A bit of rest is always welcome after back-to-back Tests, especially when the results don’t go your way. As part of our carefully planned regimen, the guys got a couple of days off. In the middle of a busy international schedule, this pause to gather your mental and physical energies is a must and we returned to training at the Brabourne Stadium with focus and purpose on Monday.
We knew where we had gone wrong in Kanpur and this meant working on specific areas, in both bowling and batting. We have to target certain areas in which to lift ourselves so that we can put pressure on the Indians over a sustained period of play.
We had a quick team chat before the practice session and one of the things the guys spoke about was that we needed no further motivation to win the final Test.
We are now in a situation where we have everything to play for if we want to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves when we landed in India. It’s not just about winning our first Test here, it’s about squaring the series.
We had a brief look at the pitch and what’s obvious is that this surface will offer more pace and bounce than Ahmedabad or Kanpur.
What this means is that fast bowlers will get the leg up they have missed and even the spinners can benefit if they target the right areas. The pitch was watered, so we couldn’t accurately gauge just how hard it was, and naturally as we get closer to the start, this will play a role in deciding the composition of the team.
The bad news is that Dhammika Prasad is still struggling with his hamstring and will probably not feature in the final eleven. This leaves us with a tricky choice.
The extra pace and bounce makes it tempting to play three specialist fast bowlers alongside one spinner and all-rounder Angelo Mathews. Rangana Herath has bowled very well in the past, and there is Muttiah Muralitharan, who is one of the proven match-winners in the game's history. To leave out either of these players will be very difficult.
What we’re thinking about is just which combination will give us the best chance of picking up 20 wickets.
In Kanpur, we believed three spinners was the answer, but it didn't work. The key to our recent success has been this positive approach, and I can’t see it changing.
The days when a Sri Lankan team looked to just play it safe, or get away with a draw are long gone.
The other is the fact that we are playing at a historic venue. Test cricket returns to the Cricket club of India after 36 years and to play at yet another of the world’s traditional and historic venues is a privilege. We're looking forward to it, and will be up for the challenge when the first ball is bowled.