Taking the wrong option at wrong time cost us - de Silva

Dhananjaya de Silva was watchful early in his innings
Sri Lanka v England, 3rd Test, Colombo, 2nd day November 24, 2018

Sure Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid were bowling aggressively either side of tea, but did Sri Lanka's batsmen really have to play the attacking shots they did? Could they not have hunkered down, left the deliveries that weren't on target, and seen out that testing passage of play?

If you are wondering something along these lines after watching Sri Lanka lose their last eight wickets for 67 runs, you are not alone. Sri Lanka's No. 3, Dhananjaya de Silva, who made 73 before the collapse, has asked the same quesitons. It was de Silva's wicket, with the score on 173, that had precipitated the almighty fall.

"When we were 173 for 1 and then I got out, I don't think the others were able to take the game forward as much as they could have," de Silva said. "When they tried to attack us, we went to our attacking shots. I don't think that was a good option at the time."

Among those who fell playing attacking shots were Angelo Mathews, who edged a hook to the wicketkeeper, Niroshan Dickwella, who was caught down leg trying to glance Stokes to the boundary, and Kusal Mendis, who tried to pull out of a late cut against Rashid, but managed only to send the ball off the face of the bat to Stokes at slip.

"Our batting was very weak. But even more than that they bowled really well with a plan. They dried up the boundaries and bowled aggressively. If we had played to a better plan, we wouldn't have crashed like this."

Poor "option-taking" has been a buzzword for Sri Lanka right through the series, in which batsmen who have got themselves in on tough pitches have failed to contend with the various challenges England's attack has posed. Sri Lanka's coaches have tried to hammer in lessons about playing to the situation over the past few weeks, but this wisdom has not been absorbed, de Silva said.

"Taking the wrong option at the wrong time is what has cost us. The batsmen should put a price on their wicket. When you play Tests, you have to spend time and try and tire out the opposition. Then only the runs start to come. We have to think about all of that. The batsmen have to come up with those solutions themselves. No matter what someone else tells us, it's the batsmen's own mistake. They have to figure it out."

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