We’ve definitely got the skills and the team to beat England: Mathews

Thursday, 21 January 2021 01:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Angelo Mathews batting against England on a fourth day Galle pitch in the first Test

  •  Mathews: One spell I felt that I was playing in England against him (Broad), because he was moving the ball which is very difficult for a fast bowler to do especially in these conditions in Galle

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Former Captain Angelo Mathews is of the view that individually if the players take responsibility they are confident of beating England in the second Moose Cup Daraz Test starting at the Galle International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

“Individually if you take responsibility, we definitely got the skills and the team to beat England. We know that we are up against an experienced and quality team, but this is our conditions and we have played really well over the last few years. In the last few games, we haven’t performed well but we have the talent, and we can and we know that we can beat this English team if we play well,” said Mathews in a virtual media conference yesterday.

“Inside us we are confident that we can win the next Test; we lost the first Test due to our poor batting in the first innings. All of us will take the blame for that. In the second innings we managed to rectify our mistakes, but it was a little bit too late. We all know that if we had another 100 to 150 runs in the first or second innings, we had a very good opportunity to win the Test. The morale of everyone in the squad is good even though our captain (Dimuth Karunaratne) will not be able to play due to injury, the squad that we have is quite confident that we can win,” he said.

Mathews, who toiled for more than five hours to score 71 off 219 balls in the second innings, spoke of how difficult it was batting against a quality England bowling attack on a slow Galle pitch.

“You have to find that tempo, especially playing in these conditions it can defer to playing at SSC or the P. Sara Oval because the wickets are different. The traditional Galle wicket is very slow and takes turn as well and certain shots you can’t really play, and you need to be able to find out the shots to the bowlers that you can play,” said Mathews.

“Obviously we are up against a high-quality English team and bowling line up, so we have to respect the conditions as well as respect the opposition, but the main thing is to look to score runs. We don’t need to talk about (Stuart) Broad a lot because we all know what kind of a bowler he is. He has taken over 500 Test wickets and he is one of the best fast-bowlers going around obviously on any kind of surface. 

“We saw in the last game the wicket was not offering anything for the fast-bowlers but he was moving the ball. One spell I felt that I was playing in England against him because he was moving the ball which is very difficult for a fast bowler to do especially in these conditions in Galle,” Mathews continued. “Even the spinners they obviously didn’t give anything away no loose deliveries at all. Even though the wicket was turning they were trying to take wickets, but they didn’t give us any loose balls. It was pure proper Test cricket where they held onto a line and length and we actually did a lot of mistakes by trying to go for too many shots too early off good balls we couldn’t score off.”

Mathews said that each batsman had his own style of playing and they should try and make the most of it once they get in.

“Each one plays differently. The way I play is different to Chandimal or a Kusal Janith or a Dickwella; you’ve got to find out scoring options rather than try to copy some other batsmen. Joe Root played a magnificent innings. We can learn a lot out of him the way he batted. Sometimes the shots that he played we can’t play, so we need to be able to understand what we can and what we can’t do on these wickets against their bowlers. We needn’t be conservative, we always have to look to score runs but you need to understand how you can score them against these bowlers and in these conditions,” said Mathews.

“When you get older the challenges you face will mount, it will not decrease. We have faced such situations before, and we are confident of doing so. The more you face such challenges you will improve. We have faced such challenges before and there is no excuse for me and Chandimal because we got starts especially in the first innings and we let it go. That should not happen. As batsmen once you get a start you need to play a big innings. All six batsmen in the side may not do so but the ones that get a start should go and make a big contribution. That’s what we expect from our batters.”