Sri Lanka need to consistently apply pressure to win Tests: Hathurusingha

Despite resolute rearguards from Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka slipped to a 57-run loss in the second Test in Pallekele and slid to their first Test series defeat against England at home in 17 years. Chandika Hathurusingha, the Sri Lankan head coach, pointed out that the home side’s inability to seize the initiative at crucial junctures of the first two Tests played a decisive role in their series loss. However, the former opener added that Sri Lanka have skillful players in order to build a good side.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture. This is the first series we lost this year,” he said. “We won against South Africa 2-0. In these two games, there were very close games. We had the opportunity to win both games at times. England played better cricket than us. We have to accept that. We have to learn from these mistakes. I think those mistakes we can easily correct. It’s about certain decisions. The skill is still there – that’s what I’m banking on. That’s the hope that I have with this team.
“If you remember this game, I think we lost it in the first innings. When we took nine wickets – the last wicket put on 60, and the way they made runs was disappointing. In the second innings there, were times where we were in the game and we let them off the hook. There was no pressure. Those are the things that are key for us, to win consistently away from home, or at home. Those are the things we need to discuss,” he observed.
Hathurusingha noted that the home team picked up the initial five wickets relatively early in both the Tests, but England’s lower order rallied around to steer the side to safer waters. He also commended Ben Foakes, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman, for the way he adapted to the alien conditions to compose a hundred on his Test debut and follow it up with a fifty in the second game.
“Both Test matches we got the first five wickets for less than 150, if I remember correctly. There are two things. They batted well, especially Foakes, who was the difference among the two teams in both Test matches. He batted really, really well in these conditions. We need to consistently apply pressure to win Test matches. It’s not easy to have a bad session or a bad spell on these kinds of wickets. Especially on sporting wickets like this,” he said.