Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day

No excuses from Ratnayake

Daniel Brettig in Pallekele

September 10, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Tillakaratne Dilshan's poor run of form continued as he was bowled for 4, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Test, Pallekele, 1st day, September 8, 2011
Sri Lanka's batsmen have struggled in the first two Tests © Associated Press
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Rumesh Ratnayake, Sri Lanka's interim coach, has denied the team's dire form thus far against Australia is the result of internal discord, but he agrees that greater continuity would be useful for a team that has not won a Test match since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan.

Sri Lanka trail Australia by a distant 237 runs with two days to play in Pallekele after losing the first Test by 125 runs, and Ratnayake offered no excuses for the team's performance. "This sort of form has been a pattern for the last few months," he said. "You can't give any excuses. I am a firm believer that they have played at the highest level. The Australians have been without any cricket for the past so many months. If they can adjust why can't we. The staff changing I don't think is a reason. If we can have continuity as a player group I am sure things can be better. That's no excuse for this game."

Central to murmurs about the Sri Lankan dressing room is the injury status of Ajantha Mendis, who complained of back pain and withdrew on the opening morning of the second Test after being left out of the first. Mendis did not bowl in Galle for four days, a fact that had escaped Ratnayake's attention.

"His issue was he had a back injury and he had not bowled for four days in Galle. I came to know only four days after. It mainly because I was involved with other things," Ratnayake said. "I am involved with the playing group. I take the responsibility of not knowing that."

Ratnayake also said there was no rift in the team. "There's nothing wrong with the team. The team mechanics are wonderful. If you can ask one of the people who are working with us. The staff who come in and go out its quite normal. Even before I came I heard so many things. But I haven't seen anything of that nature so far."

As for the team's batting, which has completely failed to stand up to an inexperienced Australian bowling attack in two first innings, Ratnayake said faults were being addressed.

"Everybody is aware of what we have to do and what we need to be doing," he said. "If you saw the way the Aussies batted it looked a placid wicket from day one. We didn't capitalise and we are aware of what we did. Rain is not in the mindset at all although every one might think that way. The mindset is playing positive game. We know what they have planned against us. We've got a strategy to how to counterattack. We can have strategies but whether that comes off I don't know."

Ratnayake revealed the team had viewed footage of India's miraculous victory over Australia at Kolkata in 2001 as a way to keep the dressing room positive about the hefty deficit that confronts them.

"We have been watching matches like the one between Australia and India in Kolkata where Australia won the match for the first three days and how they lost in the last two days," he said. "We have been trying to encourage people. It's never too late. Everyone might think that it's all gloomy. But we have been watching what Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have been doing and hopefully that will inspire."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

I'm sorry but I don't understand how Mendis not bowling for four days at Galle and Ratnayake not knowing about that for another four days equates to anything or what that might have to do with an internal rift. Is this to show that Ratnayake isn't in touch with his players?

Posted by tpjpower on (September 11, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

Sri Lanka haven't won a Test since Murali's retirement. Says a lot about the man.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

Dilshan is not a good captain. He does not lead by example, but ORDERS other to perform, where else other captains would request the team to perform.

Posted by Number1Sucks on (September 11, 2011, 2:15 GMT)

Well SL too is going the India way..! Lot of IPL , earning quick money and that too in large sums. I am firm believer of focus in life..! If there is focus anything is possible and for SL and India focus has been on shorter formats of the game.It is a sad and bitter truth no matter how vehemently BCCI or any other board denies it.

Posted by thefakeobserver on (September 11, 2011, 0:12 GMT)

Finally, Mendis decided to return favours....

Posted by vallavarayar on (September 10, 2011, 19:14 GMT)

Maybe it's time they scheduled another 3 test series against Bangladesh. That might bring back the winning ways. Seriously though, SL can't offer any excuse at all. The bowlers are doing as well as can be expected of a young unit. It's the batting that is a big hole at the moment. And the captaincy. Dilshan is absolutely useless as captain. He is older than both Mahela and Sanga too. As far as stop gap ,measures go, this has been a total flop. Hand back the captaincy to Sanga and remove all the political machinations from the selection process. That is the only way SL can come out of it's 'sliding back to pre-Murali era' mode.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

It's a clear case of people not fulfilling their rolls if you're given a job then do it with all you have because it's your country don't come up with excuses, anyways the board has to come with a proper plan as to who is going to be the coach and the other staff, even Bangladesh has their permanent coach why can't we? who is going to take responsibility,we continue down this road Sri Lanka cricket is going to hit rock bottom.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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