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Silverwood disappointed with Sri Lanka's spin returns

At the same time, he sees 'big things coming' from pace duo of Fernando and Rajitha

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
23-May-2022
Praveen Jayawickrama expresses his frustration  •  AFP/Getty Images

Praveen Jayawickrama expresses his frustration  •  AFP/Getty Images

Two wickets for 416 runs in 157 overs. These are the damning numbers of Sri Lanka's spinners in the tour of Bangladesh so far. And Chris Silverwood, their new head coach, didn't mince words when he was asked to assess their performance.
On Monday, Sri Lanka had Bangladesh on the mat at 24 for 5, and then saw Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim add an unbroken 253-run stand that rescued the hosts. Spin accounted for 49 out of the 85 overs on the day, but none of the four bowlers could pick up a wicket.
"We could have bowled a lot better but it is something we will talk about in the dressing room," Silverwood said. "I think we need to bowl much better line and lengths. We gave too many balls away to hit. That's something we have to work hard on to rectify. There's no point hiding from it."
Silverwood, in particular, rued substitute Kamindu Mendis dropping Litton on 47 in the second session "Obviously it is disappointing to not push on from the start we got," he said. "I thought we exploited the early movement fantastically well. The two seam bowlers [Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando] were exceptional again, in their discipline, the way they asked the batters questions.
"Unfortunately we didn't back it up after that. From there on, we gave away a lot of scoring opportunities. When we did force an error, we didn't take that catch. It would have made a huge difference. It proved very costly to us."
While Silverwood was disappointed with the spinners, he was effusive in his praise for the new-ball bowlers. The coach was particularly pleased with how Fernando and Rajitha worked in tandem and believes he is seeing the makings of a strong Sri Lankan pace attack.
"It does (give us hope)," he said. "In my second game in charge, I am having a good look at what we have got, and what we haven't got. It does give me a lot of hope in the fact that in a very short period of time, we have managed to install discipline in the seam bowlers so that they can make a difference.
"Whether it is attacking off-stump or bowling short. It worked in the last game, and created an opportunity in this game. But we didn't take. It does give me a lot of hope. There's room for improvement but we have to do it quickly. It is something that excites me."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84