Smith blames poor batting for opening loss

2016-07-30 20:01
Steven Smith (Gallo)

Pallekele - Skipper Steven Smith blamed Australia's "lack of discipline" on the batting front for the number one Test team's 106-run shock loss to Sri Lanka in the first match in Pallekele on Saturday.

Australia, who let go of a crucial first-innings lead in the rain-hit match, were bundled out for 161 on the fifth and final day in pursuit of a challenging 268-run target.

"We did quite well to bowl them out for 117, but we lacked a bit of discipline in our batting," Smith, who had to swallow a bitter first defeat as Test captain in his 12th match, told reporters.

"We were in a good position to get a bigger lead than 86, but didn't get that," said a disappointed Smith.

Australia, who held the advantage for the opening two days even after scoring 203 in their first innings, were done in by a century by Kusal Mendis which marked Sri Lanka's turnaround.

Mendis (176) who registered his maiden Test ton helped Sri Lanka notch up 353 in their second outing and the home spinners led by Rangana Herath soon took charge.

Herath's four and five wickets in the first and second innings respectively floored the visiting batsmen on a typical sub-continent track that assisted spin bowling.

"Kusal Mendis played an outstanding innings and took the game away from us. 267 against quality spinners was going to be tough task and we weren't up to that," said Smith.

Smith posted a gritty 55 before Steve O'Keefe and Peter Nevill frustrated Sri Lanka with a 178-ball partnership that lasted for over two hours but it only delayed the inevitable.

"Pretty proud about the way Peter Nevill and Steve O'Keefe fought hard in the end. It wasn't easy. Some balls were skidding and some were spinning," said Smith.

Smith admitted that Australia, who trail the three-match series, will have to find a way to tackle the spinning conditions.

Australia's last outing to the sub-continent saw them lose all four Tests against India in 2013 and they also lost both matches when Pakistan hosted them for a two-Test series in 2014 in the Gulf.

"We have got to find our plans and find ways to play in these conditions. 1-0 down in a three-match series so have to turn it around quickly," said Smith.

Read more on:    australia  |  cricket

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