Strauss rues England errors
Andrew Strauss admitted England paid the price for “too many mistakes” after they fell to their fourth successive Test defeat to slip 1-0 down in the two-match series in Sri Lanka.
Strauss’ men headed into winter tours against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka having beaten India 4-0 in the summer to become the world’s number-one ranked side.
However, things have since gone awry and, despite Jonathan Trott’s brilliant 112 today, England were not able to get back on track and achieve a record-breaking fourth-innings chase of 340.
The defeat was all the more disappointing given some mistakes; Mahela Jayawardene, who compiled a first-innings 180, was dropped four times, while his namesake, Prasanna, was dismissed off a no-ball by Stuart Broad in the second innings.
The latter, which would have been the innings’ final wicket, cost England a further 47 runs and made an already-difficult task all the more challenging.
“We’re bitterly disappointed,” Strauss said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “In truth we made too many mistakes to win the game.
“We left ourselves with too much to do, mainly through our batting in the first innings and, obviously, we are frustrated and disappointed by that.
“In international cricket, there is no room for mistakes - it’s as simple as that. If you are going to make them then you’re going to be lucky to get away with them.
“In this game we weren’t and that goes with the territory - that’s why we work so hard to make sure we don’t make them.”
Having been asked to bowl, the tourists started the Test brilliantly as, despite Jayawardene’s tour de force, they dismissed Sri Lanka for 318, with James Anderson taking 5-72.
But only managing 193 in their own first innings left too much to do, although Graeme Swann did drag England back into the encounter with 6-82 as the hosts were bowled out for 214 second time round.
Strauss was quick to pay tribute to the efforts of Trott, Anderson and Swann as well as Sri Lanka’s stars, Mahela Jayawardene and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who claimed Test-best match figures of 12-171.
He added: “In between the mistakes, we fought very hard and there were some outstanding performances from James Anderson, Graeme Swann and obviously Jonathan Trott.
“All credit to Sri Lanka, though. Mahela Jayawardene’s hundred was obviously of the utmost class and Herath bowled very well in both innings.
“They put us under pressure and outplayed us and they deserved their victory.”
England’s first-innings effort was particularly difficult for Strauss to look back upon.
He said: “We had a great opportunity after bowling them out for 300-odd to really make use of the wicket and go big.
“But we all fell a little short if I am honest. It’s frustrating, there’s is always a fine balance to be struck between defence and attack and we probably didn’t get that quite right.”
When Trott and Matt Prior were batting together in an 81-run stand today, England looked on course to chase down the target.
But the latter’s dismissal heralded a collapse as the final six wickets fell for just 31 runs, much to the dismay of Trott.
“It was a great Test match for the way the momentum swung,” he said. “They had taken the new ball (when he and Prior were batting together) and that really helped.
“But we were really disappointed we could not go on. He got out in a weird way, but that happens in cricket.”
Trott, though, remains optimistic England can come away from the tour with a 1-1 draw.
“There is still another game just around the corner,” he added. “We can turn it around; we have played good cricket in parts and it is really important in parts.
“You cannot win two sessions and lose the last session of the day. You’ve got to play consistent cricket - we have it in us and have done it in the last year or two.
“It is not far away. The guys are there, we’re just finding ways of getting out and finding ways of letting it slip a little.”