Sri Lanka’s batting coach Grant Flower wants Sri Lanka’s bowlers to learn from their English counterparts how to bowl on the Galle track if they hope to achieve success in the second Test.
“England’s bowlers plan the basics and look after the basics, and a lot of it is line and length. That’s what good players do and good sides do. Like Chris (Silverwood) said, it’s not rocket science. They just want to do the basics as well as possible. If you get enough balls in the right areas, you stop the batters from scoring and you put pressure on the batsmen; and they have to look to score off good balls. There is no secret to that. Hopefully our seam bowlers will do the same,” said Flower in a virtual media conference at the end of the first day yesterday.
Sri Lanka ended the first day on 229-4 with Angelo Mathews leading the way with his 11th Test hundred and being unbeaten on 107 at the close.
“I definitely back our bowlers – especially with England having to bat last and Suranga Lakmal coming back into the team. He is a great bowler with a lot of experience, and he bowls really well. We got an extra off spinner now on the team, and we got good experience and good variations. Hopefully the guys can come to the party and help us achieve that victory,” said Flower.
The Lankan batting coach said that he could not be too critical with the first day score because England bowled tightly.
“At stages, we were a bit slow. We lost some wickets at crucial stages, probably when we were trying to accelerate a bit. But also regarding the way we played in the first innings of the first Test, we thought we just needed to dig in a bit more and put a larger price on our wickets. You can’t be too critical, and you’ve got to give credit to the English bowlers – especially Jimmy Anderson. He was really hard to get away on a slowish pitch. Hopefully it will get better for the spinners and bring our spinners into play as the match moves on,” said Flower.
Asked what discussions took place between the first Test and the start of the second regarding Sri Lanka’s batting, Flower said: “I just told them to apply themselves much more. We didn’t have to chase the game like we did in South Africa. Today was a flat wicket. It didn’t turn much and there was a little bit of bounce for the seamers but it was a really good wicket to bat on. So the guys have to bat and apply themselves and wait for the loose balls. Jimmy Anderson bowled really well as he always does but the spinners didn’t get a lot of help from the wicket and Angelo Mathews showed his experience again and he got a really good hundred and showed what a good player he was. Hopefully if we can put on another 100-150 runs tomorrow, we can put the English under pressure.”
Mark Wood, who took his first wicket of the series when he trapped Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal lbw, said that it was hard work bowling on this pitch.
“I was really knackered bowling on that track. My value is not only the wickets that I take but the pressure I put on for others to take wickets. I can unsettle the batters and they might make a rash shot against spin,” said Wood, who ended the first day with figures of one for 47 off 17 overs. (ST)