Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC, Colombo, 1st day June 30, 2012

'The score tells it clearly that we got it wrong' - Ford

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Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said that his team got it wrong by inviting Pakistan to bat after winning the toss on the first day of the second Test at the SSC.

"The score tells it very clearly that we got it wrong," said Ford at the end of the day after Pakistan had amassed 334 for 1. "The thought behind it was that there are a lot of experienced men in our group and they know this surface pretty well. I don't think any of them thought that pitch would play so well on the first day.

"The decision wasn't taken lightly and there were lot of discussions and I think just about all the wise heads and captains and ex-captains, involving the coaching staff and the team and everybody felt that it was worth having a crack with the ball. Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way we were hoping.

"There was something in the pitch in the first hour and with Pakistan not having started too well in the two innings in Galle, if we could strike early with the new ball, it would have got us in a pretty positive place and hopefully get them into a negative place. Unfortunately, it didn't do anything here as everybody thought.

"We have to give a lot of credit to the way they batted. They dug in and batted superbly."

Ford said that there were various strategies that they tried throughout the day - initially looking to attack and get wickets, before becoming more defensive when they found that the pitch was not offering much assistance.

Ford said that batting well in the first innings was crucial for Sri Lanka. "Test match cricket goes over five days and we need to respond really well. We'll have to come back and get into our work nicely tomorrow. On hindsight, the way the game is played certainly we'd have got in and had a bat. But unfortunately, that's not the way cricket works and you've got to make decisions. I think lot of the thought behind the decisions, was solid and the research was done with the stats etc."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY LALITHKURUWITA on | July 1, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    @Sinhaya This is called Over-confidence. In Test Cricket I always believe win the toss bat first. Sometime the first session on first day seam bowlers might get assistance but good teams negotiate it. Ford/Mahela thought Oh we smashed PAK in first test. We can get all 10 wickets in 40 to 50 overs.

  • POSTED BY siriherath on | July 1, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Nuff said, the only feasible scenario now, with Pakistan on 400/2 before lunch on 2nd day, is for them to battle it out with the weather-gods to come out victorious. Sri Lanka? well. they too can play their part by not only batting to their potential but also unhurriedly this time and eat up what ever valuable time they get their teeth into. However much u tried to split hairs, we all know it's a right blunder to put Pak in when they are 1 behind with 2 to play. As many have rightly said, when you've done the hard thing by winning the toss, it's only common sense to bat first and muster a sizeable total and bat the opposition out of the game - for, their necessity to win far outweigh yours. It's still possible that this won't be the first time when Sri Lanka managed to let an opposition to crawl back from 1 down to win a series.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    SL will be in a definite pressure situation after Pak amases 600+ today. They will play to win with their much better spin attack of Ajmal and co. Good Luck SL Team for their blunder. Hope this will not come to haunt them and getting Paks to level the serius. This will go as one of Mahela's worst ever decisions as it was not needed to take any gambels as he was alraedy 1 up in the serious. Also SL can never win at SSC which is one of the flattest of strips in the world with the average attack they pocess

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    Now, if...IF Pakistan start getting S L wickets relatively easily, would the pitch's character change quickly? Yes. But, such a chameleonic shift will be in the mind-set of the so-called experts, though! Don't be surprised, if it happens. Hindsight is the biggest expert!

  • POSTED BY Ksaminda on | July 1, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    i don't know what mahela was thinking he knows all about SSC he and samaraweera played all there school cricket at ssc.. every one knows its just a dead pitch that only bats men would enjoy.. thanz to the class of Vass n murali we got wicket in the past even at SSC but now herath kula r not in the same class with that grat legends therefor i dont know why to opt to bwl.. but now we also need to bat for a long time and it will happen coz its such a batting wicket like in india.. so this game surely be a draw but the guy whos in-charge pitch shoud need to sack he always give these sort of dead wickets it makes this great game so boring :(

  • POSTED BY Raj2000 on | July 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    A mistake by SL but all is not lost. This mistake only means that they have the added pressure of doing well. Should Pakistan bat most of the day without losing many wickets on the second day, they'll be in a strong position where the worse result would be a draw for them. Good luck to SL.

  • POSTED BY joe_blog on | July 1, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    I dont know why people are complaining about mahela's decision. He made it known before the match that he is going to attack and not be defensive and that's exactly what we want in a captain. Day one was the most likely day to get wickets and based on what the experts say the wicket becomes even better for batsmen. Given Pak's last test match batting, this was a good decision. It just didn't pay off and it seems the luck is with Pak in this test match (including umpiring decisions), so far. Being a Pak supporter I would like them to declare at 450 or 500 max. If they take long and score 600 or more then SL might just go into their shell and play slowly for a draw. Pak needs to keep them interested until the 4th day. Everyone will have their opinions but I think mahela and misbah are superb captains with mahela being one of the best ever.

  • POSTED BY Tusker17 on | July 1, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    Just a side point : Why are people calling players who bat in Cricket, as "Batters" ??!!

    This is an ugly term and Im sure most people in cricket want none of that. Batters exists in Base ball and "Elley" games, not in this lovely gentlemen's charming timeless game called "Cricket" !

    Please stop calling "Batsmen" , "Batters". This is like calling our parents "Oya, Meya" in Singhalese !

    BTW, yes totally agreed. Rain or shine, you win tosses at the SSC, you bloody well HAVE to bat !!!

    I really do admire Jayawardena for the captain and player who he is, I also see certain Che-guvera like logic here but lets not try to border on Idiocy and Insanity! This aint Russian Roulet !

  • POSTED BY Tanaka_Yakuza on | July 1, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    its mind-boggling to bowl first after winning the toss, its HILARIOUS to open the bowling with Mathews to exploit that what ever support SSC pitch gives to the fast bowlers in the morning session. Its sad, as a TEST cricket fan, to see our wicket keeper standing close to the our military medium pacers in less than 5 overs to TEST game. PATHETIC overall.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    It was a good decision if Mahela had the services of Steyn, Cummings or Malinga or not forgetting Murali or Warne. We must play to our strength which is batting. Kulasekara will not trouble international batsmen on this type of wickets. They are not fast enough to cause these batsmen any problems. Well done Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY LALITHKURUWITA on | July 1, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    @Sinhaya This is called Over-confidence. In Test Cricket I always believe win the toss bat first. Sometime the first session on first day seam bowlers might get assistance but good teams negotiate it. Ford/Mahela thought Oh we smashed PAK in first test. We can get all 10 wickets in 40 to 50 overs.

  • POSTED BY siriherath on | July 1, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Nuff said, the only feasible scenario now, with Pakistan on 400/2 before lunch on 2nd day, is for them to battle it out with the weather-gods to come out victorious. Sri Lanka? well. they too can play their part by not only batting to their potential but also unhurriedly this time and eat up what ever valuable time they get their teeth into. However much u tried to split hairs, we all know it's a right blunder to put Pak in when they are 1 behind with 2 to play. As many have rightly said, when you've done the hard thing by winning the toss, it's only common sense to bat first and muster a sizeable total and bat the opposition out of the game - for, their necessity to win far outweigh yours. It's still possible that this won't be the first time when Sri Lanka managed to let an opposition to crawl back from 1 down to win a series.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    SL will be in a definite pressure situation after Pak amases 600+ today. They will play to win with their much better spin attack of Ajmal and co. Good Luck SL Team for their blunder. Hope this will not come to haunt them and getting Paks to level the serius. This will go as one of Mahela's worst ever decisions as it was not needed to take any gambels as he was alraedy 1 up in the serious. Also SL can never win at SSC which is one of the flattest of strips in the world with the average attack they pocess

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    Now, if...IF Pakistan start getting S L wickets relatively easily, would the pitch's character change quickly? Yes. But, such a chameleonic shift will be in the mind-set of the so-called experts, though! Don't be surprised, if it happens. Hindsight is the biggest expert!

  • POSTED BY Ksaminda on | July 1, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    i don't know what mahela was thinking he knows all about SSC he and samaraweera played all there school cricket at ssc.. every one knows its just a dead pitch that only bats men would enjoy.. thanz to the class of Vass n murali we got wicket in the past even at SSC but now herath kula r not in the same class with that grat legends therefor i dont know why to opt to bwl.. but now we also need to bat for a long time and it will happen coz its such a batting wicket like in india.. so this game surely be a draw but the guy whos in-charge pitch shoud need to sack he always give these sort of dead wickets it makes this great game so boring :(

  • POSTED BY Raj2000 on | July 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    A mistake by SL but all is not lost. This mistake only means that they have the added pressure of doing well. Should Pakistan bat most of the day without losing many wickets on the second day, they'll be in a strong position where the worse result would be a draw for them. Good luck to SL.

  • POSTED BY joe_blog on | July 1, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    I dont know why people are complaining about mahela's decision. He made it known before the match that he is going to attack and not be defensive and that's exactly what we want in a captain. Day one was the most likely day to get wickets and based on what the experts say the wicket becomes even better for batsmen. Given Pak's last test match batting, this was a good decision. It just didn't pay off and it seems the luck is with Pak in this test match (including umpiring decisions), so far. Being a Pak supporter I would like them to declare at 450 or 500 max. If they take long and score 600 or more then SL might just go into their shell and play slowly for a draw. Pak needs to keep them interested until the 4th day. Everyone will have their opinions but I think mahela and misbah are superb captains with mahela being one of the best ever.

  • POSTED BY Tusker17 on | July 1, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    Just a side point : Why are people calling players who bat in Cricket, as "Batters" ??!!

    This is an ugly term and Im sure most people in cricket want none of that. Batters exists in Base ball and "Elley" games, not in this lovely gentlemen's charming timeless game called "Cricket" !

    Please stop calling "Batsmen" , "Batters". This is like calling our parents "Oya, Meya" in Singhalese !

    BTW, yes totally agreed. Rain or shine, you win tosses at the SSC, you bloody well HAVE to bat !!!

    I really do admire Jayawardena for the captain and player who he is, I also see certain Che-guvera like logic here but lets not try to border on Idiocy and Insanity! This aint Russian Roulet !

  • POSTED BY Tanaka_Yakuza on | July 1, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    its mind-boggling to bowl first after winning the toss, its HILARIOUS to open the bowling with Mathews to exploit that what ever support SSC pitch gives to the fast bowlers in the morning session. Its sad, as a TEST cricket fan, to see our wicket keeper standing close to the our military medium pacers in less than 5 overs to TEST game. PATHETIC overall.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    It was a good decision if Mahela had the services of Steyn, Cummings or Malinga or not forgetting Murali or Warne. We must play to our strength which is batting. Kulasekara will not trouble international batsmen on this type of wickets. They are not fast enough to cause these batsmen any problems. Well done Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY BowledYa on | July 1, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin - what a shame for some pakistani fans. Even when Misbah's team plays attacking cricket like day 1, some of you still complain. Instead of complaining for once you should congratulate the team for playing aggressively to win. It is not by chance that they scored 334 runs in one day, the captain and the coach told them to do so. The result is by far not known but they are on the right path.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 23:55 GMT

    SSC is a known batters wicket. Win the toss , you bat the other team out of the match and the series. Sri Lanka does not yet have the bowling to exploit - if there is- any life in the wicket . Now it is going to be hard ( fatigue sets in ) to put up a decent 1st inning score after being in the field most of two days.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | June 30, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    A lot depends upon SR of pakistani batsmen now. If tuk tuk comes in n uses the whole day for a score of about 40, then no way a result can be achieved here. They must score fast as soon as they get to 400 without loosing more than two more wickets. If they can score 570-600 by tea tomorrow, then there might be a chance to win the match otherwise a dull draw is obvious.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | June 30, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    Sides with all weather bowling attacks are able to extract something out of dry wickets if there is any juice in it. SL Should stick to their strength which is their batting. You may notice Pak is playing to win this match and are scoring a great run rate akin to Australians. By scoring so briskly, Pak has assured there is plenty of time left in the match and with cracking wicket on day 5 with Pak spinners I say Pak wins.

  • POSTED BY goldeneye075 on | June 30, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    I am seen many blaming Mahela and Team Managment for opting to bowl first, but I think they did the correct thing. If you know the correct history as SSC, if there is any thing for bowlers it will be on the first session during the test match. The truth is the bowlers did not have the ability to question the batsman. The credit should go to the PAK batsman, that they negated what ever life that it was there in the first session, when Taufeeq Umar is continuously playing out side of the crease, the bowlers did not have the correct pace to unsettle him by bowling bouncers, as Waqar had said. I think the batsman won the game for them. The only thing that I would blame Mahela is for is not having enough faith in the batting line up, even if they lose 2-3 wickets in the morning session they would have easily put up 300 on the board at the end of the day, I think it would be some thing to think about!!!!

  • POSTED BY lankavigi on | June 30, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    sl testing too much. mahela didn't enforce the follow-on in the 1st test match and luckily it didn't upset the result and now he bats first. Cmon, you cud easily say that this pitch is flat. Pak shud get above 550 and then comes the pressure cooker, that sl will be placed in. It's a safe bet to say that sl will do a pak like the first test. Any team will struggle with something as huge as 500 behind u. To be honest sl's bowling looks too blunt. There's no one who's really someone who's got the extra or additional talent. These are the players who are famous. Murali, malinga and vaas had this and hence were famous. Pakistan have ajmal and gul. Sl have no one. Herath bowls well, but doesn't strike so often. Even on aflat wicket, 300 + on day 1 is too much. Kulasekara is good but needs someone like malinga on the other end. To add on poor decisions will just rub it on. With such a bowling attack you can't take risks. you've got get runs on the board and give the bowlers a chance.

  • POSTED BY seantells on | June 30, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    SL have to admit that they do not have special bowlers to produce counter attacks n are intelligent enough to adopt to conditions, that is something they have to find.Mahela tried to play it on taking as a previous game PAK set back , but credit to PAK for playing counter attacking performence

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    This is simply an excusable mistake by Mahela and the team management, simply the odds were highly against them by fielding first due to following reasons. 1. Although SL took 20 wkts to win the match in Galle, it was a totally different strip, and that too SL batted first 2. SL does not have a world class bowling unit to dismiss even an average test batting side on one of the best batting friendly surfaces in the world. Eg the world record 600+ stand by Mahela and Sanga was here were against one of the best attacks South Africa 3. SL were alraedy 1 up in the series, so why taking unnecessary gambles. Although Mahela said that he won't play safe, now he will have to definetely play safe to defend a possible 500+ score will be put up by Paks. 4. The best way to repeatedly put the pressure on Paks was the same way they did in Galle. Bat first, score 450+ and put them on the defensive and a negative mind set, Even if they score 450+, still SL woud be on a positive atleast up to 2nd day.

  • POSTED BY Resultpredictor on | June 30, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    Good decision by Mahela, but Pak Batsman played well. 100% match will end in high scoring dull draw.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    The thought behind the decision may be right but Srilanka has just defeated Pakistan by piling up runs in the first innings and Pakistan crumbled against the pressure of those runs. I didnt understand why they didnt went for the same formula. Srilanka has a star batting line up and they could have batted Pakistan out of the test match again. Having said that I believe with such a batting track and rain around, it will take something special to get a result here.

  • POSTED BY yakironi98 on | June 30, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Reminds me of Naseer Hussain decision against the Aussies!

  • POSTED BY PrasadGunawardane on | June 30, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    @ Priyantha Gunaratna: rightly said and your analysis is perfect. In Cape Town, Dilshan had some sort of an excuse, since it was an unknown territory. However, Mahela had no issue with the Management nor with the team performance before coming in to this match and particularly with a great experience in SSC strip from his school big match era for more than 15 years now. However it is axiomatic that SSC pitch produces the best condition for batting in day 2 and 3; which might be the case for Mahela's decision by relying on his bowlers heavily who delivered well in Galle. I feel he would have expected around 5 wickets as the worst case for the 1st day, like early two and 3 from either spinners or seamers. Nevertheless, there is no way that SL can win this match, i must say from this position. Hence its sole up to SLankan batsmen to play long as they can and make sure that SL go Pallekale as 1-0. Otherwise surely the usual Galle Test win, won't produce a series victory to SL once more.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | June 30, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    @Srilanka Cwc Champions, rain is all exaggerated. Today all 90 overs were bowled hazzle free. Galle rain was forecast but never fell except on day 2 briefly. Rain will not be the winner at all mark my words.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    Mahela should be familiar with conditions like his own backyard. Therefore no excuses. Even before Pakistan started to pile up runs it looked a horrible blunder. Even if they had expected some life in the wicket in first session we did not have a formidable pace attack to exploit that. In that sense even if Pakistan had lost some early wickets they would have posted a good score since there was no help for the spinners. If we had batted first we would have easily posted a huge total and ensured that there could be only one winner in this match. There is no excuse for getting such simple things wrong. Although wicket may remain true, under scoreboard pressure we could crumble against quality spin bowling. This is similar to decision made by Dilshan in recent third test in SA series which eventually cost us the match and the series. Dilshan was under pressure then having failed as a batsman and captain, but for Mahela, I am sorry there will be no excuse if we go on to loose this match.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    after along time a good partnership for pakista. in he shape of azhar and muhammad hafeez................

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    More rain tomorrow and next 3 days Finally Rain will win.

  • POSTED BY Dadu786 on | June 30, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    Blinder mistake definetly will give win to Pakistan, Misbah is too smart for them.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Well I think the decision was right as far as the vulnerability of Pak batting is in view but credit goes to Pak Batsmen who did wonderfully well.

  • POSTED BY visha_pb on | June 30, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Poor Mahela. No One to Blame It Was Mahela. Everybody Saying He is a great Captain. Agreed. But this time you got it wrong buddy. Not go for the follow on in first test, it was very wrong decision & this time he wants to show the people he is not afraid. That's why he decide to ball first after winning the toss. Who will do the same in this world - ball first in the death pitch like SSC - Only Mahela. Great Captain, Poor Mahela You got wrong decisions in both test matches. Hope no more in future.

  • POSTED BY avmd on | June 30, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Wicket was made to draw to game by not losing, but putting Pak bat was not a negative approach, although not a correct decision. Now enjoy the sun for most of the test SL players and built up your vitamin-D stores.

  • POSTED BY MasudRUETeee091040 on | June 30, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    Srilanka wanted to keep pakistan near 250/5 or 6 in first day but they become fail.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | June 30, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Good on you Ford, for admitting we got it wrong. Well we just have to bat well when we get the chance and ensure we wont fail. Sri Lanka cannot win at all as Pakistan will definitely post 550 before declaring. We can only hope for a draw now but play attacking cricket.

  • POSTED BY TWIC on | June 30, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Wow Mr Ford, you don't say?

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  • POSTED BY TWIC on | June 30, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Wow Mr Ford, you don't say?

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | June 30, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Good on you Ford, for admitting we got it wrong. Well we just have to bat well when we get the chance and ensure we wont fail. Sri Lanka cannot win at all as Pakistan will definitely post 550 before declaring. We can only hope for a draw now but play attacking cricket.

  • POSTED BY MasudRUETeee091040 on | June 30, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    Srilanka wanted to keep pakistan near 250/5 or 6 in first day but they become fail.

  • POSTED BY avmd on | June 30, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Wicket was made to draw to game by not losing, but putting Pak bat was not a negative approach, although not a correct decision. Now enjoy the sun for most of the test SL players and built up your vitamin-D stores.

  • POSTED BY visha_pb on | June 30, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Poor Mahela. No One to Blame It Was Mahela. Everybody Saying He is a great Captain. Agreed. But this time you got it wrong buddy. Not go for the follow on in first test, it was very wrong decision & this time he wants to show the people he is not afraid. That's why he decide to ball first after winning the toss. Who will do the same in this world - ball first in the death pitch like SSC - Only Mahela. Great Captain, Poor Mahela You got wrong decisions in both test matches. Hope no more in future.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Well I think the decision was right as far as the vulnerability of Pak batting is in view but credit goes to Pak Batsmen who did wonderfully well.

  • POSTED BY Dadu786 on | June 30, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    Blinder mistake definetly will give win to Pakistan, Misbah is too smart for them.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    More rain tomorrow and next 3 days Finally Rain will win.

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    after along time a good partnership for pakista. in he shape of azhar and muhammad hafeez................

  • POSTED BY on | June 30, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    Mahela should be familiar with conditions like his own backyard. Therefore no excuses. Even before Pakistan started to pile up runs it looked a horrible blunder. Even if they had expected some life in the wicket in first session we did not have a formidable pace attack to exploit that. In that sense even if Pakistan had lost some early wickets they would have posted a good score since there was no help for the spinners. If we had batted first we would have easily posted a huge total and ensured that there could be only one winner in this match. There is no excuse for getting such simple things wrong. Although wicket may remain true, under scoreboard pressure we could crumble against quality spin bowling. This is similar to decision made by Dilshan in recent third test in SA series which eventually cost us the match and the series. Dilshan was under pressure then having failed as a batsman and captain, but for Mahela, I am sorry there will be no excuse if we go on to loose this match.