REUTERS – There was no great surprise in Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews’ analysis of his side’s five-wicket loss to New Zealand before lunch on the fourth day of the second test in Hamilton on Monday.
Any side that loses 10 wickets for 62 runs is odds on to go on and lose the match and Mathews thought his team’s second innings batting was a “mockery”.
“We just had to bat well and dig deep, but we made a real mockery out of our second innings batting and we just couldn’t give enough runs for the bowlers to get them out,” Mathews told reporters at Seddon Park.
“It is actually very disappointing the way the game unfolded towards the end.
“We had our chance, especially after getting them all out for 240-odd in the first innings. We had a healthy lead.”
The visitors were well placed at 71 without loss before lunch on the third day, a lead of 126 with 10 second inning wickets still in hand.
New Zealand’s bowlers then sparked a remarkable collapse with three wickets for six runs before lunch and then took the last seven for another 56 after the break with a short-pitched plan to dismiss the visitors for 133.
“After the first couple of wickets they used the tactic of bumping us,” Mathews said.
“We thought the best way to handle it was to try and be positive and to score some runs off it, not recklessly.
“They tried to negotiate it but they couldn’t really.”
New Zealand were set a victory target of 189 runs, which the hosts achieved about an hour into the fourth day with Kane Williamson scoring 108 not out, his fifth century of the year and 13th overall.
Williamson’s approach to his innings effectively sealed the match, Mathews said.
“Both teams struggled to face the short ball.
“Both teams were applying that same tactic and the batters from the both teams just couldn’t handle it, apart from Kane Williamson.”
Despite the 2-0 series loss — New Zealand won the first test in Dunedin by 122 runs — Mathews felt there was still plenty of positives to take out of the tour, particularly the development of younger players like Dushmantha Chameera.
“Chameera was absolutely brilliant,” Mathews said. “He is just finding his way in test cricket. He’s played just a few games and he was able to shake the New Zealanders.
“He managed to upset their rhythm… and if he can keep his pace up there to constantly trouble the batsmen — that’s all I want. I just want him to bowl as quick as he can.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)