[Sri Lanka], August 6 (ANI): Sir Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal admitted that the team had lost the second Test match in its first innings, when it only managed 183 after India had posted 622 for 9 declared to concede a massive 439-run deficit.
"We were completely outplayed," said Chandimal after India took a winning 2-0 lead following their innings victory at the SSC ground.
"The first-innings effort was disappointing and it cost us heavily. They batted well too. Scoring 622 is huge, that put us under a lot of pressure. We didn't think we would get out so cheaply. We were surprised as well because the pitch started turning more than we thought - more than it had in the first one-and-a-half days. The reason we lost the game is because we got out for 183 in the first innings."
In saying that, Chandimal also expressed delight at the manner in which Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis orchestrated a second-innings fightback with individual centuries that propped up a team tally of 386.
"I am really pleased with the way we batted in the second innings," said Chandimal.
"We need to pick up the positives and look forward to the next game. It was a fine effort by both Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne. After yesterday, we had some discussion and in those meetings, we planned about how to go about things today. I still feel that everyone fought very hard but we kept losing wickets.
"Dimuth played a special innings. As an opener, we expect that kind of innings from him, so we're very happy he played that innings on a very tough deck like this one. Of the innings that I've seen over the last three or four years, this was one of the best - both from our team and the various oppositions. It was an excellent innings. He always goes to the crease looking to score runs. That must have helped him get these 140-odd runs."
Explaining the rationale behind Sri Lanka's over-reliance on the sweep shot of various hues, Chandimal said, "After the second day's play, we felt it was a tough pitch to bat on it. We tried to play straight but we couldn't score well. Before the second innings, we had a discussion and had a chat about what was the best way to score runs. Everyone agreed that the best way moving forward was by using the sweep and reverse-sweep shots heavily. We executed really well in the second innings."
Sri Lanka was also handicapped by losing the services of Nuwan Pradeep, its sole paceman in the XI, late on the first evening.
"With the state that Pradeep is in, he will be out for two or three weeks," remarked Chandimal.
"It's really hard to play with one seamer. What we thought about is that with these conditions, the only way we could have balanced this team was with one seamer only in the attack. That was the plan. Unfortunately, he got injured and that became a big problem.
"It's a big disadvantage not to have Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal (for the next Test starting in Pallekele on Saturday). We haven't made any decisions on selection, because it was only in this match that Nuwan got injured. We haven't spoken to the selectors. We will make a plan in the future and try to execute that."
Chandimal agreed that the fact that Angelo Mathews, his predecessor, was only playing as a batsman due to physio's instructions hadn't helped matters.
"He used to bowl in the last five-six years and he gave us good balance in the side. It's a massive loss if you want to get the combination right, it is a big loss for the team," he said.
The two teams will now play the final Test beginning August 12 before starting off with the five-match ODI series and a lone T20.
And considering the quality, or the lack of it, of the Sri Lankan team, the visitors will look to complete a clean sweep in Pallekele (Kandy), where the third Test will be played. (ANI)