Sri Lanka Vs India 2nd Test: We Had A Plan For The Second Innings And We Executed It Well, Says Niroshan Dickwella
The cricketing world witnessed two sides of Sri Lanka’s batting capabilities on the same day. After being bowled out for a paltry 183 in their first innings, the hosts sent India on a leather hunt on the third day of the Test at Colombo. Starting the day on 50 for 2, barring Niroshan Dickwella, who top scored with 51, none of the Sri Lankan batsmen could apply himself on a pitch that was offering variable bounce and sharp turn as they lost their last 8 wickets for just 133 runs.
But on the same pitch and on the same day, underpressure, the Lankans came up with a heroic display after being asked to follow on. Trailing by 439 runs and more than 2 days left, Sri Lanka had their back against the wall and their condition only deteriorated when Umesh Yadav dismissed the experienced Upul Tharanga for 2. But Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis then dug in their heels to not only frustrate the Indian spinners but also score at a good pace. The duo negated the threat of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja aplomb, mixing caution with aggression to keep the scorecard ticking.
Their 191-run stand finally came to an end when Mendis edged a Hardik Pandya delivery to the wicketkeeper to fall for a stunning 110 which came off just 135 balls. The hosts finished the day on 209 for 2, still trailing by 230 runs, with Karunaratne batting on 92 and night-watchman Malinda Pushpakumara giving him company on 2.
Speaking after the day’s play, Dickwell admitted that his team was not good in the first innings before revealing that the team chalked out a plan before the second innings.
“We weren’t good in the first session. We had plans before the second innings started,” Dickwella said. “How to handle spin and how to handle pressure. How to play the new ball. It was a long meeting during the lunch break and we executed those plans very well. We didn’t handle the situation properly. We should have settled down a bit, but we didn’t. We could have settled down like in the evening session. We were more positive after lunch. We had a plan and we executed it well and that’s the reason why we are 209 for 2.
“We were training hard on sweeps and reverse sweeps. Hashan Tillakaratne and other coaches are specifically speaking about the sweep shots and encouraging us to do that. We have improved with the sweeps. The coaches are different. When it comes to a spinning wicket we have to play the sweep and that’s an option. Always we are practising the sweep. If we get a grassy wicket we will not play the sweep shot,” he added.
The wicketkeeper-batsman further lauded Karunaratne and Mendis for their brilliant counterattack against the Indian spinners.
“They both are great players. They executed the plans and used the crease and swept well. Mendis has been a brilliant player in his small career. We have to back ourselves 100 percent. We might get out playing positive shots. We are now in a good situation play sweep shots,” he said.
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