GALLE: Sri Lankan stand-in skipper Rangana Herath on Saturday lauded India for their comprehensive 304-run win in the opening Test, saying the visitors were outstanding in all three departments and deserve all the credit.
India dismissed Sri Lanka for 245 in their second innings on day 4 to complete a comfortable win and lead the three-match series 1-0.
“You can’t be satisfied with a defeat. We bowled badly, fielded badly and batted badly in the first innings. We are a better team than that. We need to find out how we can do better than this moving forward,” said Herath.
“When you lose a game you are disappointed. But having said that, all credit to India for the way they played. They played outstanding cricket in all three departments. They deserve all the credit,” he added.
Sri Lanka were hurt by the absence of Asela Gunaratne and Herath himself after both picked injuries on the field, reducing the strength of both their batting and bowling line- ups.
“Losing Aseala was a massive blow for us and he will be out for eight weeks. He has been scoring lot of runs for us in the last few months. He wasn’t available to bat or bowl and that was a huge blow for us,” he said.
“I had swelling because I had fracture three years ago in the same area. About Dinesh Chandimal, there’s no confirmation, but I expect him to play the next game,” added the stand-in skipper.
Herath highlighted Shikhar Dhawan’s innings of 190 runs for praise and explained how it took the game away from the hosts.
“We had a few plans for him but we failed to execute. If you take for example we allowed him too much of width. In the first session of the match itself the game started slipping away from us,” he said.
“We bounced back well but he had by then got off to a terrific start. Some of our plans went very well but we were not 100 per cent perfect. That’s the reason they went onto post 600 runs in their first innings,” said Herath.
Herath did have some criticism for the Galle pitch, which was atypical of the turnings tracks usually on display here.
“I told before the game too that this pitch will help batsmen a lot. Having said that, I expected the spinners to come into the equation in the fourth or fifth day. But this wicket didn’t have much help for spinners either.
“Our wickets are different from each other. We expect a bit of turn in Galle. But there’s no point in blaming anyone after you lose. The plain truth is that we didn’t play well and we are to be blamed,” said Hearth.
Herath, however, outlined the performance of Nuwan Pradeep who picked up career-best 6-132 in the first Indian innings.
“I think it was after a long time a fast bowler has taken a five-wicket haul in Galle. There’s so much of burden on spinners when we play in Sri Lanka and Pradeep bowling so well and taking so many wickets will be a huge plus point for us moving forward. He was outstanding in this game and his effort was fantastic,” he signed off.
The second Test begins in Colombo on August 3.