Gary Wilson “wants and expects” Ireland to put up a better performance in the second Test against Sri Lanka that starts today in Galle, and believes that playing more matches over the longer distance is vital to the development of the squad.

Assistant coach Wilson, who is in charge while Heinrich Malan takes a short break, cut a forlorn figure last week as his side were scythed down by the genius of spinner Prabath Jayasuriya and suffered a whopping defeat by an innings and 280 runs.

“We know more about the conditions here now, and we’ve had some good conversations in the past few days with the batters, seam bowlers and spinners,” he said. “We will want and expect to put in a better performance this time.”

While there is little the coach can do about the vast difference in experience between the two sides, the return of star batsman Paul Stirling and a debut for well-travelled seamer Graham Hume, does add a couple of older heads to the line-up.

Wilson understands the benefits of regularly playing first-class cricket - as he did in England during spells with county sides Surrey and Derbyshire - and would like to see more series like this and a resumption of the first-class program in Ireland.

“It’s not a case of our white ball cricket suffering if we play more Tests,” he said. “I promise you, the more multi-day cricket we play, the more these guys will learn about themselves and the better they will become as cricketers.

“If we can play more four-day cricket at home between Tests - brilliant! You look at the Sri Lankan side and they’ve all played 70, 80 or 90 first-class games, and we’ve got guys who’ve played two or three. Ben White made his first-class debut in a Test.

“For us to go out there and be on the same pitch as them, is actually a great story because red-ball cricket is not something we’re brought up on, yet the lads are showing a fantastic attitude, and they all want more of it.”

Wilson confirmed the niggle that has ruled out opening bowling Mark Adair - and handed a debut to South African-born Hume - is not serious, and should not threaten his participation in the ODIs against Bangladesh next month