Sanjay Bangar, Rumesh Ratnayake praise Suranga Lakmal after India’s top-order tumble
Indian cricket team assistant coach Sanjay Bangar urged the batsmen to show patience after the top-order tumble on the opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Eden GardensUpdated: Nov 16, 2017 20:47 IST
Time will tell whether Suranga Lakmal becomes part of Eden Gardens’ folklore in the way Shoaib Akhtar, Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Lance Klusener and Malcolm Marshall have been with memorable spells of pace bowling. But he sure has made the right beginning. (IND v SL Day 1 report)
“It is one of the finest (spells) I have seen in a long time,” said Rumesh Ratnayake, Sri Lanka cricket team bowling coach, after Lakmal, 30, ended the day with 3/0 from six overs on Thursday. (IND v SL Day 1 highlights)
“You can’t really fault our batsmen for shot selections. Credit to him (Lakmal) for putting the ball in the right place,” said Sanjay Bangar, India’s assistant coach after a truncated first day at Eden Gardens saw only 11.5 overs being bowled and India reduced to 17/3.
Given that the batsmen in question were Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, this was fulsome praise from the rival camp. Bangar didn’t mention Shikhar Dhawan by name but defended his attacking instincts.
“He is a stroke-player, one who can change the course of a match in 15 overs. You want a player like Shikhar to play in his own fashion; we don’t want to curtail his style of play,” he said.
Yes, the wicket was receptive and the conditions made it a good toss for Sri Lanka to have won but Lakmal made it count by bowling in and around the off-stump.
On a wicket that offered bounce, he didn’t get carried away but pitched it up. “The advice was simple: push the batsmen back,” said Ratnayake.
There is forecast of more rain but even if there isn’t, Ratnayake felt the freshness of the wicket would last another full day. “The job is not finished,” he said.
Impeded by interruptions
Bangar said the conditions were difficult for batting and it was made worse by three interruptions. “It didn’t allow the batsmen to get into a rhythm. We couldn’t get a passage of play where you get 15-20 overs at a stretch,” he said.
Given that the floodlights were on for most of the time, Bangar said at times it felt like a day-night Test. “In such circumstances, picking the red ball becomes very tough,” he said.
What is needed in such a situation is patience. “You will have to grind it out. There will be a lot of deliveries that will beat the edge but you need to forget about it and think about the next ball,” said Bangar.
“The runs you get may not be elegant but they are equally important runs,” he added.
Bangar had walked the talk with a 296-ball 68 in Leeds against England in 2002. India will now want Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and the rest to do an encore here to ensure a good Friday.
First Published: Nov 16, 2017 19:19 IST