Prasanna Jayawardene confessed he was not aware of the world record partnership for the sixth wicket with Mahela Jayawardene until team manager Brendon Kuruppu informed him in the dressing room.
Prasanna, who remained unbeaten on 154 in the Sri Lankan first innings, said, “The important thing was to make a positive contribution to the team. I am happy I did that.
“There was a bit of uncertainty about my selection for the Test and I think I presented my case well. We knew we had to get a big lead to put India under some pressure. Mahela was a big help and we had constant chats in the middle.”
The Sri Lankan said the bowlers would have to put in a big effort on the final day. “There is a bit of turn and a bit of bounce but the pitch still favours the batsmen. We need to bowl to a plan.
A good chance
“I think we need to stay relaxed and not panic if a partnership is built. If we stick to the basics and create the pressure, I think we have a very good chance to win the Test.”
On the nature of the wicket here, the wicket-keeper batsman said, “We do come across such wickets in Sri Lanka also. These are batsmen friendly wickets and it can be hard for the bowlers.”
India coach Gary Kirsten believed his side could salvage a draw from the Test, “I think if we apply ourselves, we can save this Test. Our batsmen have enough skill and it only requires a determined and concentrated effort.”
He said his side’s first target would be to erase the deficit. “The sooner we wipe it out, the better it would be as our batsmen can relax a bit.
“But we don’t want to lose too many wickets and get ourselves into a hole. It should be risk-free cricket. We will have to achieve a balancing act. Someone will have to bat for 70 to 80 overs.”
Asked about the against-the-spin stroke that led to Virender Sehwag’s dismissal, he said, “That’s the way Sehwag plays. We have reaped the benefits of his batting style on many occasions. At times it doesn’t work. We have to accept it.”
On the ability of Gautam Gambhir — he saved the Napier Test for India earlier this year with a marathon effort — to bat for long periods, Kirsten said, “We know what he is capable of. He is batting well and has got a cool temperament.”
Kirsten was aware of ace spinner’s Muttiah Muralitharan’s ability to turn the course of matches. “Murali is always a threat. But it is up to us to prevent him from doing major damage,” he said.
The coach once again defended his bowlers. “I don’t think we bowled badly. It is a very good batting wicket and the Sri Lankans batted exceptionally well.
“I sensed when Mahela (Jayawardene) got to a hundred, he would make it big. And he did. Let’s give credit to the way they batted.”