08 November 2017

Against India you have to take Test to five days – Gurusinha

Cricket manager and national selector Asanka Gurusinha said that batting will be the key to Sri Lanka performing well against India in the three-match Test series that commences at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on November 16.

“Against India you have to put runs on the board the key is our batting. You can’t expect to get 250 or 200 and win against India. Their batting is strong and they are playing on their home soil as well,” said Gurusinha ahead of the team’s departure to India in the early hours of today at 6 am.

“The guys are focused and they know they need to get runs because when you have 400 runs your bowlers also have a total to bowl at which we didn’t have in the homes series against India. India batted first got 600 and we were bowled out twice.

“The batsmen really need to put their hands up and say ‘I am going to do something’.

They are responsible for making runs not just the bowlers taking 20 wickets. Those are the things we are seriously looking at and the players and Sri Lanka Cricket they all know this is most probably the toughest overseas tour we are going to make,” he said.

“Everyone will have to deliver not just the players, but the coaching staff led by Nic Pothas is working so hard to deliver a result because with India you have to take the Test match to five days, then you have a very good chance.They are a side who plays aggressive cricket and they like to finish a game in 3-3½ days. But if you take them to the fifth day it could be interesting. That’s one of the plans the coach has put in.

“Pothas is seriously looking in that we need to go to five days and to do that you need to score 400 plus runs. The batsmen and the team know about it and they are ready. The confidence from the Pakistan series is definitely there for them,” Gurusinha added.

Gurusinha said that selectors were seriously looking at a 6-5 combination of six batsmen and five bowlers, the five bowlers will include an all-rounder.

Sri Lanka has a spinning all-rounder in Dilruwan Perera and a fast-bowling all-rounder in Dasun Shanaka in their Test squad of 15.

“To win against India you’ve got to take 20 wickets. We were successful in Pakistan to win the two tests because we went with a 6-5 combination. The important thing is not to depend too much on Rangana (Herath),” said Gurusinha.

Herath has proved to be Pakistan’s nemesis, but the Indian batsmen have tackled him successfully.

“The second Test against Pakistan we won, it was not Rangana who took the wickets, he took a few but the others chipped in as well,” said Gurusinha. “That’s what we need for the other bowlers also to contribute. Dilruwan did a great job there. We have to look at Dilruwan and the pacies. We have a good balanced side but at the end of the day if you are not going to get 400 runs then we are in trouble.”

Gurusinha said it was difficult to talk about the competition they will expect from India at this stage. “We are not sure what type of wickets they will prepare. We can get two different wickets one is turners because their spinners did well against us in Sri Lanka but at same time they can give us some bouncy, seaming and grassy tracks because they are going to South Africa straight after our series.”

“We have certainly learnt a lot from the last series and the coaching staff has put their plans in and we will work on that. I cannot go into details the guys have been working very hard under Pothas and we certainly have plans how to tackle everyone.

But at the end of the day we can have all those plans and everything but you’ve got to go to the middle and execute it. The players will have a lot of responsibility of executing those plans.”

During the home series against India that Sri Lanka lost 3-0, it was the Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who ran through the Lankan batting taking 30 wickets between them.

“India always took early wickets with their pace and then the spinners came in. It’s not just two bowlers Ashwin and Jadeja who took a lot of wickets but their pace attack is good as well,” said Gurusinha.

“India is a complete side and we need to handle that. That’s what our coaching staff has been working on recently and I am hoping it will come good. Yes, we won two Tests against Pakistan but this is a completely different series. It will be very challenging for everyone.”