Bell admits England's batsmen guilty of not giving bowlers a break after another collapse
22:12 GMT, 27 March 2012
Ian Bell admitted England’s batsmen once again let down their bowlers as the tourists collapsed to 193 all out.
Tuesday’s debacle was the fifth time in seven innings in Asia this winter that England have failed to reach 200.
Asked whether the top order were feeling guilty, Bell replied: ‘Definitely. There’s no doubt. After getting the last two first-innings wickets in the morning, we wanted to give those bowlers a good rest, like we did in Australia.
Made to work: Ian Bell top-scored England's innings with 52
'If you give them a day and a half relaxing, they’re going to come out again ready to go. In a way, we have let them down by not giving them that time. But they know it’s not through lack of effort on our part.’
Yet again, England’s downfall came against spin, with Sri Lanka’s slow left-armer Rangana Herath finishing with six for 74.
Bell, who returned to form with a neat 52 following a woeful tour of the UAE, conceded: ‘The scores are not going to lie. Under 200 is not a great effort on that wicket. It’s a real shame not to be able to back up the bowlers again this winter. We’re all trying to get better at playing spin and we need to get better at playing on the Subcontinent.’
Central figure: Herath recorded figures of 74-6
Herath, who removed four England batsmen lbw, including captain Andrew Strauss, said: ‘I saw them play against Pakistan in the UAE and they struggled against Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. I knew this wicket would help spin.’
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said England’s problems were both technical and mental, adding: ‘The wicket has been tough to get runs off. We’re trying to put pressure on them and get them to play shots.’