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May 30, 2011
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."
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