There has been a lot of talk surrounding our performance in the last Test and that is only to be expected given the way we played. What has been less understandable is the fact that certain individuals have been singled out for criticism. Collectively, we did not play to our potential and that is something we are all aware of and have accepted. As captain of the team, I have done what I can to tell the squad that I have full faith in each one of them. I have faith not only in their talent but also in their ability to rise to the challenge and perform in conditions that present various tough challenges and pressures.
Obviously, we were all hurt by what happened in Colombo. Nobody likes to lose and not least the way we did. When you walk out on the field, there is a lot of pride involved in representing your country and each player is trying his best to win. But sometimes you have a really bad game, and that is what happened. Fortunately, this team has the characters in it to bounce back strongly. Everyone is really keyed up to do well. The importance of winning this Test and keeping the series alive are known to all. We’ve picked ourselves up well and the mood is good going into the Galle Test.
It’s certainly not that all is lost. In 2002 in England, we went 1-0 down at Lord’s and then came back to win the third Test at Leeds. When we last toured Australia we were 2-0 down but fought hard to win in Perth. Against South Africa, at home, we lost in Ahmedabad but turned things around to win in Kanpur. So we have shown in the past that we can overcome setbacks and come hard at the opposition.
Coming to Galle, the surface looks good and because of the windy conditions, you can expect some assistance for the fast bowlers as well. There will be assistance for the spinners as the game wears on and they will come into the game. We’re looking to play positively because we’re going out there looking for a win that will square the series.
At the end of the day, no matter what the conditions or the opposition, the basics remain the same in Tests. You have to put up a good score and then work out a way to take twenty wickets. Our focus will be on that rather than on trying to over-analyse any particular player or strategy. When you have experience under the belt, you should go with instinct rather than over-think things. This doesn’t mean we don’t have clear-cut strategies. Everyone has thought about what needs to be done. Once the game begins, it’s all about delivering on the day and I am confident we’ll be able to come good.