Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Mathews has told his team-mates to watch and learn from Joe Root.
England hold a 1-0 lead heading into the second and final Test, which starts on Friday in Galle, with their captain’s superb double century a major reason for their advantage.
His ability to negate the spin, play late off the back foot and sweep with authority was an exemplary case of sub-continental batsmanship from a man brought up playing his game on the out-grounds of Sheffield.
And Mathews has paid him a big compliment by suggesting the home team should take their cues from him, even if they cannot mimic every thing in his arsenal.
“Joe Root, played a magnificent innings, we can learn a lot from he way he batted,” said Mathews.
“You have to find that tempo, especially in these conditions. A traditional Galle wicket is very slow and takes turn, so you need to be able to find out the shots according to each bowler.
“Some of the shots Root played, we can’t play. We need to be able to understand what we can and what we can’t do on these wickets against their bowlers. It’s not about being conservative – you always have to look to score runs – but you need to understand how you can score runs off these bowlers and in these conditions.”
Mathews was dismissed by Stuart Broad in the first innings of the series opener and, despite showing improving with a careful 71 at the next attempt, he will be more than happy if England follow expectations and rest the in-form seamer this week.
“We all know what kind of a bowler Broad is – he’s taken over 500 Test wickets and he’s one of the best fast bowlers going around on any kind of surface,” said Mathews.
“The wicket was not offering anything for the fast bowlers, but he was moving the ball. One spell I felt like I was playing in England against him because he was moving the ball (so much). That’s very difficult for a fast bowler to do in these conditions in Galle.”