Bangladesh v SL, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 4th day February 7, 2014

Declaration wasn't defensive - Silva


Kaushal Silva denied suggestions Sri Lanka's declaration on the fourth day had been too conservative, after captain Angelo Mathews had allowed the lead to stretch to 466 before asking Bangladesh to bat again. Sri Lanka had only eight overs at the hosts before stumps were drawn, with all ten Bangladesh wickets intact for the final day.

The final phase of Sri Lanka's innings was ostensibly extended to allow Dinesh Chandimal to reach his third Test hundred, after a long stretch of relatively meagre results. Chandimal has a busy two months ahead, as he readies to lead Sri Lanka at the World Twenty20, having rarely done well in limited-overs cricket in the subcontinent. However, Sri Lanka's chief aim was to bat Bangladesh out of the match, Silva said.

"We wanted to get at least 450 on the board and then we know that they are out of reach of our target and we can put pressure and attack more," he said. "We have to first set a good target and balance the overs we have to bowl and the runs they have to score. We bowled eight overs today, and we have 90 overs tomorrow. Depending on how quickly we bowl, we can bowl over 100 overs. I think that's a good target for us to get them bowled out."

Sri Lanka had faced a similar quandary three weeks ago, during a Test match in Sharjah, where they had established a strong first-innings lead. They had set Pakistan 302 runs from 59 overs in that match, and the opposition orchestrated the fastest fourth-innings chase in history to inflict a dispiriting loss. Silva said memories of that experience would not haunt them against a belligerent Bangladesh top order in Chittagong.

"Whatever has happened has happened, you can't get it back," he said. "You have to think positively. Those two sessions [in Sharjah] went against us, but that won't happen all the time. Cricket is such a game you never know what will happen. We don't think about what has happened we just concentrate on the particular moment and on ourselves."

A pitch that has grown more susceptible to spin is expected to aid Sri Lanka. Ajantha Mendis had found appreciable turn off the surface to take 6 for 99 in the first innings, while offspinner Dilruwan Perera took three wickets.

"The pitch is not like the first innings - it has started to spin more," Silva said. "I think it will definitely be difficult for the Bangladesh batsmen. We have to be more patient and consistent on our line and length, and set a field according to our bowlers, especially our spinners."

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have scored 782 runs between them in the series, in six combined innings. Silva said their influence on Sri Lanka stretched far beyond their batting returns.

"They are two legends of the game," he said. "They have been in the team for nearly two decades. It's a great experience for all the youngsters in the team. Sometimes it's fun because out of the field they just act as normal human beings. Their ideas on the field also really help us."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    if that is not case, then what?. hopefully you will not say- We are popularizing the test cricket but too afraid to lose.

  • Android on February 8, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    Once Sri Lanka tried to bat all 5 days of a Test match. I swear its true.

  • andrews on February 8, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    It takes me back to Mahela Jayawardene's stupid comment after similarly defensive tactics resulted in a draw at Pallekelle in 2012against Pakistan: 'We won the series, didn't we?' This team is not interested in a 2-0 series win when 1-0 will do. Not only is this bad for the game, it sends a very timid message to any future opposition. The declaration was at least an hour too late, if you disagree with that you have rocks in your head. Since losing Murali and Malinga, this team needs to make the most of every winning opportunity. To not win against Bangladesh, especially when victory is within your grasp, is a poor result.

  • Android on February 8, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner. I don't think anyone should really give much importance to what you say from now on. And I thought Angeloaø Mathews was in denial.

  • Android on February 8, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Yeah right! Same old Sri Lankan negative cricket we have come to loathe.

    @ Blade-Runner. Almost every Team plays without an important player due to injury or recent retirement.

    Sri Lankan cricketers are always in denial. I thought nothing could beat Angelo's denial in the PAK series but this takes the cake.

  • Tanvir on February 8, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    @Blade-Runner, u'v no clue what u talking ab8.. 1 thing pretty clear.. after the lead reaching 370+.. bangladesh wont go for a victory.... they'll go for a draw.. so meaningless batting might cost SL.. Whats the result of such type of good batting? in the end.. its a draw!

  • Mark on February 8, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    This is exactly the reason a points sytem should be introduced into Test Cricket, culminating in a Test World Championship! Reward the Test Teams that get Wins!! Why not declare aprox. 12 overs earlier, after Sanga scored His hundred!

  • Ranji on February 8, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    Critics will criticise one way or the other. If he declared earlier, they would criticise for being overconfident. I am sure this declaration has been made after some consultations, opinions from other team members and coaches. Wait and see what happens and then you have to withdraw the criticism.

  • Gihan on February 7, 2014, 23:06 GMT

    Here I can see so many (e)cricketers and coaches have commented. I am very much surprised at that, they are not playing for their respective countries. Seems they are more good to play on the ground than on internet.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    Neville de Silva

    Mathew being the new SL Captain - elect, is on his own learning curve. We Pandits from our arm-chairs, have not been to a single National Test pitch are over-critical of Mathew!! Give him that space and to learn as we all learn everyday from our own personal experiences. He has two very experienced 'diamonds' studded on his crown to date during these matches. Let us have patience for another day and pour in our appreciation rather than this criticisms that we love as envious human beings..Be impartial in your thinking and then beautiful sentences will flow.....

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