There was a time when the Sri Lankans were a different kettle of fish in their own backyard. Even the best of the teams found it tougher against the Lankans. But those were the days when Sri Lanka played with a lot of passion and they were a bunch of fitness freaks. Right now, even a gentle breeze would topple their batting and bowling unit because this team lacks the spirit and passion of their predecessors.
After the meek surrender in South Africa, the next challenge for the Lankans was England and it was in Galle, where, they hardly lost any Test matches. Well, they lose now and the reason is due to their lack of sense and sensibility.
Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat, which was the correct decision, but when they came out to bat, the batsmen made the decision a mere joke.
Lahiru Thirmanne and Kusal Perera were the openers.
Sri Lanka lost the services of their regular opener Dimuth Karunaratne due to injuries – God Dam, another one! How many more would be on that list in this ongoing series, who knows?
With the beautiful scenery in the background, Stuart Broad angled one in the middle and leg stump line in the seventh over, and neither Thirmanne moved his feet well not did he executed the shot with soft hands – an easy catch to leg slip.
That was cold, man!
But wait, there is more to come!
Kusal Perera, the history-maker in Test cricket with his magical 153 not out a couple of years back, attempted a reverse-sweep against Dominic Bess, and chipped one to the slips. Now, what was that reverse-sweep for in the tenth over of the day?
But before that, Kusal Mendis added another duck to his collection while exhibiting any conviction against a harmless leg-cutter from Broad. That was his fourth duck in a row.
At 3 for 25, Angelo Mathews and the stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal arrested the collapse, but it was temporary.
Mathews attempted to cut a delivery from Broad, that was not short, but he thought it was and the outcome was poor and in the next over, Chandimal watched the well-flight delivery tossed up by Bess and decided to go after it rather than handling it with composure – the fielder at cover took the catch and a collapse was inevitable.
3 for 81 becomes 5 for 81 and then it was 6 for 105 when Niroshan Dickwella made a mess of a long hop from Bess – weight going back for the cut shot and the ball looped to backward point.
The last four wickets fell for 30 runs and Sri Lanka posted just 135 runs in the first innings.
It was an abysmal batting display by the top and middle-order batsmen from Sri Lanka on a deck, where batting was not an impossible task. What required the most was the application and sadly, Sri Lanka lack it very much!
When England batted, Joe Rot showed how it can be done.
Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley went cheaply, but Root led from the front.
He went onto notch a double hundred and the sweep shot had been one of the most productive strokes during that knock. The ease with which Root amassed his runs might give a somewhat misleading impression about the nature of this pitch. His composure marshaled the innings and ensured others the confidence to move on.
On the other hand, the Lankans failed to exploit the conditions and more often failed to adjust their line and length. The five bowlers Sri Lanka used leaked more than 3.5 runs an over, which gives the impression of how below-par they had been, whereas, in the course of time, they were expected to bore fruits from the Galle track.
When Sri Lanka started their second innings, they were already trailing by 286 runs, but this time around, the much-needed application was seen. Thirimanne, Perera, and Mathews rediscovered their lost mojo and tried their best to avoid an innings defeat and not repeat the mediocrity of the first innings.
But it was too late to avoid the defeat and only if Sri Lanka batted sensibly in the first innings, things could have been different in the fourth innings, where England experienced a bit of hiccup while chasing 74 runs.