Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal expressed bafflement over his side’s second unfathomable collapse in as many Tests, and urged his batsmen, including himself, to bat with patience like Root. Despite taking a 37-run lead, a horror show in the second innings drove the Lankans to a loss.
After a fine showing in the second innings of the first Test and the first innings of the second Test, a 37-run lead, many believed, was handy enough for Sri Lanka to bat England out of the Test, but what followed on the morning of Day 4 was an action replay of Day 1 of the first Test. Eager to play T20 cricket in whites, the Lankan players played one rash shot after another and remarkably got bowled out for 126, undoing all the good work they’d done for three and a half days. A target of 164 proved too less to defend even for the tireless Lasith Embuldeniya, as England, after an early scare, coasted to victory via a Dom Sibley fifty.
Speaking post the game, Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal condemned his side’s batting display on Day 4 and urged his men to bat like Joe Root, who walked away with the Man of the Series award.
“We were outplayed today. We did all the hard work over the last three days, but as a batting unit, we made the same mistakes we made in the first Test on the first day. We need to learn to bat like Root. We need to be patient with the bat. We did well in patches, but it isn't good enough against a team like England. Credit to them, they did really well,” Chandimal said post-match, reported Cricbuzz.
“Even I didn't understand the collapse. I played a rash shot, so I take the responsibility. But nobody in our lineup took responsibility. A score of 250 would have been good on this wicket. Going forward we need to learn how to bat with patience. But the guys will learn moving forward.”
One Sri Lankan player who played his heart out, and was the standout bowler from both sides, was Lasith Embuldeniya. The young left-arm spinner backed up his five-wicket showing in the first Test with a 10-wicket haul in the second but had no gas left in the tank on Day 4, defending a modest total on a wicket that was by no means a minefield. Chandimal heaped praise on the 24-year-old who he believes will be a big asset for the side in the future.
“Embuldeniya was outstanding throughout the series. He is doing all the hardwork at practice and he always asks how he could improve with the bat and the ball. He is going to be an asset for us going forward.”
The England skipper, Root, who batted the best he ever has in his career, meanwhile expressed joy over how his side performed. For the second Test running, England won the game chasing in the fourth innings despite losing the toss, and the 30-year-old stated that he was proud of his boys’ effort, and described England as a team on an upward trajectory.
“It was a fine performance to come out on top after having lost the toss. We had the worst part of the wicket for most part and that speaks of the guys' determination. From Sibley and Buttler, to see us home was a brilliant way to finish the series. We wanted to create some chaos with the ball and make it difficult for them to score boundaries, and we're glad we did that.
“There were certainly some difficult balls to deal with. But what I am proud of is how calm we were in the chase. Credit to the bowlers as well to make it difficult for them. We are on an upward curve as a team.”
England will now head to India for a four-match Test series, the first of which will be played in Chennai from February 5.