Sri Lankan captain Rangana Herath had to swallow a bitter pill on his 40th birthday as his team lost to Bangladesh by a four-wicket margin in the hard-fought second Test in Colombo on Sunday.
Herath led Sri Lanka from front picking up two crucial wickets before lunch but he lacked the prowess that could stop Bangladesh from posting a win knocking off a target of 191 runs on the fifth day.
‘Before the series started I said that this was a challenging series as both teams were equally balanced,’ Herath said after the match.
‘We had a good chance in Galle as we got close to 500 runs,’ he said, referring to his team’s first innings total of 494 runs in the first Test, which his team won by 259 runs.
‘Here we couldn’t do the same. The team that played well won the game today,’ said the left-arm spinner.
Herath was confident his team would win the game after some rearguard action helped them finish their second innings with 319 runs to give Bangladesh a decent target.
‘I thought that we could defend. We have played games with India and Pakistan and defended low scores,’ he said.
‘So having three spinners I was confident that we could pull it off. We got two early wickets but after lunch they were attacking and the game slipped away from us,’ he said.
The spinner added that the drop catch of man-of the series Sakib al Hasan on the second day was the turning point of the game.
Sri Lanka picked up three wickets off seven balls in the final half-an-hour of second day and were hoping to pile more pressure on Bangladesh with one or two more wickets.
But Upul Tharanga dropped Sakib at the deep on 11 to give Bangladesh some respite.
Sakib went on to score a century in the next morning to set up a big first innings lead that finally created the difference.
‘We dropped Sakib when he was 11 and he went on to get a century. We can’t afford to do mistakes. We have a lot of work to do,’ said Herath.
The left-arm spinner, who became only second Sri Lankan to take more than 1000 wickets in first-class matches after Muttiah Muralitharan, however refused to brand it as his worst ever defeat in career.
‘There are ups and downs in the sport. I have been in two World Cup squads where we reached the finals and lost. It’s part of the sport,’ he said.
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