth, it was Pakistan's spinners who stole the show. Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar returned 13 wickets between them, with Mohammad Hafeez chipping in with two more.

Sri Lanka's front-line spinners could only manage five wickets across two innings in a game in which spin accounted for two thirds of all wickets taken.

Galle is historically a fortress for Sri Lanka due to its propensity to aid spin bowling, Muttiah Muralitharan took 111 there in his career, but it was the visitor's spinners who shone this time around.

"I admit that our spinners were not as effective as their spinners on this track – where it was turning from day one," Mathews said. "We needed our spinners to fire and fire quickly, but they didn't.

"I would say Rangana was not as effective as Yasir Shah or Babar was for them. I wouldn't call it being rusty, but unfortunately he couldn't make an impact in this game.

"We're playing a Test match after a few months, and Herath 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 praised Pakistan's batsmen for their aggressive gameplan, which did not allow the Sri Lankan spinners to get on top of them.

"They played Rangana well – very positively," Mathews said. "They know that if you give Rangana wickets it's not easy. He continues to take wickets."

"I think Shafiq and Sarfraz's partnership was crucial, but still what made the difference was Babar and Shafiq's partnership. That made a massive difference to the game.

"They were in total control and we were put under lot of pressure. After having them 118 for 5, it was disappointing that they scored another 340 runs. We can't let a number 10 come and get a fifty on this track."

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