Having lost a rain-affected opener at The Oval, Sri Lanka hit back in stunning style at Chester-le-Street to dismiss England for 99, with seamer Nuwan Kulasekara starring, on the way to a crushing 157-run victory that saw Mathews’ men draw level at 1-1 with three to play in the five-match series.
But all-rounder Mathews insisted complacency wouldn’t be an issue come the third ODI at Manchester’s Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to keep our heads level, and can’t be complacent against the English team because they can bounce back really hard at us,” Mathews said Tuesday.
“Senior guys like (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, Mahela (Jayawardene), Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara), Lasith (Malinga) all know how to handle the situation. They’ve been through it so many times.
“We all talk to each other – we’re like family. It has to be a level-headed series, but we’ve got to play some positive and aggressive cricket.”
With Old Trafford known for taking turn, Sri Lanka could field two specialist spinners, especially now left-armer Rangana Herath has replaced injured seamer Suranga Lakmal.
“The Manchester pitch looks pretty similar to a sub-continent wicket,” said Mathews. “It might play a bit slow – so now Rangana is fit, we thought of adding him.
“We’ve got enough cover in our pace attack, but needed another spinner.”
But whichever team Mathews leads out will not lack for self-belief.
“We’ve gained some confidence from the other day,” said Mathews. “We played some positive cricket, and I personally believe that is the way to go against the English team.
“We had to come back hard, pull our socks up – and I thought it was a great performance.
“The bowlers came to the party and got us through.”