Indian cricket team coach Gary Kirsten admitted the lack of an all-rounder was hampering the balance of the eleven.
He said here after the first day's play on Sunday, "We are seeking an all rounder. We were looking at Irfan Pathan to fill that role. Probably, he lacked a bit on the bowling front."
Kirsten added, "We are looking at someone who can come into the top six of the batting order and contribute to the attack. We cannot have a guy who is bowling 115 kmph, holding up one end, and getting one wicket in every five Test matches. He should be able to make a positive contribution with the ball."
Kirsten said the young pacemen should put their hand up and be counted. "We have tried out a lot of pacemen, possibly around 15, in Test and ODI cricket since I took over as coach. But they have not done enough on a consistent basis to deserve more opportunities."
The Indian coach said there were occasions, driven by the compulsions of the moment, that made it impossible for the young pacemen to be given a long run. "Sometimes, they have to make use of limited opportunities and push their case."
Kirsten felt paceman Ishant Sharma was a shade unlucky on day one here. "He bowled some good deliveries in the first session which were edged to the third man for boundaries. That can happen to any bowler.
Hopefully, once Ishant gets a wicket, his confidence will grow. We want to back him as much as we can. I think he may have lost a bit of confidence in the last season. For him to regain his belief would take some time."
He said the team was forced to play Harbhajan Singh, recovering from a bout of flu. "We had to play Harbhajan today though he is still recovering from flu. As we know one cannot recover that quickly from flu. He has not regained full fitness yet but we needed him in the team. If he had not played we would have been really inexperienced with our attack. He is a gutsy cricketer. He said he wanted to play."
Kirtsen, who felt the Test could be affected by rain, said India could strike back with quick wickets on day two.
'Good wicket to bat'
Sri Lankan opener and century-maker Tharanga Paranavitana said, "The Indian bowling was not weak but the wicket was good to bat on. If bowlers can bowl in the right areas they can get something from the wicket. I am happy to get a century as I have got to several half centurues in Tests. I am happy to get a hundred in the home soil against India."
Paranavitana added, "I was focussed, started with a positive mindset and accelerated. Batting with Sangakkara helped me. A total of 400 will be good for us. But rain could be a factor, especially if we get into a winning situation."
He had words of praise for debutant Indian paceman Abhimanyu Mithun. "India’s new bowler Mithun is good. With experience he will keep improving."
Keywords: India's tour of Sri Lanka