In the days since their loss in Galle, Sri Lanka have been through an honest appraisal through their many flaws in the first Test.
This is according to their coach Chris Silverwood, who highlighted fielding and bowling as particular areas for improvement.
But they need to improve in “all three departments”, he said. After the loss in Galle, captain Dimuth Karunaratne had also highlighted the twin failures of Sri Lanka’s top order, after they had been 54 for 4 in the first innings, and 99 for 4 in the second.
“There are certain areas that we need to improve on, fielding being one of them,” Silverwood said one day before the second Test, in Colombo (SSC). Sri Lanka missed at least three clear-cut chances in the first Test. “There’s no hiding from it – we need to improve our fielding. There’s progression in that department. We analysed the last Test match, and if we’re honest, I think we fell short in all three departments.
“I think it’s part of learning as a group, we have to be honest with ourselves and reflect inwards. Without pointing fingers out we have to be honest with ourselves.”
Sri Lanka have serious ambitions of playing the next final of the World Test Championship (WTC), and a loss in Galle is about as poor a start to the new WTC cycle as could have been hoped for. Despite that rough start, the desire to make a mark on the WTC remains, Silverwood said.
“The motivation is there. The players know how important it is to be picking up WTC points. And they know how important it is to be winning at home as well. The pride is there to do that. The motivation’s there. We have to continually do that all the time.
“The determination is there that this game they’ll come out harder. I want to see them come out of their shells and express themselves and have the confidence to show how good they are.”
On the batting front, Sri Lanka will have to contend with Pakistan’s seamers – Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah – again. In the first Test, they were outstanding in the first session of the match, and returned frequently with the old ball to deliver testing spells of reverse-swing.
“First of all, we have to accept that the two fast bowlers Pakistan have are very good,” Silverwood said. “They are very good at their craft and have good pace. And they don’t give many runs away. The one thing they can do is hammer a length hard, skilfully, time and time again. And their bouncers are accurate. We have to give them a lot of credit for the way they operate. I think they make life difficult for any batting line-up anywhere in the world.”
“We have to be ultra-positive. I’m not saying we go out to slog or anything like that. We have to make sure our footwork is positive and our decision-making is strong. And that we find a way of combating these guys.”
Source: ESPN Cricinfo