England v Sri Lanka: Headingley's sporting surface will help us too, insists Angelo Mathews

Sri Lanka captain confident ahead of second Test

After escaping from Lord’s by the skin of their teeth, Sri Lanka are ebullient. The draw which they secured with nine wickets down – and briefly they had lost the match until a review altered the verdict on the 10th wicket – has offered them hope that someone is watching over them.

“The way we fought and the way the boys showed their character was good,” said Angelo Mathews, the captain, in Leeds. “Our bowling, batting and fielding – we still can improve all three departments. It’s going to be our last game in England for the summer. We look forward to giving them a good fight and hopefully win it.”

Sri Lanka insist they would not happily settle for the draw, which would leave their honour intact at 0-0. If the surface the day before the match was any yardstick, wickets will be much easier to come by at Headingley and bowling will once again seem like a profession worth pursuing.

“I think it gives us a chance as well,” said Mathews. “We’ve got some good seamers. Rather than make it a flat wicket, it’s always good to have a sporting wicket where both teams have their chances.”

A sporting pitch, however, should favour England. For all that Shaminda Eranga bowled the second most probing spell at Lord’s (next to Jimmy Anderson’s on the fifth afternoon) their seam attack is all but bereft of menace and pace for England international batsmen in their own country.

The moving ball, on the other hand, will test the methods of Sri Lanka’s order in a way that may surprise them after the docility of the surface they encountered in the first Test. The feeling remains that the tourists, in some ways, feel badly treated.

Dinesh Chandimal will keep wicket instead of the injured Prasanna Jayawardene Dinesh Chandimal will keep wicket instead of the injured Prasanna Jayawardene (PA)
They were miffed a fortnight ago at the reporting of Sachithra Senanayake over the legality of his action and suspected England were at the root of it. Alastair Cook, England’s captain, did not back down when he said: “Everyone saw his action and I think concerns were raised – you only had to watch TV and see that. We as players have no power to report anyone. It’s down to the umpires and the match referee. I know that for a fact. So we can’t say anything, it’s down to the ICC and the umpires on the day.”

Although Senanayake is not in the Test squad and was never likely to be selected, his presence is all-pervasive. Sri Lanka refused to take questions on the issue, stating the matter had been “amicably resolved” with the England and Wales Cricket Board. Mathews insisted that relations between the two teams were friendly, though strained might be a more apposite description: “England play it hard and we play it hard. When you pass that white line, it’s about trying to win.”

The tourists can again expect plenty of short, rapid stuff aimed at their throats and ribcages and if there is a little life in the surface the friendly relations could soon recede.

They will be forced into one change with Dinesh Chandimal, their erstwhile Twenty20 captain, taking over as wicketkeeper from Prasanna Jayawardene, who broke a finger at Lord’s. Chandimal has kept in seven previous Tests and may strengthen the batting.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor