Kyle Coetzer says that the performances of David Willey and Steven Crook on the first day against Sri Lanka will give Northamptonshire some heart.
The County were made to battle away in the field as the tourists, having won the toss, piled up 358-3 with Kaushal Silva and Lahiru Thirimanne both hitting unbeaten centuries.
But the return of Willey, who bowled a dozen overs in three tidy spells, and Crook, who picked up two of the wickets to fall, provided some encouragement.
“It was good to see David Willey back in the field and he put in a good stint today and looked to be putting the ball through,” Coetzer said.
“He just needs to get some miles in his legs but I thought he looked really strong.
“Crooky looked very strong and was getting the ball through and bowling at good pace, so some very positive signs for us.”
As for the day’s proceedings, the Scotsman admitted that it was another tiring day in the field for the struggling home side.
He added: “Unfortunately we would’ve liked to have picked up more wickets today, it’s been a tough, long day in the field but we’ll come back strongly tomorrow and try and knock them over.
“The outfield is a reasonable pace and the wicket’s pretty good and if you stray off your area and get a bit full they’re going to put you away and that’s what they did.”
With a severely depleted attack being fielded, Coetzer’s medium pace was given a rare airing, something he admitted to enjoying.
“It gave me an opportunity to have a go and I’m always keen on my bowling and keen to give it a crack.
“If you add any strings to your bow as a cricketer it’s going to help and give some advantage to the team.
“If I can fill in four or five overs here and there it can give our bowlers a few overs to freshen up a little bit.”
But while the majority of his 13 overs were relatively uneventful, he did manage to take the second wicket of the day, that of Kumar Sangakkara, who only happens to be rated as the number two Test batsman in the world.
So what did the modest Coetzer have to say about that?: “It was a nice scalp to have.”