Sri Lanka v South Africa, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day

Only ourselves to blame for defeat - Mathews

Andrew Fidel Fernando in Galle

July 20, 2014

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A
Sangakkara's wicket the biggest drawback - Mathews

Kumar Sangakkara walks back disappointed, Sri Lanka v South Africa, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day, July 20, 2014
Angelo Mathews - "We have seven batters in the side and to expect one man to deliver all the time is wrong" © AFP

Among the gleanings from Galle is evidence that Angelo Mathews is an evolving captain. This may be as true on the field, as it is off it. On the recent tour of England, Mathews had stirred up a minor controversy when he suggested to a Sinhala media outlet that the official suspicion over Sachithra Sennayake's action had something to do with his potency against England.

But in Galle, when the opponents were found to be scuffing up the ball in order to achieve an unfair advantage, Mathews was more reticent in his criticism, weighing each phrase carefully before committing to it.

The back of Sri Lanka's first innings had been broken by a reverse-swinging burst from Dale Steyn, but Mathews avoided incendiary language. "It is unfortunate if someone tampers with the ball and they get the better out of it," he said. "It's unfortunate for the opposition. It shouldn't happen and umpires need to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Mathews stopped short of using the word "cheated" when asked if he and his team felt that way, after the defeat. But he did suggest a connection with what Philander had done to the ball, and the way it behaved afterwards. "It's not within the laws and you can't really tamper the ball. But they did it to try and make the ball reverse. It did."

Mathews did, however, concur with what seemed obvious both on television, and live at the ground: South Africa and Steyn achieved considerably more reverse-swing on the third session on day three, after Philander had tampered with that ball, than they achieved on day five, at a similar stage of the innings.

This is despite the fact that pitches generally become more abrasive as the game wears on, particularly when no rain has fallen on them - as was the case between the third afternoon and the fifth day in Galle. Mathews was at the crease on both the third evening - during Steyn's spell - and on the fifth day, when the ball was at a similar age to the ball that was reverse-swinging appreciably on day three.

"No. There was not as much reverse today as on the third afternoon, to be honest. With the wind the ball comes in, but the third afternoon it was reversing quite a lot."

After day four's play, South Africa coach Russell Domingo had said "other sides are better at [ball tampering] than we are", but both coach Marvan Atapattu and captain Mathews said Sri Lanka "don't do it".

But despite the controversy, Mathews laid the blame for the defeat at his own team's doorstep. "In this Test only Sangakkara made runs. We have seven batters in the side and to expect one man to deliver all the time is wrong. We have to bat well against the world no.2 ranked Test team, whether you play at home or away.

"Even on this slow track, it was their fast bowlers who took wickets. Where we lost the Test was the failure of our batsmen to score runs on the first innings. If we had got another 100 runs in the first innings, we had a good chance of winning this Test."

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

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Posted by   on (July 22, 2014, 1:17 GMT)

Guess the Sri Lankans pushed for victory and took chances....... Sanga etc's dismissals were indicative of this..... Now, the equation is different: SL has to win at least one.... SL selectors: bring in youngsters like Dimuth K. At least he is pretty much sure to get a 50 in at least one innings.

Posted by shanepe2003 on (July 21, 2014, 22:36 GMT)

It's funny how some of the ppl praise AB Mathews, in fact he an average player in this low performing team look like a superman! I don't understand why he comes so low in batting order when he is in good form,& he is not a finisher fail to hang up with low order until very end like JP duminy. In my opinion he's wicket in first inning cost us 50 to 60 runs if he comes low down the order he should be hang in there till the last man.

Posted by VikumHerath on (July 21, 2014, 18:19 GMT)

Solitary Formula to squire the series: At SSC, we need to put up a score in excess of 450. To do that, Tharanga, Sanga & Mathews need to play long innings without any foolish letups whatsoever (since the rest of the batting is so brittle & cannot depend on)!

To achieve big individual hundreds for each of these players, Constant CONCENTRATION & will-power are essential in addition to their natural skills. These guys are capable of doing it & they have done that before. It maybe a wise move to promote Mathews in the batting order & send MJ at Mathew's spot. Best of Luck guys..!!!

Posted by   on (July 21, 2014, 14:33 GMT)

SL batting coach is a question mark. Remember when MA was a caption SL team for the India tour MA was out several times caught behind the wicket. The same way SL lost many wickets caught behind the wicket. That means MA has not found the correct foot work up to now. Should he be the SL batting coach or do we have better replacement for MA.

Posted by chandi69 on (July 21, 2014, 8:55 GMT)

Come on Captain !! Accept the fact that you were out played by a better team who played better cricket without giving lame excuses !! Saying if we scored another 100 runs on 1st innings we would have won !! What a joke !! Remember that they declared 6 wickets down and out of the 6 wickets atleast 3 -4 fell when they were trying to score fast !! Try to rectify

Posted by Kavum on (July 21, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

Except for the captain himself, Sanga and the openers (barely) - MJ, Thiri and Chandi are inadequate (based on current performance). Tharanga, Mathews and Sanga all should have gone on to a century when they had the chance. The main difference between the sides is the quality of Elgar, Duminy, De Kock, Steyn, Morkel, Du Plessis, De Villiers and Amla. Otherwise, the two sides are pretty balanced. Looks like a 0-4 farewell for Mahela rather than the 4-0 boastfully predicted by an immature captain.

Posted by vallavarayar on (July 21, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

Sri Lanka has only two batters at the moment. Mathews and Sanga. The rest are just there to make up the numbers.

Posted by NIROSHAAN on (July 21, 2014, 4:54 GMT)

Who will be our next coach. I was pretty sure that slc told that they have marvan only as the interim coach till sa tour, and judge his performance, no need to judge as it is zeero, so called batting coach even can't prepaire young batters for local flat pitch conditions even, donot for ger his holdingvthis batting coach position for last 3 years, what batters he has prepared for future, sorry no body, they are forst than first class cricketers , pls bring a foreign coach. And improove the standards prior to world cup, local coaches all have failed in srilanka, tske roy dias and rumesh, but they were good they left when the team is struggling, but dought marvan will ever leave as he has very strong blood relative in the slc

Posted by   on (July 21, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

Thirmanne and Dinesh Chandimal needs to go back to domestic cricket and improve. They have failed far to many times.

Kushal Perera should be keeping at test level. Not sure why is he not included. Kithriwan should be in intead of Thirmanne

Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, KC Sangakkara, jayawardena, Matthews, Kithruwan, Kushal Perera, MDK Perera, Herath, Lakmal, Prasad / Welegedara

Posted by yohandf1984 on (July 21, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

Statement made by Mathews shows how matured he has become as a captain . He could have easily make ball tampering the scapegoat of defeat . instead he pointed that excessive reverse swing caused by tampering i impacted a bit still its his team to be blamed for defeat . Great from Captain . But pretty poor from Philander and Domingo . Domingo would have done better to give strict instructions to his bowlers to avoid tampering than pointing other countries . Lost bit of respect for SA . i feel instead of financial charges , teams should be charged with runs (may be 100) and couple of match ban for player & captain . Otherwise we ll see this so often (like SA did thrice within nine months)

Posted by   on (July 21, 2014, 2:04 GMT)

Time to think of resting Dinesh, Thirimanne and Mahela from the 2nd Test. May be get in Dimuth (he scores 30 - 40 compared to these 3.) and Roshaine Perera ( average 51 in first class and more centuries than Dinesh or Thirimanne). I think if Upu shows consistancy he should be made Vice Captain to relieve the pressure from Dinesh and Thirimanne.

Posted by Tinybaba on (July 21, 2014, 1:32 GMT)

Sanga was very unlucky as in both innings he was out for very soft strockes. Credit for his wicket shouldnt go at any bowler because Sanga himself got him out. Then I dont understnd why are we insisting on Dinesh Chandimal for such a long time even after his repeated failures , match after match. You can excuse a batter if he was out for an exceptional ball but he always gets out trying to pull or hook , whcih isnt his strong point. We need to go with someone else . Then look at Tirimanne who is yet another burden to the team. They cant play a defensive inning whenever it is required. What is the use of such a player in a national team. Remember how Duplesis play overy 14 hours to help SA to draw a match against Aussies in Australia recently ?. That is what you say playing with head rather than headless body.

Posted by Postmortem on (July 21, 2014, 1:04 GMT)

What is Thirumane doing in the team , wise captain? Poor SLC. Pathetic

Posted by Samuel-Rathnasiri on (July 20, 2014, 23:18 GMT)

These are the top scorers for SL in of 1st Test: Mathews- 89+27*=116, Av 116.00 Sangakkara- 24+76=100. Av 50.00 Tharanga- 83+14= 97, Av 48.5

So, Mathews is the highest contributor in batting..!

Posted by JoshFromJamRock on (July 20, 2014, 21:18 GMT)

South Africa, not matter the conditions or circumstance, is always expected to beat Sri Lanka - a team ranked lower than them. What was expected of SL is that they put up a good fight and push SA to the brink, as this match was played in SL in typical subcontinental conditions.

It was a great game for a neutral fan and credit must be given to Steyn, Morkel and Alma for getting the result. All the SA players played a role in the victory but Tahir and Philander will be disappointed with their performances especially since many fans and commentators expected much of them.

Sri Lanka need to get rid of the passengers in the team and have better and stricter requirements for selection and retention. Personally I'm willing to give any player 2 series or 5 matches (per format) to prove that they're international standard. I just hope Mahela gets his average back above 50 and salvage some pride before he leaves.

Posted by nimalgamage on (July 20, 2014, 21:16 GMT)

Don't understand why Mattews is coming so down the order. He should come atleast no. 5 position or don't mind coming at the no. 4 position above Mahela pushing him to No.5 position.

Don't know Mahela should in the side but 2nd test match is going to be played at his home venue SSC and it will be the last 2 series for him he should play.

But definitely Chandimal should be replaced and if can Thiri also can be replaced with some one else. We should give Kusal Janith Perera ago in the test side as a pure batsman or a wicket keeper batsman instead of Chandi as he is undoubtedly most talented young batsman in Sri Lanka cricket right now.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2014, 18:34 GMT)

Mathews has severely under estimated his contribution in this match by saying "Only Sangakkara made runs" How about Matthews himself? If he had to bat under normal circumstances (adverse circumstances were created by a bunch passengers in the middle order) he would have definitely reached three figures in the first innings. He was refusing singles to retain the strike batting with the tail. In the second innings he was left standard on 27 not out by his own team mates (barring the tail) who were totally clueless as well as spineless.

Posted by Andrew-Silva on (July 20, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

If not for the superb display of cautious, but aggressive batting by Tharanga (83 facing 155 balls - 14x4 + 1x6 ), Sanga (76 facing 145 balls - 9x4 + 1x6) & Mathews (89 facing 182 balls - 14x 4 +1x6) against the terrific pace attack of Steyn & Morkel, SL could have ended up with an Innings defeat! If the other batters could come up with similar contributions and live up to their potential (at least in one inning) reaching a winning goal is not beyond SL

Some points to ponder before the next Test: 1- Not to throw-away your wickets in absolutely unnecessary fashion, after doing all the hard-work towards coming so close to top the Century mark! The way they were batting, Tharanga, Sanga & Mathews could have easily extended their contributions well beyond that milestone & turned them in to BIG 100s as they have archived many time before!

2- When you have 4 sessions to chase 370, it makes NO SENSE at all, trying to chase it with an urgency similar to final ovrs in an ODI (Upul 107 SR)

Posted by sarangsrk on (July 20, 2014, 16:47 GMT)

Not much reverse swing today, still lost 9 wickets for 100 runs and that too at home?SL board should be worried about the batting resources.

Posted by Mid_Wicket on (July 20, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

What's the point of having MJ in this team? As per most of people in commentary box, He is a world class batsman. Huh !! Most tail-enders in this team perform far than this world class batsman. There is only one world class performer in this current team and he is Sanga. In 8 out of 9 innings he has gone past 50. see how he take the responsibility.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

It is high time selectors decide dropping non-performers before the second test. Also its better Mahela retires from all forms without creating undue pressure for the team.

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