Every Test match is important, especially when you’re captain of a team, but some matches assume more significance than others because of events leading up to them or the context in which they are played. We started badly, came back really strongly in the last game and now we are in a position to win a match and with it the series. That is what we came here hoping to achieve — a series win in Sri Lanka.
What helps is that we are going into the final Test full of confidence thanks to our comfortable win in Galle. When I look around me in the dressing-room I see a team that is happy and people who have confidence in themselves and their team-mates. In each person there is a quiet determination to go out there and secure a victory.
Parthiv Patel gets a break in this game, making a comeback after four years. It’s a good chance for him. Dinesh Karthik looked a little low on confidence behind the stumps and this means he misses out. As much as it is a good break for Parthiv, it would also do the team's cause some good if he can contribute.
When we saw the pitch during practice at the P Sarvanamuttu Stadium there was some grass on it and it has a reputation of being a bit lively. But I have my doubts whether there will be any grass left on it by the start of the Test match.
The toss has proved to be quite important, as we expected it would be, but we're well prepared irrespective of whether we get lucky or not. We have the confidence that we can take 20 wickets and score big runs, and that's the important thing.
The middle-order was shaping up well in the last Test but we're yet to see a substantial contribution from those batsmen. I'm sure each of the four batsmen in the middle-order are itching to get runs and this will be a good time for them to fire. That said, we have got strong starts from the opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and hopefully that trend will continue. The lower-order has been a bit of a let down, but even there we have people who can occupy the crease purposefully and that's an area where a contribution is welcome.
We bowled well in partnerships, whether it's the fast bowlers or Harbhajan Singh and myself and we need to do that in this Test as well to sustain the pressure on Sri Lanka.
Finally, I'd just like to say that our thoughts are with Gary Kirsten as he is by his mother's side, at a time when she needs him. We're all hoping that things go well and Gary will be back with the team in the near future.