Positive Karunaratne promises fight back


Sri Lanka’s opener Dimuth Karunaratne fell for a well made 49 in Sri Lanka’s second innings of the one off Test against Zimbabwe yesterday. Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s opener Dimuth Karunaratne expects his team-mates to fight back after Sri Lanka were set a stiff target of 388 to win the one off Test match against Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka finished day four on 170 for three and still require 218 runs with seven wickets in hand on the final day at RPS. Although the odds are heavily against Sri Lanka as no team has chased that many to win a Test match in Sri Lanka, Karunaratne was confident.

"I do believe that we can make it. We have already scored 170 for three and we need a further 218. We batted when the ball was hard but now that hardness is gone. All what they have now is the support from that rough. Angelo and Kusal are set now. If those two guys keep on batting for an hour or so tomorrow morning we have the game in the bag. I don’t think it’s easy to get them out unless we do something silly," Karunaratne told journalists.

Zimbabwe decided to operate with only spin yesterday as the four spinners did all the bowling. "They’re bowling on the leg with a packed leg-side field. So we need to have a plan to change that field may be. Playing a reverse sweep is one of the options. If we do that, we will be able to put some runs on the board quickly," noted Karunaratne.

Karunaratne batted well for his 49 and added 59 runs for the first wicket and 50 runs for the second wicket before falling to a good ball. Sean Williams pitched one outside the off stump, which Karunaratne was keen to leave, but the ball spun back sharply to knock top of the off-stump.

"If we go to survive, we’re losing the opportunity to win the match. We need to go on a positive mind to score 218 runs and win the game. When another 60 - 70 runs are added to the board, I think they will spread out the field. Then we can get the single and we will have our chances. Once we get closer, then we can take a call on it, whether to go for the target or go for a draw. But the most important thing is to have wickets in hand. So the first session tomorrow is very crucial for us."

"The ball did turn when the hardness was there but when the ball got softer we didn’t see the turn. But Creamer is a leg-spinner and he will turn the ball on any surface."

"We’ll have to play shots but we’ll have to be smart. If one batsman gets set against Creamer, runs will flow. Then they will be under pressure and they’ll have to spread out the field. So we’ll have to put them under pressure."

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