Sunday, 29 May 2016, 12:59am
Sri Lanka 'have the talent' to beat England - Angelo Mathews
Angelo Mathews is asking his team to "flush out of their system" any mental baggage from their innings defeat inside three days in Leeds last week.
The Sri Lanka captain describes Chester-le-Street, venue for the middle Test of three, as the coldest cricket venue he has ever visited - but is warning too the tourists must not be tempted to use that as an excuse when they take the field on Friday.
Sri Lanka had no answer to James Anderson and Stuart Broad's brilliant bowling as they went 1-0 down, shot out for 91 and then 119 following on.
"It was an embarrassing defeat," said Mathews.
"We've had a few days to think about it ... (now) we just have to flush it out of our system.
"We have to forget Headingley. That's simple, the first thing we have to do."
His challenge is to help his team do that, before it is too late.
"The more we think about it, the more disappointed we get," added Mathews.
"Obviously, you can't erase it - but we have to move on. That's what we'll do.
"Tomorrow is going to be a fresh start. To stay alive in the series, we have to win."
Sri Lanka, like England, were unable to practise outdoors because of rain on Thursday - and on the previous day, they did so wearing anoraks and woolly hats in the biting north-east wind.
"It's the coldest weather I've known playing cricket," said their captain.
"It was extremely cold yesterday. Today it's a bit better, and I'm hearing it will stay that way for next three days.
"The weather can be a factor, but it can't be an excuse ... you have to compete, regardless of the conditions.
"You can't control the weather, but we can try to control our performances."
Sri Lanka, he claims, have the collective talent to succeed if they ensure they are not spooked by what has already happened.
"It's a mental adjustment we need, and I hope the boys will be fine," said Mathews.
"[Anderson and Broad] are world-class bowlers. Especially in these conditions, we have to be very skilful to play against these guys.
"(But) it's definitely possible (we can win).
"If we play to our potential, and don't think about the weather too much ... we have the skill and the talent."
Sri Lanka's two replacement players, Chaminda Bandara and Kusal Perera in their squad for the injured Dushmantha Chameera and Dhammika Prasad, have yet to join their team-mates as visa protocols are completed.
They may come into contention for the final Test at Lord's.
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Angelo Mathews wants his Sri Lanka team to 'flush Headingley out of their system'