Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day September 8, 2011

Dilshan demands batting improvement

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Sri Lanka's captain Tillakaratne Dilshan has demanded more from his batsmen following their first-innings surrender for 174 in the second Test against Australia in Pallekele. He threatened numerous changes to the team if performances did not improve.

Dilshan was one of a series of batsmen dismissed cheaply as Sri Lanka lurched to 76 for 5 at lunch on the first day, a position from which they never recovered despite an excellent batting pitch. The start seemed to reflect the chaotic nature of the hosts' lead-in to the Test, with Rangana Herath (finger) and Ajantha Mendis (back) ruled out on the morning of the match due to injuries.

"Definitely there is something wrong in the batting," Dilshan said. "We are talking, discussing, we are doing a lot of hard work in the training and we are discussing a lot of things, but now is the time to deliver.

"We can't say the wicket is bad. They've bowled really well but we've played the last series in England, where there was a better attack, and on a difficult wicket we batted really well. Now the players should put their hands up and deliver, they have to deliver, now is the time, we can't wait anymore.

"This is the third time we've got out cheaply [including 82 on the final day against England in Cardiff]. They bowled really well in the start but our batsmen didn't bat well, that is why we got out. It is a good wicket, we are playing seven batsmen, we can't expect 174 all out."

Several ideas have been tossed about in Sri Lanka's dressing room, including the employment of the sports psychologist Rudi Webster at the conclusion of the series. Dilshan also said the older batsmen, including himself and Thilan Samaraweera, had to take more responsibility or risk being dropped. Their struggles contrasted with the success of Angelo Mathews, who followed a second-innings 95 in Galle with 58 here.

"He's batted really well in the No. 7 position," Dilshan said. "We have problems with the middle order and the top order. We don't want to change someone batting really well at No. 7, but we have to think about the second innings. Maybe change the batting line-up and send someone in top."

Dilshan described the changes to the side minutes before play as "unfortunate". They necessitated the inclusion of the offspinner Suraj Randiv, who was going to be dropped, and the legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna, making his debut.

Herath was struck on the finger during a fielding drill on the eve of the Test, while Mendis had a back problem that worsened in the lead-up to the game. "We thought he [Herath] would be okay but today he tried to grip the ball and he couldn't, his finger was very sore," Dilshan said. "Ajantha had a back injury in last one-dayer but he managed to play, but today morning he talked to the physio, he was worse than the last few weeks. I don't want to take a chance and play him, so that is why we gave a youngster a chance. Unfortunately we had to make two changes in the morning."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 10, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    nice bowling england-with sirilanka.......................................................

  • dummy4fb on September 9, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    I think Sri Lankans play to much of 1dayers and now 20/20 mentally their cricketers have no staying power or when to hit the right ball .the aussies do,do their home work on each batsman and they with the help of technology have worked out the lankan bowlers this is smart cricket

  • dummy4fb on September 9, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    I think Dilshan should stand down as Captain of Tests and 1dayers keep him as 20/20 captain as his record shows .you need a good stratergic cricketer to lead The Sri-Lankan team in tests

  • Nathan_123 on September 9, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    Congratulations to Shuan Marsh he is 60 not out and batting well. It does not surprise me why Australia, England and S Africa are the best team in the world whether playing at home or away. Because their youngsters' talent and their confidence. In Srilanka no doubt there are lot of young talent. But these youngsters take years to mature and play confidently. I believe ICC should invest some time and resources to study why this is happening in Srilanka and help the cricket board to eradicate this problem. If this does not happen soon, Srilanka will slip in to the 2nd tier of the world ranking.

  • DINESHCC on September 9, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    TO TURN THE TABLES, SL NEED TO MAKE TWO CHANGES. BRING THIMIRANE IN THE PLACE OF ANY OF THE BATSMAN AND BRING EVEN A SECOND LEVEL SPINNER IN THE PLACE OF SURAJ RANDIV.

  • dummy4fb on September 9, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Dilsahn is a good batsman not a good Capt.....he should live up to his reputation with an example, if you take Tendulka he is the best batsmen in the world but the worst Capt for India......so Dilshan should take a feather from Tendulka.

  • crickstats on September 9, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Dilshan should drop himself for 3rd test and give the captaincy to Mathews to see what different it makes to have a technically sound opener in tests

  • dummy4fb on September 9, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Clark is a thinking smart Capt…..Aussies put in 200%, Dilshan is not a motivating or a good Capt but is a good batsman……All ICC cricket boards should impose a fine to any player who fails to perform in any series in batting or bowing…….This would get the best out of each player as they highly paid anyway.

  • sAiyAnstAr on September 9, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Upul Tharanga deserves a go at opening. Dilly should drop down to 5 and have a slog when there have been some runs established. The reason the middle order is failing, is because the top order is getting out early and leaving putting pressure on them. It is ideal for number 4,5 and 6 to come in with at least 100+ on the board and the ball a bit older.

  • Itchy on September 9, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Methinks Dilshan might be the first head on the chopping block.

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