Even before the Test had begun, the toss was expected to play a key role. At the end of the match, both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara acknowledged that. “The first day was the best time to bat on the wicket. You could play your strokes. It became difficult to bat on towards the end of the second day,” said Dhoni. “We used the opportunity well. We have two openers who score at a good rate and that helps.”
Sangakkara blamed the first-innings failure for the loss. “We batted badly in the first innings. The wicket was flat but a bit harder to score on.” Sri Lanka needed partnerships but couldn’t get any. “We failed to occupy the crease. We didn’t have long partnerships,” he said.
Dhoni was of similar view. “We picked wickets at regular intervals. Since there was nothing in the wicket, no pace, no bounce and no turn, all you had to do was put the ball in the right areas. Sreesanth’s reverse swing mattered a lot.”
Sri Lankans, however, didn’t do that. Apart from batting badly, moving too early into their strokes, they gave away 417 runs on the first day. “We bowled badly on the first day. If we could have restricted India to 450 in the first innings, things might have been different. But 600 is too much,” said the Sri Lankan skipper.
Mumbai will be different and one of Sri Lanka’s biggest worry would be the form of Muttiah Muralitharan.