England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 5th day May 30, 2011

Shocked Dilshan urges regroup

ESPNcricinfo staff

If the first Test match played at Cardiff is now remembered for some over-my-dead-body batting on the final day, the second will be remembered for an extraordinary collapse. Tillakaratne Dilshan was at a loss to explain how Sri Lanka slumped to defeat on a day which began with the odds of an England win twice as long as it was in the famous Headingley Test of 1981.

"I can't believe we got out in just 25 overs with such a good batting line-up like we have," he said after the morale-sapping innings-and-14-run defeat. "We lost the match because we batted really badly today."

Dilshan called for better performances from his senior batsmen, who have been the constant in a season of change for Sri Lankan cricket. "We knew looking forward in the morning that they would declare, everyone knew that after Bell's hundred they would declare but I cannot explain what happened," he said.

"Our batting line-up has guys like Mahela [Jayawardene] Kumar [Sangakkara], Thilan [Samaraweera] and myself. We are experienced players and we need to regroup as soon as possible and come back for the next Test on Friday."

His two best batsmen had arrived in England a week after the rest of the squad due to IPL commitments, but Dilshan insisted that wasn't a factor in the defeat. "Mahela and Sanga came here late but they can adjust quickly to this format of the game, but unfortunately things went wrong."

He also said that the pitch had remained good for batting on the final day. "It was a very good wicket with a little bit of turn and a bit of bounce, it was a very good track. In the last two days it was good for batting, but we didn't bat well, that was the main issue, but it was really good for Test cricket."

Though he was distraught with the defeat, Dilshan said the immediate focus was on preparing the team for the Lord's Test starting Friday. "I am really calm, I can't be angry. We have to regroup and talk about it and try and get the maximum out of the young players and learn from the experience."

He admitted restoring the spirit won't be easy after the completely unexpected defeat. "It will be difficult to forget this Test match but we have to stick together as a team, do whatever we can outside of cricket to get together and forget about everything.

"We have experienced players. We can regroup and come back for the Lord's Test in a positive mind and then we can play some good cricket there."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RohanMarkJay on June 1, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    Sri Lanka is a far better side than the final last day collapsed suggest. I think the arctic like overcast UK weather conditions at cardiff also had an effect on the type of cricket Sri Lanka played there, Sri Lankans are used to playing in normally Sunny weather all year round. Like the type of weather they have in South Florida,USA or the Caribbean .That is how the climate is in Sri lanka. So experienceing Cardiff must have been like a shock to the system. That is no excuse of course, they should have been able to have batted to a draw, arctic like conditions are not what they are used to playing cricket in. If Sri Lanka's two frontline bowlers fit are and firing. The weather improves. Then I have no doubt Sri Lanka will do well in the next two tests. Go Sri Lanka!

  • poderdubdubdub on June 1, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    England were 94/7 at oval against Pakistan in the 3rd test last year, they recovered to score 233. Thats what the Asian teams lack, resilience.

  • Balumekka on June 1, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Swann took 4 wickets in SL's second innings, which is the most humiliating thing for SL cricket, I think. Forget wickets lost to quickies. If we are so called masters of playing spin, why letting Swann to take 7 wickets in the whole match? Mr. Sangakkara and Mr. Jayawardena...........open your eyes! Thousands of runs and over 50 averages mean nothing if you can't bat through 25 overs to save your country from defeat!

  • Bigwonder on May 31, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    Is this the same story as Pakistan had during test series in England?

  • Nampally on May 31, 2011, 19:00 GMT

    It was irresponsible & careless batting by SL which caused such a collapse in 25 overs.It is really left up to Sanga, Jaya & Dilshan to carry the team's batting. They should really ask themselves how did they batting collapse? SL spinners were just as ineffective in absence of Murali.Unless the team raises its commitment ans intensity, it is heading towards a lop sided series. Common Sri Lanka - Show some gumption by playing a better bland of cricket.

  • Philip_Gnana on May 31, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    Our bowling is the weakness and that had been highlighted right through. We let England score 497 after we had batted first and scored 400. It is not the last innings that brought the real downfall it was the inability to have a strong bowling attack. The English conditions favour swing bowlers. We had the option to draft in Nuwan Kulasekera as soon as we knew about the injuries to the two. The bowlers never showed any vigour whilst bowling. No application or commitment was shown. It is still not too late to bring in Nuwan who has the experience of having played in tests. Sanga & Mahela were needed to stand up and be counted. Disgracefully they did not. Part ownership goes to them. The real issue is the bowling, which cannot get a team out. Remember this England team beat the Aussies in their own backyard. To add salt to the wounds test discard Vaas has taken 5-22 in Northants game....... Phil Gnana, Surrey

  • Waterboy_sixs on May 31, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    WE NEED CHANDIMAL AND BAHNUKA IN OUR TEAM....AT LEAST WE WILL HAVE A GOOD TEAM IN FUTURE... Nicely said Mr. Ranilranathunga. All these Chandimals and Banukas will play better and when they play better, are you sure that when a rich Francaise call them with more money they will not go?.

  • Waterboy_sixs on May 31, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    @popcorn, LAKSHANMV, WPDDESILVA and so on, can you stop this kind of immature comments on IPL, if you people were not happy why did you send your players play IPL, are you/ is your Srilankan Cricket able to pay half of the money which IPL franchise pay to your players. Hey Dude we live in a world were people look for fame, name, and above all ,money. When Muruli was playing you could prepare pitches according to his style, but now he is gone and instead blaming or bringing lame excuse try look for solutions. Look at the Pakistanis, they were not allowed to play in IPL they went to get money through other way and we all know the result, do you want these things happen to your players as well. By the way I am not an Indian but one who support sports who can bring cheer and relaxation to the people.

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    @Popcorn. It's ironic you say that because whenever England go down to all those "flat subcontinent pitches", the batsmen don't get runs, and the bowlers don't get wickets. You can't have it both ways. Subcontinent teams beat you in the subcontinent and they also come and lose here. I don't really know where the IPL fits in to that equation. So much for a world-class team in the World Cup. 10 wickets in the quarter-finals wasn't it? About as good as Bangladesh therefore. Classy.

  • dummy4fb on May 31, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Important to stress that no one saw this result coming. You would have made a small fortune at 3pm at the bookies by betting on an England win. A batting collapse is about the delicate balance between self belief and anxiety. You know you're a good player and those above you in the order are good players. But they're getting out cheaply. What is going on? You have to save the match, a match that was a certain draw minutes ago. You can see the modest target on the scoreboard. A few scoring shots and you can breathe a sigh of relief, surely? Some of the SL players looked like they didn't want to be there (but name one person who enjoys sitting in the rain with nothing to do waiting for the skies to clear and I'll show you a masochist). Dilshan has the right answer. Bad day at the office. Happens to the best teams. Won't happen again if everybody puts the work in, concentrates, and backs their undoubted ability with the bat (the SL bowling attack is another matter entirely)

  • No featured comments at the moment.