Top spinner Rangana Herath could boost Sri Lanka in second test against New Zealand
Star Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath may return for the second test against New Zealand in Wellington, but captain Angelo Mathews says they can't rely on him alone.
Sri Lanka were outplayed for much of the first test at Christchurch Hagley's Oval, losing to the Black Caps by eight wickets.
The tourists could receive a boost for the second test at the Basin Reserve starting on Saturday with Herath, the world's leading test wicket-taker in 2014, with 60 scalps at 27.45, on his way to New Zealand, Mathews confirmed.
The 36-year-old Herath remained in Sri Lanka for the first test because of a torn hamstring. If he was over his injury, Mathews said he would significantly bolster the side.
"He's one of the most experienced guys in the team. Even though the conditions won't suit much, he knows how to bowl on these tracks and he's been here before.
"I'm sure he'll help us to get to 20 wickets . . . hopefully he'll come good for the second test."
Any chance of a Sri Lankan victory disappeared in the first innings. After winning the toss, Sri Lanka struggled with the new ball, not testing the New Zealand batsmen enough.
Sri Lanka were disappointing with the bat in the first innings, scoring a paltry 138.
"We kicked ourselves out of the game by batting poorly in the first innings," Mathews said.
"We were a little bit wayward [with the ball] in the first innings. We let them off the hook."
Mathews did not expect too many changes for the second test.
He was proud of the way the team fought back in the second innings with the bat.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne showed plenty of fight, batting more than eight hours on the way to 152 - his maiden test hundred.
Sri Lanka might consider bringing Dinesh Chandimal into the middle order for the second test, in place of Niroshan Dickwella, who scored just six runs in Christchurch.
Chandimal averages a tick over 44 in his 14 tests, scoring three hundreds.
"We have to try and stick to our basics," Mathews said.
"It's just one game we lost. We've been playing pretty good cricket in the recent past."
- The Press