Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 5th day January 12, 2014

Mathews hails fighting spirit


Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews hailed his side's ability to keep fighting after they chased down 137 to win an attritional Test in Dubai in which the scoring rate in every innings failed to exceed three runs an over.

"That's what cricket is about - you need to keep fighting," Mathews said. "I thought we did exactly that in the first Test. We managed to draw the first one and hang in there. This was a wonderful victory by the help of the whole team.

"Our batters were brilliant. They didn't want to throw their wickets away and they kept fighting through those little phases where we get really put under pressure by the Pakistani bowlers. We constantly played well and won the difficult moments."

Prasanna Jayawardene and Mahela Jayawardene played important roles in the victory. Mahela had hit 126 in Sri Lanka's first innings, to help set up the victory, before Prasanna took five second-innings catches to equal Amal Silva's Sri Lanka record for nine dismissals in a match. Mathews lauded them both.

"They made a huge impact in the team. Prasanna has the best hands. There are four keepers in the team, but Prasanna is our No. 1. There's a good saying that class is permanent and form is just temporary and that's what Mahela showed us in this game. They are very senior players. They have a lot of ideas when it comes to the game and they're really great to have in the team."

Mathews also suggested he would prefer to keep the same XI for the final Test in Sharjah, providing the conditions allow it. Sri Lanka had four frontline bowling options in Dubai as well as Mathews' seam bowling, but did not possess a competent second spinner, resorting to Kumar Sangakkara's offspin on the fourth evening as light faded.

"When we go into a Test match we take our best bowlers, so if someone gets injured, we can't always bank on having a back-up. If we look at the batsmen, even if four of them are wicketkeepers, they have done their jobs. Unless the pitch is very different, I don't think we need to make any changes."

Mahela also sustained a split webbing in his left hand during the Test, but Mathews was confident he would play in Sharjah, although he is unlikely to take his usual place at slip.

The victory also brought up Mathews' first away win as captain in his first overseas Test series. "With help of the seniors and also the teammates, I learn day-by-day as a captain. My approach will always stay the same: I try to be as positive as I can and try to read the situations as quickly as I can."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on January 13, 2014, 17:28 GMT

    @VKohlithegreat, please stop giving excuses and belittling our win. It was a genuine victory and you simply have a problem about Sri Lanka winning. Pakistan played their first choice XI and this win will be recorded in the history books by all means. You simply dont appreciate good cricket by Sri Lanka, simple as that.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    I agree with STORMY16!!! YOUNGSTER PLAYED REALLY WELL!!! he should be the man of the match or the bowler Lakmal. Anyway what does Srinath know!

  • Dru on January 13, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    I am surprised that Silva firstly wasnt man of the match and secondly, hasnt got a mention from the captain. He got 150 runs in the game as an opener when conditions were most dangerous for batting and surely deserves praise. Mathews captaincy was also top notch with sound bowling changes. Some would critize him for spreadhing the feild but it was an important move to ensure the lead wasnt going to be too large.

  • Rohan on January 13, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    @ ColomboAndroid : Was it my honest opinion or you only like people hailing your team that irked you, perhaps you should read the posts with a more open mind. The difference between your comment and mine certainly states who has better cricketing knowledge.

  • Pr on January 13, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Vkohlithegreat,not you always bother srilanka.whats the matter with you.i knew you never had cricketing u have proved it with your opinion.

  • Rohan on January 13, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    In my honest opinion, it was Pak missing their first choice players, SL getting to win the toss, getting to bowl when pitch supported bowling, getting to bat when the track was pretty flat (it dint do anything for the bowlers on the 5th day too), Pak's dropped chances that altogether helped SL win this match. Come the 3rd test and if we get to see any one of the above thing going Pakistan's way, I am sure the result will be in the favor of Pakistan.

  • Andy on January 12, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    I am sure that Sri Lanka will be able to win or at least draw the match i Sharjah and go on to win the series.

  • Android on January 12, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    well played by SL.

    bolwers improving and learning good from Vaas. and young batsmen showing good ability. have to give credit to Mathews. his innings in 1 st match changed it.

    they read conditions well and played accordingly. i remeber many SL fans were criticizing his decision to drop a spinner and also bowling 1st. but he read conditions well and knew there is something in wicket on 1st day. playing extra fast bowler paid off immediately. and the stats and wicket showed that bowling 1st was a good decision. huge difference in 1st innings per wicket avg score amd 4 th. very good decisions and well planned game.

  • Jerry on January 12, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    I would have dilruwan play as a 2nd back up to Herath . may have to drop chandimal . Imagine if there was an injury to herath ,there will be no recognised spinner .and Matthews may not be able to bowl as well , the pressure is on for having some relief to herath , especially if the Pakistan batsmen play about 5 sessions .. too much to ask for herath .. Improve slip fielding should be another priority .. If they don't want to drop Chandimal , he must play as an opener and replace Karunaratne.. Chandimal does not have the patience to be an opener however. Well played SL and don't be complacent. There will be a different Pakistan team showing up for the next test ..