Sri Lanka repeats batting farce; hands England 2-0 sweep

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 00:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Lasith Embuldeniya shows his prowess with the bat by top scoring in the SL second innings with a career-best 40

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Captain Joe Root displays the Moose Cup Clothing Cup after ENG won the series 2-0


Sri Lanka (SL) gave a pathetic exhibition of their batting skills on a turning Galle pitch where their batsmen committed hara-kiri in the second innings to be bowled out for 126 to hand England (ENG) the second Test on a platter, and with it the two-Test series 2-0. The win meant that ENG have won six consecutive Test matches in SL, following their win in the last Test of the 2012 series and the three-nil whitewash of the 2018 series.

The first Test of the series, also played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, was lost when SL gave a shoddy display of batting to be dismissed for 135 in the first innings, while yesterday, the fourth day of the Test, it was yet again another substandard display of batting that brought about their downfall.

What this series emphasised was that ENG, even without some of their key players, were still a good enough side to beat SL on their own backyard and more so at their Galle fortress, where they were at one time unbeatable, but have now been breached with back-to-back losses to ENG.

It was asking too much from SL’s key bowler Lasith Embuldeniya to bowl ENG out a second time after they were left with a target of 164 to chase in the fourth innings. Having bowled untiringly 42 overs in the first innings for seven wickets, Embuldeniya hardly had time to put his feet up when the Lankan batsmen simply threw away their wickets in the second innings to be 78-8 at one stage. It was left once more to Embuldeniya to come to his team’s rescue, on this occasion with the bat. He put to shame some of the strokes the top order batsmen played by going on to score a career best 40 off 42 balls (6 fours, 1 six), and in a ninth wicket stand of 48 with Suranga Lakmal (11*), gave SL a target to bowl at the England batters in the fourth innings.

ENG lost four wickets in their run chase, including that of their most prolific run-getter of the series, Joe Root for 11, in which Embuldeniya picked up a further three wickets to return his first match bag of ten in his career. Embuldeniya waged a lone battle against all odds and he was the stand out player for his team as ENG coasted home quite comfortably after surviving the jitters to win by six wickets, riding on Dom Sibley’s patient unbeaten half-century (56* off 144 balls, 2 fours) supported by Jos Buttler (46*) that took the score from 89-4 to past the required target in an unbroken 75-run stand.          

SL failed to capitalise on a first innings lead of 37 when they dismissed ENG for 344 and their batsmen indulged in some inexplicable batting that turned their second innings into shambles. Whereas the wickets in the first innings was taken by the England fast bowlers, yesterday it was the turn of the spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess. After going wicket-less, they reaped the rewards in the second innings thanks to the slapdash batting by the SL batsmen who were too eager to play strokes on a turning and bouncing pitch instead of trying to lay a foundation for a good second innings total that would have put England under real pressure on the fifth and final day.

The SL batsmen built up their own pressure by their poor shot selection. Every one of them seemed to be in a rush; not trusting their defence; and none of the batsmen got out to a good ball that turned and bounced. That was how substandard the batting was.

Root was named Man of the Match for the second successive Test and also the Man of the Series for his 426 runs in the series at an average of 106.50.


ENG spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess shared eight SL wickets


We got to learn to be ruthless and win situations: Mickey Arthur