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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Ravichandran Ashwin feels slowing pitch will make job harder vs Sri Lanka

Ravichandran Ashwin picked up his 26th five-wicket haul in Tests on Saturday, moving ahead of Harbhajan Singh.

india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 Updated: Aug 05, 2017 22:10 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India's Ravichandran Ashwin picked up yet another five-wicket haul in Tests on Saturday.
India's Ravichandran Ashwin picked up yet another five-wicket haul in Tests on Saturday.(Reuters)

India spin spearhead R Ashwin declared the bowlers were in for a hard day’s work on Sunday as they strive to get the remaining Sri Lankan wickets because the Sinhalese Sports Club ground surface had changed and slowed down.

For the first time in the three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka, Virat Kohli’s boys found how difficult things can get in these conditions after Kusal Mendis and opener Dimuth Karunaratne put on 191 runs for the second wicket after being asked to follow-on in the second Test on Saturday. Sri Lanka are battling to avoid defeat while India, up in the three-match series, are pushing to go 2-0 up.

READ | India vs Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis hits ton, hosts finally show resistance

“I think this wicket will get slower and slower. It is not going to be easy work tomorrow, for sure. We will have to be really disciplined. I thought we gave a few runs more than what we should have ideally given today. Tomorrow, we can probably try and squeeze them out and try and nip a few wickets up early.

“It is going to be very important. Mind you, it is not going to be easy because it (pitch) is slowing down at a very, very quick pace. Edges aren’t carrying. So, that means we will have to stick to our guns and try to prise out a few wickets,” warned Ashwin, adding: “The second new ball, therefore, becomes important.”

Ashwin was India’s most successful bowler in the Sri Lanka first innings in the morning with a five-wicket haul, the 26th of his career.

READ | Kusal Mendis earns Aravinda de Silva’s praise after ton vs India

His battle with Karunaratne is turning out to be a good contest. Ashwin prised out the left-handed batsman for 97 in the second innings at Galle and in the first innings here, but the opener has come back well in the second innings and is batting on 92.

Karunaratne’s resistance

“In the morning I didn’t bowl a lot to the left-handers. I got all the right-handers’ wickets. There is some help if you go wider for the right-handers. For left-handers, obviously the ball goes even further away so it enabled to get beaten more often than not. Karunaratne played really, really well. They batted inside the line a lot when they defended, and when they attacked they were not in two minds. They attacked really well,” said Ashwin.

READ | Kusal Mendis leads Sri Lanka’s grim fight vs India in Colombo with classy ton

After Sri Lanka’s batting recovery in the second innings, there was a debate whether India were right to enforce the follow-on. But after taking a lead of 439 runs, they would have looked silly not to use the option.

“More often than not, we have based it on how fresh or how tired the bowlers are. I thought we did get them out in under two sessions, so we thought it was the right time to enforce the follow-on.”

First Published: Aug 05, 2017 20:36 IST

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