Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo March 14, 2017

We have the winning mentality at home - Herath

Contrary to the displays in recent matches, Rangana Herath believes the P Sara Oval pitch will have something more for the batsmen © AFP

Sri Lanka's most recent Test outing may have been the chastening 0-3 result in South Africa, but, where home Tests are concerned, there is a great deal of belief, acting captain Rangana Herath said.

There has always been a disparity between Sri Lanka's home form and their overseas returns, but this has been especially pronounced over the last two years. While they have lost nine of their previous ten away Tests - not counting the series against Zimbabwe - they have won each of the last six Tests at home. Half of those wins came against Australia, who were the top-ranked Test side at the time.

"The most important thing for a team to have is a winning mentality, and I think we have that in our team," Herath said. "In matches we've played at home - against Australia especially - we've won. Maybe all our players won't perform in the same match, but the trust that we have in each other is what helps us progress. We've got to carry that on in the next match as well."

Among the other home trends Sri Lanka will seek to extend is the proliferation of centuries. Five batsmen have scored hundreds in two of Sri Lanka's most recent Tests at home. With the batsmen having already spoken in meetings about turning their big scores into match-winning ones, Herath hoped for more of the same at the P Sara Oval.

"We play with either six or seven batsmen, and not everyone will get runs in every match. What we stress is that whoever gets a start, needs to carry on and get a big score," he said. "That's what Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga did in the last match. I'd love to see all the batsmen get runs, and I'm sure someone will here."

Though the surface at the P Sara has sometimes been a difficult venue for batsmen - Angelo Mathews even described it as an 'extreme pitch' during the most recent Test at the ground - Herath suggested there would be a little more for batsmen in this match, though bowlers of any ilk can prosper as well. The P Sara ground is effectively Herath's home venue in domestic cricket.

"The pitch is pretty similar to Galle. We know here that there is bounce for the fast bowlers in the first two to three days, though I'm not sure if this wicket will live up to that. I've played here a lot, and my experience is that towards the fourth and fifth days, it will take some spin as well."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anura on March 14, 2017, 23:40 GMT

    SL needs to concern about BD strength. Although they lost the last match, they are a "team" that played well in the past.

  • Amila on March 14, 2017, 22:56 GMT

    @GAGAN203; don't know what you are talking about. After 1-2 series loss to India, SL have beaten WI 2-0, Aus 3-0 and so far BD 1-0 at home. That's 6 consecutive wins at home. When SL defeated Aus, they were the #1 ranked Test team and SL defeated "champions of the universe" BD a few days ago.

  • muditha on March 14, 2017, 18:12 GMT

    well. for the record, there is a huge different in the composition of the team played against SA and this test team. the long awaited player changes and character boosts are driving our team to the goal. be afraid .. be very afraid world cricket.

  • gagan on March 14, 2017, 17:44 GMT

    don't know which proud home record Herath talking about.. before aus series , sl lost home series to pak India and Sa..even eng and nz teams drew their series in Sl

  • gagan on March 14, 2017, 17:44 GMT

    don't know which proud home record Herath talking about.. before aus series , sl lost home series to pak India and Sa..even eng and nz teams drew their series in Sl

  • Ranil on March 14, 2017, 16:45 GMT

    It is a good strategy to include five bowlers.How the composition of the team then look like with the return of Mathew, the selectors should have an idea now itself. To create a space for Mathew in the middle isn't it good to bring Dickwella as an opener in this game & test, I wonder.

  • Steve on March 14, 2017, 16:12 GMT

    Yes, I fully agree with winning mentality at 'home' theory.

  • udendra on March 14, 2017, 14:45 GMT

    This is cheeky from Herath. He surely knows what this wicket is going to be. And yes, players have their work cut out on this ground.

  • wimals9183211 on March 14, 2017, 12:46 GMT

    Why do we have this test at psara. Our record there is not good. we should have played at the Sinhalese SC where we beat Australia too. if it was at psara we would have lost. too many games at p sara but not at our favourite venue.the slc should develop the Sinhalese SC if it is short of facilities.

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