Sri Lanka reserve players engaging in Card games during the match : Sanath blasts

I was disappointed to see our reserves engaging in card games during a crucial stage of the match. This is not on. The situation was so bad and you needed positive energy in the dressing room. It was an important phase of the game and their behaviour was unacceptable. Their attitude was like that of Nero’s who was fiddling while Rome burnt.” Former Sri Lanka Cricket captain Sanath Jayasuriya.

Read Sanath Jayasuriya’s Sunday Times column on the current Test Match. 👇

After a disappointing start to the Test match in Galle it was good to see yesterday Sri Lanka putting up a good fight. I could see the application was there and they started very well. They were positive and didn’t take many risks. They attacked the loose balls, rotated the strike and were showing lot of intent. That was so good to see. It was so unfortunate that KJP got hit on the hand.

I have no issues with the way he got out. I mean, I would have loved to see him go onto get a big hundred. But in the second innings, he was dismissed playing an aggressive shot. Square of the wicket is where he gets his runs and I have no problem of him being dismissed caught at deep backward of point. But I have serious issues with the way he got out in the first innings – a reverse sweep to the off-spinner off his second delivery.

Now that KJP is gone; I hope Thirimanne goes onto get a big hundred. He has got a start and he should carry on. Our guys need to bat the whole day and put England under pressure. We need another 130 runs to erase the deficit. Rather than think of that, or thinking that this is day four, we just need to keep batting to see what we can end up with.

I was disappointed to see our reserves engaging in card games during a crucial stage of the match. This is not on. The situation was so bad and you needed positive energy in the dressing room. It was an important phase of the game and their behaviour was unacceptable. Their attitude was like that of Nero’s who was fiddling while Rome burnt.

It was a good captain’s knock by Joe Root. He swept and cut well, hallmarks that you need to have when playing spin. It is not easy to get a double hundred in Galle as it spins a lot.

Our bowlers were not too good with their line and length. Dilruwan didn’t bowl as well as expected. He got his rhythm back only towards the end and by then the wheels had come off. He was so crucial as he is the only experienced guy we had. All others – Wanindu is playing his third Test match, Asitha is playing his second Test and Lasith his seventh. So we needed Dilruwan firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately he flopped.

As the bowling was thin on experience, that’s why I believe Vishwa Fernando should have got a game. The team management may have had their reasons but I am not buying them. You don’t destroy someone’s confidence. He was riding high following his five wicket haul at Wanderers and not often is a bowler dropped after taking a five-for.

I am also sad to note that our media has not been allowed to cover this game. The Galle ground has plenty of empty spaces and they could have been easily accommodated if the press box was complicated. Media is an important stakeholder of the game and them being denied the opportunity was a black mark in our game.

Media has praised me and criticised me when I was a player, during my tenure as captain and then as Chairman of Selectors. But I have always got on well with them. I hope the Minister of Sports intervenes and accommodates them at least for the second Test.

A lot of people ask me that since the teams that I played in had a good record in Galle what did we do right? Well, we just did the basics right. Once you win the toss, you need to put up 400 plus runs on the board. Not every batsman is going to get runs. But whoever gets a start needs to get a big one. That puts the opposition under pressure.

Often visiting teams from England, South Africa and New Zealand struggle here as the heat is extreme and wickets are turning square. For that to happen you need runs on the board. At present we are playing catch up.

This team is under pressure. They are not playing their natural game. They panic and throw away their wickets.

I feel for Kusal Mendis. I think he needs a break. He is going to have a big impact in the future no doubt but at the moment his confidence levels are down and he needs time out from the game.

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