Ford praises Chandimal for maturity and quality


by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford was full of praise for his vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal, who made a huge stride forward as a Test cricketer during the third Test against Australia at SSC where he helped the team rebuild after being 26 for five.

Chandimal, naturally an attacking batsman, played second fiddle to Dhananjaya de Silva, during their 211 run partnership for the sixth wicket and Ford praised his attitude.

"He’s certainly showed a lot of maturity and helped Dhananjaya through that big innings of his. It was great to have Chandi there. I think batting in those circumstances is not fun at all. I think Chandi took on the hard work, which shows great maturity," Ford told journalists at the end of third day’s play.

"It’s t probably the most valuable innings he’s played. I know he played a blinder against India last year, but this one for temperament and fight in difficult conditions goes down as his best hundred," Ford added.

Ford also highlighted the contributions of Rangana Herath. The left-arm spinner took his 25th five wicket haul in Australia’s first innings and prior to that had contributed with the bat too making 33 runs before being forced to retire hurt. "I can’t say enough about the bloke. I was joking in the dressing room and saying he’s my all time sporting hero. He’s gone ahead of Federer. He’s injured. He’s bowling on

one leg. He’s just got so much guts and fight. For an older guy to do that it ignites the fight within the younger group," Ford said.

"The example that he sets makes the leadership group’s job a lot easier. When you’ve got a bloke out there that shows such courage batting, and takes on the quicks. After his nasty incident batting, he makes some brilliant diving stops in the dirt off his own bowling. If you’ve got the old man throwing himself around like that, the youngsters have no excuse."

The game is evenly poised, but with Australia having to bat last on the wicket, Ford believed his side had a slight edge. "The Test has been a heck of a tough Test. It’s been really tough for both sides. It’s been Test match cricket at probably its toughest. Probably both teams know that an opportunity here or there were missed, which might have changed the flow of the game. But we’re very much in a Test match right now, and there’s a heck of a lot to play for over the next two or three days."

"Both sides have outstanding players who are capable of changing the flow of the match over the next few days. But from our view we feel that bowling last on that wicket will be a bit of an advantage. And hopefully it will create a bit of extra pressure and sway it in our favour."

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