After stumbling to a seven-wicket loss against England in the first Test, Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur said that the batting performance of his side in the first innings was very poor and it was a major reason that the hosts were on the back foot from the get-go.
In the first innings, Sri Lanka was dismissed for 135, and after this dismal batting show, the hosts conceded 421, and this handed the Joe Root-led England side a hefty lead.
"The first innings was very poor, it was an unacceptable batting performance. I'm not one to ever look for excuses, but it was like we were batting at the Wanderers and Centurion in terms of tempo. We hadn't changed our tempo to bat in the subcontinent, coming back and batting in Sri Lanka, where it's all about patience, trusting your technique, wearing the opposition down and grinding away," ESPNCricinfo quoted Arthur as saying.
In the second innings, Sri Lanka recovered to register 359 runs as Lahiru Thirimanne went on to register a century. But the hosts managed to gain a lead of 73 runs, and in the end, England had no problem in chasing down this below-par total in the fourth innings.
"We got that in the second innings after we had a long, hard chat after day one, and we spoke about how we're going to make it better. And the guys responded nicely in the second innings. But it was too late. Even if we got 220 in the first innings, we would have kept ourselves massively in the game. That was disappointing. But we've put it right in the second innings," said Arthur.
Talking about Thirimanne's century, Arthur said: "I've heard all the rhetoric that's gone with Lahiru Thirimanne, but since I've worked with him, all I've seen is a player that works incredibly hard at his game. He's a player that's got a really good technique. I don't know what's done before."
"I can only talk about what I've seen. We took him to South Africa because we felt as a reserve batsman, he was a player that played fast bowling well. I thought he played the quicks well at the Wanderers," he added.
Sri Lanka had earlier lost the two-match series against South Africa. Now the hosts will take on England in the second Test from Friday.
( With inputs from ANI )
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