Asked about the significance of scoring a Test hundred in India, Tillakaratne Dilshan replied, “It’s great to score a hundred in India. It’s not easy out here. I am very pleased with the way I batted.”
He was, however, repentant about the attempted pull shot against Zaheer Khan that led to his dismissal. “Those two wickets (by Zaheer) could turn out to be crucial. I shouldn’t have played that shot at that stage.”
The punishing batsman was pleased about opening the innings in Test cricket. “Changing my spot in the batting order has helped me. Now there’s an opportunity for me to bat longer and I don’t want to throw my wicket away.”
On the prospect of Sri Lanka achieving its first Test victory on Indian soil, Dilshan said, “Mahela (Jayawardene) and Thilan (Samaraweera) need to bat out the first session.
“A lead of around 150 will give us an edge. The main target we have is to bat longer and get closer to 400 and see how it goes from there. We have to good spinners and if we get that lead we can control things.”
Good batting track
He said picking the last four Indian wickets quickly on the second day was critical. “It’s still a good bating track and they could have gone to score much more than 426.
“I thought we stuck to our plans and (Chanaka) Welagedara bowled a superb first spell and got Rahul early. That was the key.”
Indian coach Gary Kirsten said the game was ‘evenly poised.’
On the bowling of India’s two frontline spinners, he said, “I thought Harbhajan (Singh) bowled well. Amit (Mishra) has not played for a while.
“Amit would have liked to get into a better rhythm but it won’t be long before he achieves that.”
Asked whether batting tracks such as the one for the first Test here — the attendance on the first two days has been disappointing — would drive the crowds away from Test cricket, Kirsten said, “That’s not for me to comment on.”
He added, “It’s just the second day, wait and see what happens. Funny things happen in Test cricket.”
Talking about the four-bowler theory, Kirsten said, “From the time I have been associated with the team, we have always gone in with four bowlers.
“We have been successful with that. It’s too early to say whether we are one bowler short or not.”
Kirsten said the team had staged a superb recovery after the first hour on day one. “Ideally, I would have liked a few more runs in the first innings.
“But considering we were 32 for four, it was a tremendous effort to reach 426. Sri Lankan batted well, the wicket is great for batting.”
Looking ahead, the Indian coach said, “I think the pitch would assist the spinners in the later part of the match. We will bowl last on this wicket and we have two good spinners to exploit the conditions.”