Tillekeratne wants team to brush up act

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By The Telegraph Online in Galle
  • Published 8.12.03

Galle: Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillekeratne said on Sunday he expects an improved performance from his players in the second Test against England, after the tourists were dominated but forced a draw in the first match.

Frustrated at falling just one wicket short of clinching his first Test win as captain in the series-opener that ended on Saturday, Tillekeratne said the Sri Lankan team needs to concentrate on the remaining two matches of the series.

“We need to brush up our act. There’s scope to improve in a few areas,” Tillekeratne said. Set a target of 323 to win, the visitors were 210 for nine when the umpires offered bad light to England’s last pair — Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard — ending Sri Lanka’s run of five straight Test wins in this southern coastal town.

Sri lanka had won six out of the previous eight Tests played here, and lost just one. The awesome winning record included an innings triumph against Nasser Hussain’s England two years ago. England later bounced back to clinch that series 2-1, winning the next two in Kandy and Colombo.

England repeated the series triumph last year when they prevailed 1-0 at home, and Tillekeratne has promised to settle the score.

“We’ll overcome the dejection of failing to win this Test and come out stronger in the next two matches,” he said as the teams prepared to leave for Kandy where the second Test starts on Wednesday.

“Our morale is quite high. The way we dominated this match will spur the boys,” he said. “There were several positives to emerge from this game. We played lovely cricket.

“One big plus was the batting by our lower order, but our top batsmen should convert the 30s and 40s into big scores.”

Tillekeratne’s own form continues to be poor as he managed zero and one in two innings. He said England managed to bat out the final day because the pitch had become very slow, even though it offered turn to ace spinner Muttiah Muralidharan.