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Match Analysis

Sri Lanka's 135 all out: Anatomy of a collapse

What was going on inside Sri Lanka's dressing room on the first day of the Galle Test?

Hard luck, Thiri. You'll come good eventually  •  SLC

Hard luck, Thiri. You'll come good eventually  •  SLC

Ah, hello guys. How are you? Happy new year, machan, happy new year. Come, come. Dressing room is there, just straight and to the left. I think Asitha said he was going to bring the match ball and the stumps for us. He's the newest guy in the team, no? So obviously I'm going to give him the job nobody wants.
Do you have all your gear? No-one has forgotten anything? Everyone has their own box today? Wow, nice pads Thirimanne! New? Where from? No matter what anybody says, buddy, you're always the sharpest-looking player on the field, ah. Remember that 31 you made two weeks ago? Never seen a better 31 bro, honestly.
You know what, you should open the innings. No, I'm serious. Dimuth called just this morning and said he can't come today. That guy is too serious anyway. It's all you Thiri. And hey, Kusal Perera… Mr. 153… you can also open, right? You guys go together. Two lefties. Like Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden.
I'm feeling good about today guys. Back on our home ground after a while. Yes, we got hammered in the last two games, but that was away from home. We're a different team on our own pitch. Yes, OK, so we also lost to this opposition last time we were here. But we fired that coach, remember? It's fine.
Boys, look at that perfect forward defence from Thiri. I knew it was the right choice to play him again and have him open the innings, guys. Someone was telling me there are these guys doing well in the lower level doing really well. I don't know, man, some Pathum Nissanka or someone. But we've all seen Thiri's glorious cover drive, right? Bent-kneed, just like Kumar Sangakkara. Their fast bowlers won't know what to do. I know he's barely started, but look how correct that shot is.
Oh, he's out? But how? He's middled that shot, still! He's flicked it straight to the sneaky leg slip they've put in. Can't fault the batsman there, guys, the only thing he didn't do was take into account the trap they've laid for him. Hard luck, Thiri. Yah, I know you've only hit one fifty in the last 18 innings you've played, but you'll come good, everybody knows that - your technique is great. And anyway, look at that - you blocked enough of their fast bowlers out that they have their spinners on already. This guy, Dominic Bess or something, hasn't even played on these kinds of pitches before. Obviously we're going to smash him.
Aiyo, is Kusal Perera out now? Must have dozed off. Playing the reverse-sweep? It's OK, KJP, that's the shot that gets you so many runs also, isn't it? That's fine, you tried it today against this Bess character, and fair enough, he hasn't played here before so we can do what we like against him. It's just the way you play. Everybody remembers that innings. Relax. Our two most-experienced batsmen are in now. We'll get 200 and roll them over on this pitch with our spinners guys, just watch. OK, Mathews and Chandimal are also out playing their shots. That must mean it's a difficult pitch, right, if even those guys are failing? Our bowlers are going to go wild.
Ah, Mr. Niroshan Dickwella… Dikka. Why don't you go out and get us out of this mess? Just play your shots. They still have this Bess on, what a joke. Can he even turn it? Look at this terrible ball he has bowled! It might bounce twice before getting to the keeper. Oh, no. Dikka - you've hit it straight to point. OK but to be fair, wide long-hops can be hard to deal with machan. They arrive so much later than you think - you really have to wait for them. Maybe that's not your thing?
Ah, now Hasaranga has also got out playing a reverse-sweep to this Bess. It must be a killer pitch if even he's getting wickets. This score looks low now guys, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get a big first-innings lead here.
So now that we're all out, what are the takeaways from that innings? Yes, we definitely could have been slightly more selective with our shots. OK, I hear what you're saying - when you nail a reverse-sweep against the turn early in your innings, what could demoralise an a team more? I mean, some would say a total of 135 is demoralising, but we're talking about the opposition.
And look, a lot of us were unlucky. Look at Dasun Shanaka getting caught off the boot of short leg. And Lasith Embuldeniya getting run out from a deflection off the bowler's hand. We had really bad luck today.
And also what a fantastic-looking 4 off 22 balls from Thirimanne, right? Guy has potential.

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