Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 5th day March 19, 2017

'Poor catching, batting cost us, not complacency' - Herath

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Rangana Herath felt the passage after lunch where Bangladesh came out attacking proved crucial © Associated Press

Rangana Herath, the Sri Lanka captain, said he was confident of defending 191 in the fourth innings, although they would have liked more runs to work with. Herath has been the central figure in each of Sri Lanka's five most recent home victories, when they have bowled out visiting sides for 171 (West Indies), 161, 183 and 160 (Australia), as well as dismissing Bangladesh for 197 in Galle.

However, though Herath struck early in Bangladesh's final-day chase at P Sara, removing Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes off consecutive deliveries, he couldn't sufficiently quell Tamim Iqbal or the Bangladesh middle order.

"I really thought that we could defend it, because we have played games with India and Pakistan and defended low scores," Herath said. "We also had three spinners. When we got two early wickets, I felt the same way, but after lunch they were in an attacking mood and scored some quick runs. That's where the match slipped from us in the fourth innings."

Herath also pinpointed Sri Lanka's catching at the end of day two and their collapse on the fourth afternoon as definitive passages of play. Of particular consequence was the dropped catch off Shakib - he was spilled by Upul Tharanga at deep square leg on 11 - with Sri Lanka spurning the chance to have Bangladesh 210 for 6 after the hosts had hit 338. Bangladesh would eventually go on to establish a first-innings lead of 129.

"I thought we made too many mistakes while fielding and batting," Herath said. "We dropped a couple of crucial catches and that was the main reason for us to lose the match. Shakib's catch was especially bad because he went on to a century. With a team this competitive, we can't let the little mistakes like that that come into our game."

Though Sri Lanka began the third innings well, pulling into the lead with nine wickets remaining, they had a horror session after lunch on the fourth day. Five top order batsmen were out in the space of 15 overs, to Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib.

"If you take the second innings we were batting well. After Upul Tharanga got out, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis were going great. Then Kusal got out and suddenly we lost four more wickets for 40-odd runs. That was the key and that's what we should have prevented. That was the start of our downfall."

Herath said the loss was "one of" the worst defeats of his career, but was adamant that at no stage did Sri Lanka underestimate Bangladesh. Sri Lanka are 31 points clear of Bangladesh on the Test rankings, but are only two places ahead - seventh, where Bangladesh are ninth.

"Before the series started I said that this was a challenging series as both teams were equally matched. We had a good chance in Galle as we got close to 500 runs, and we capitalised. Here we couldn't do the same.

"Bangladesh have certainly improved a lot. Earlier when they got partnerships going, we would put pressure on them, and they wouldn't be able to handle that. This team tries to stay in the game a lot more, and now they counter our plans. They have been very clever."

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

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  • Modern-Spectator on March 22, 2017, 20:42 GMT

    Reality check of Test-2: 1) If Coach (& captain) read this forum, could have grab enough smart points to save the series for SL. So, please keep this forum clean without overloading with sly personal attacks. Some comments remind the ordeal of maestro, Sunil Santha. 2) Captain you don't jump off the cliff with your team just because a donkey instructed it. Captain, use your brain. 3) Like BD, #7 ranked SL test team is well balanced even with mediocre fielding. According to statistic principals, it is capable to beat/loose two ranks above/below on very good/bad day and it applies to BD too. SL had a bad test-2 as silly guidance misled the team after 4th day lunch. Please don't find a scapegoat instead of point out the root course, the black sheep, SL coach. SL needs a better coach. 4) Avoid appointing a bowler as the captain. If did, let the vice captain to handle the bowling strategy who is free from bias. UT could have restricted BD before getting 190.

  • BanglaBandhu on March 22, 2017, 14:04 GMT

    Look guys - too many excuses are coming from the SL camp. Players no good, Players too old, players too young, support staff not good, adminstrators not good etc etc. How about a different excuse, for the first time in an away test match, BD developed a winning spirit, they were not in awe, they just won a home test match against England in 3 days and were hungry for more, they played not bad test matches in IND and NZL with personal milestones for several BD players, they overcame the "lose toss/lose Match" mantra. These are viable excuses for the SL loss - dont you think?

  • killer_z on March 21, 2017, 22:35 GMT

    So.. this is where people come to vent their frustrations and to make jokes. The fact is BD played well. Played superior cricket over 5 days and won it fair and square. The pitch nor the toss had anything to do with it. SL cricket is in such a bad shape its a shame to talk about it. Our fielding is at its lowest point in years I believe. Even when we had Arjuna, Aravindha and Gura did we never field like this. First of all I believe our club cricket structure needs to be revamped. Mahela suggested this some time back, but fell on deaf ears. We have more clubs than Australia, hence real quality players are spread out over 20 something clubs. This is the root of the problem. Lesser clubs would mean you'd have to be a quality player to be able to get in and keep playing. Just like the national side. Thats why any Aussie who is put into the national side is ready to go mentally. we are light years away from being any close

  • cricfan82865468 on March 21, 2017, 15:16 GMT

    Thilanga Shumathipala please purge your ego and dump 3 day club cricket and have a 4 day tournament.Bangladesh improved after they setup a 4 day structure. Sumathipala is the main cause as he wants to win the SLC elections by propping up club cricket. Each club has a vote, over 50 votes as against 12 or so in India. Sports Minister opportune time to hammer the nail on the head. Change cricket board constitution and have the provincial voting system 4 votes for WP West, East, Nort and South and one vore for each other provincial team.Come on act fast sports minister . Or else u will be known for been inactive and lethargic....it seems to be so at the moment.

  • SLMaster on March 21, 2017, 14:21 GMT

    @Indyopc Agree with ... SL back staff is poor as well. Also, catching was poor. BD has support staff better than SL. Also, BD has more experience than SL. Also, umpiring when against SL as well. Specially against Kusal Mendis.

  • Indyopc on March 21, 2017, 7:38 GMT

    when you throw peanuts....you get monkeys......I think we need a better support staff, if we need to play cricket in a more competitive environment.Sad to say that Bangladesh support staff is much more qualified and much more experienced than our SL support staff. They have a world class head coach/ Brilliant Batting coach/ Top class trainer (All sri Lankans though) and they had one of the best fielding coaches of Ruwan K who has done wonders to this team.Also they have Courtney Walsh as their Bowling Coach. With these names and their work ethics.....do you think our guys have an edge over BD??? Mr. Gurusinghe who joined the team for this series is a good choice and i am sure he will speak his heart out and make some critical changes to the support staff and also to this young team. Needed someone strong like him as the manager and lets wait and see if he is allowed to carry out his duties by the pundits of the SLC in the future.

  • easy_goers on March 21, 2017, 3:59 GMT

    CRICKETWIZ123, keep it up bro!!! You gonna hurt more to be like this....

  • Cricinfouser on March 21, 2017, 3:05 GMT

    It's okay. Give us fans a great ODI and T20 series by dominating them. I hope Chandimal doesn't get a free ticket in to the shorter format. But, I doubt it will be the case. Jayasuriya mentioned that he should go and play club cricket to gain confidence, but we'll see what happens. Unfortunately, the team will be less competitive with him in. I hope that chap with 500+ first class wickets makes his debut in the ODIs where Herath has retired. Bangladesh is likely to make the mistake of underestimating an even younger SL side in a format where they believe they are superstars. I doubt if they'll even come close to winning a match.

  • Cricinfouser on March 21, 2017, 2:25 GMT

    Its no surprise that SL team is struggling in the international stage ...Just look at who is coaching out team , Fielding coaches are someone name Manoj and Bawwa ( both locals) ,who are these people ? have they ever represented any major cricket team in their lives ? who appointed these people?

  • CricketWiz123 on March 21, 2017, 1:44 GMT

    @SOHNI KHAN, One win and trumpeting like world beater. Well, this way other team should be scared playing Bangladesh. They don't count their lose but only remember their win why they are lowly ranked 9th.

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