Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 5th day February 8, 2014

After drawn Test, captains call each other defensive


Fernando: Losing Herath and Eranga was a big blow

Angelo Mathews has criticised Bangladesh for declining to orchestrate the highest successful chase in cricket's 137-year history. Mathews also labelled the Chittagong surface "a road", after which Mushfiqur Rahim countered by saying Sri Lanka had not bowled well enough to win. The two-Test series finished at 1-0, after Bangladesh chose to bat for the draw, instead of going after a target of 467. That total would have also been their highest ever second-innings score.

Sri Lanka had also delayed their declaration on day four, ostensibly, in part, to let Dinesh Chandimal score a third Test hundred. The move allowed Sri Lanka no more than eight overs at the hosts on the fourth evening.

"We didn't really declare late," Mathews said. "If they wanted to chase the 467, they could have, but they did not show any intent. They had 98 overs, and we actually could have bowled more than 98 overs, but they didn't show any intent. We were one-nil up in the series and they had to make a move. But we declared yesterday itself, rather than waiting for today. We were being positive and we were going all out for the win.

"We know that we could get them all out if they were going for runs. You could just block and survive on this wicket, but you can't actually go for big shots because the wicket was a slow one. We had different kinds of bowlers - we had Ajantha Mendis, we had Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal who were bowling well - so if they wanted to go for it, we were up for the challenge."

In response, Mushfiqur questioned the timing of Mathews' declaration. "I am also surprised that they only made us play a few overs [on day four]," Mushfiqur said. "If I was captaining Sri Lanka, I would have left it with 20 overs to go. I think I would have been happy with a 350-400 lead.

"I think we never get the credit we deserve when we bat well. I don't think they bowled in a way to take 20 wickets."

Mathews suggested Pakistan's recent historic chase of 302 at 5.25 runs an over, against Sri Lanka, indicated 467 was a chaseable target. "If they wanted to, it was possible," Mathews said. "You'd rather try to square up the series [even though you could] lose 2-0. That's what the Pakistanis did in Sharjah. If they wanted to make it 1-all they could have at least showed [some intent], but they didn't want to. We were just trying to get them all out, but the wicket wasn't assisting the bowlers."

Mushfiqur said his team had taken their Test record into account while formulating their fourth-innings strategy. "There may not have been a big difference between 1-0 and 2-0 for them, but not for us. I am disappointed at losing the series. If we had played well in the first Test, we could have drawn the series."

The second Test featured six centuries, including a triple-hundred, and Mathews said the Chittagong surface was not conducive to a result. He had expressed similar frustration last year in Galle, when that Test against Bangladesh had also ended in a draw.

"I'm very disappointed with the draw, but I actually thought we could start another Test match on the same wicket," Mathews said. "It didn't assist the bowlers at all. It wasn't a sporty wicket. It was a batsman's paradise. It was very hard and once the seam got soft, the bowlers didn't have any chance.

"The wicket was flat as a road. We couldn't do much. The bowlers gave their hearts out. Unfortunately that's all we got. We might have missed Rangana Herath's experience, but Mendis and Dilruwan bowled well."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Leachim on February 11, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    Angelo lost his mind It,s crazy to chase 467 in test cricket

  • Xiong on February 11, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    "If they wanted to chase the 467, they could have, but they did not show any intent. They had 98 overs, and we actually could have bowled more than 98 overs, but they didn't show any intent. We were one-nil up in the series and they had to make a move. But we declared yesterday itself, rather than waiting for today. We were being positive and we were going all out for the win."

    Dumbest thing said in cricket for 2014 - lock it in. Even David Warner couldn't top that.

  • shane on February 11, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    C'on Anji u r the next best thing happend to SL after Boxing Day Tsunami!i kw Every one tells he needs time, can anybody tell what he learnt from pakistan 2nd test? Answer is... Nothing!

  • ali on February 10, 2014, 22:15 GMT

    Sri Lanka should just play with India and make records. Stupid statement regarding 487 chase, should have done as Bangladesh captain says. No guts Matthews.

  • Jonathan on February 10, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    It's one thing to be shrewd, smart, cautious, tight, call it what you want, but to then come out and try to justify your actions as progressive, daring and 'open' is just a down right JOKE!

    Mr Matthews you have lost my respect.

  • ESPN on February 10, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Amazingly ridiculous comments coming from Matthews. Definitely not the brightest of captains.

  • Josh on February 10, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    Well played Angelo - you did the right thing. Why would anybody even want to give BAN a sniff of victory. Just play them out of the game and make double sure that you win the series. Forget the one game, it's the series win that is important because two years down the line all anybody will remember is the series win.

  • Venkat on February 10, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Wow Mr.Mathews...Do you REALLY expect the minnow Bangladesh to score nearly 500 runs in a day to win a Test all the 2116 Test matches played before this match, not even the Great Australian or West Indian teams of the past has scored that many runs....even when playing against rank Minnows!!! And here Mr.Mathews expects the last ranked Bangladesh team to pull of such a heist against the far better placed Srilanka. The fans for sure knows what to do better than watch this bore of a game. No wonder the game is played to empty stands nowadays!!! VERY SAD DAY FOR TEST CRICKET.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    I am a jayasuriya fan what Mathews did is unfair captainship he wants to take the series, what I mean is he should have declared after sanga got out that wut have Bangladesh to bat 380 or so but they kept on batting.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Common Angelo, you won it. Let them have their peace. If you really wanted to win you could have declared early and set it up. You played safe and that is it. I do not blame Angi for playing safe, but he has to understand that if you play safe it is hard to win. Blaming it on your opponent is just weak. BANG played solid test cricket and did well to save the game. They do not have Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela in their team to have a go at such a target. It would be childish to do that. With the resources they had they managed a good game and got a good result for them. We need a captain with a head and ethics. I see a lot of Dhoni in Mathews, and that is not gonna help SL going forward. We need a Sri Lankan captain like Arjuna, Mahela. They used to respect their opponents no matter how good or bad they are. Grow up Anji, for the sake of SL cricket.

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