Virender Sehwag believes “anything less than 200” will be a good target for India to chase on a surface offering assistance to the spinners at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium.
The dashing opener who followed his innings of 109 with two wickets sending down off-spin late on day three, said, “We are bowling in good areas and we are getting help from the wicket. If we get Mahela (Jayawardene) and (Kumar) Sangakkara out early, then I think we will be in the game. But we must bowl tight and take wickets regularly.”
On his own performance, Sehwag said, “I am in good form. Hopefully, I will continue in this form against Australia and New Zealand when we play the home series.”
He praised the spirited batting display of tailenders Abhimanyu Mithun and Amit Mishra. “The two batted well. We needed runs from them.”
Queried about Ishant Sharma being wrongly given out by umpire Rod Tucker, Sehwag said, “It happens in cricket. Sometimes, the umpire gives you a good decision and sometimes a bad one. But yes, I would love to have the referral system in Test and in one-day cricket. This is my personal opinion.”
He then added, “We got an opportunity bowl 16 overs and we got two wickets. It was a good opportunity for us. I am not looking at what could have happened. We are really happy with the way things panned out.”
Sehwag defended the shot selection of the Indian batsmen, including himself. “Our target was to bat the whole day and we tried. Sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t. You cannot say our shot selection was not good because everybody was allowed to play their own shots. Nothing wrong with that.”
About his second century of the series here, Sehwag said, “I was looking for opportunities to score runs, whether I can hit the ball. I do not want to play boring Test cricket.”
Fast bowler Lasith Malinga claimed his 100th Test wicket when he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in the first over of the day. This is the paceman's 30th Test.
He was pleased with his achievement. “I am happy that I got hundred wickets and joined a select band of bowlers. I was subject to injuries in the last one and a half years and that prevented me from playing Test cricket. Picking hundred wickets is a big encouragement for me.
Asked about his short-pitched bowling at the Indian batsmen, the fiery slinger relied, “I thought bowling a bit short at Indian batsmen would be the best thing to do. That is why I used the short ball a little bit more than usual.
Despite a stuttering start in its second innings, he believed Sri Lanka was in with a good chance to win the Test. “Although we have lost two wickets this evening we still have batsmen who are capable of making runs even on bad wickets. And I am hopeful and confident that Sri Lanka will put up a decent total in the second innings. In (Suraj) Randiv and Ajantha Mendis we have bowlers who can be effective on a turning wicket. And they could pose quite a challenge to the Indian batting in the second innings,” he said.
Asked what would be a good target to defend, Malinga said, “A score of about 275 runs.”
Keywords: India-Sri Lanka Test series