Angelo Matthews in action for Sri Lanka against New Zealand© AFP
Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews lamented the lack of Test cricket for Sri Lanka as the Dimuth Karunaratne-led side chase a potential spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The last time Sri Lanka played a Test match before facing New Zealand on Thursday was back in July 2022 when they took on Pakistan. Sri Lanka can reach the WTC final if they win two Tests against New Zealand and India are unable to beat Australia in the ongoing fourth Test match in Ahmedabad. However, Mathews was not happy with the lack of games for his side and said that the calendar needs to be reorganised.
“Unfortunate that we are not playing too many Test matches this year – it’s as few as five,” Mathews was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand.
“We are coming off a long layoff – the last Test was six months back.”
The Sri Lanka all-rounder also said that the fact that Sri Lanka has played just five matches in the last year is not a good thing for Test cricket – a format that has been facing threat from white-ball cricket.
“Everyone’s talking about Test cricket dying, but we’re not doing any good for Test cricket playing only five Tests a year. Hopefully we’ll get more matches this year. Five feels like not enough,” he added.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers ripped through the New Zealand top order, including snaring the key wicket of Kane Williamson, to leave the hosts in trouble at 162-5 after the second day of the first Test on Friday.
After posting a competitive 355 on the green Hagley Oval wicket in Christchurch, Sri Lanka gave New Zealand a soft start before gaining momentum.
A productive burst either side of the tea break from Asitha Fernando and Lahiru Kumara claimed Devon Conway, Williamson and Henry Nicholls as New Zealand slumped from 67 without loss to 76-3.
A pin-point Fernando yorker then dismissed opener Tom Latham for 67 before Kasun Rajitha accounted for Tom Blundell for seven.
(With AFP inputs)
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