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Sri Lanka’s sweeping success keeps them afloat in Colombo Test vs India

Despite starting at defeat in the second Test and series after a first innings batting collapse, Sri Lanka batsman Kusal Mendis used the sweep to great effect after Virat Kohli asked them to follow on.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 05, 2017 22:10 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India,INDvSL
Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis used the sweep shot to great effect against India on Day 3 of the second Test on Saturday.(Reuters)

At the end of the third day’s play in the second Test, Sri Lankan batsmen were a confused lot over whether the sweep shot is a good option or not.

If you look at their first innings, the verdict is that it has effectively cost Sri Lanka the match and series after captain Dinesh Chandimal’s was caught attempting to sweep Ravindra Jadeja, triggering a procession which saw the hosts crash to 183 all out in 49.4 overs in the first innings.

In the second essay, the script changed dramatically with the same shot being their most productive which helped Kusal Mendis counter the threat of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

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

Wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella, the only batsman to get a half-century in the first innings, revealed that their captain’s downfall didn’t put them off the strategy to take on the Indian spinners with the sweep shot on a turning wicket.

“We have to back ourselves 100 %. We might get out playing positive shots. We are now in a good situation by playing sweep shots,” said Dickwella.

“We were training hard on sweeps and reverse sweeps. Batting coach Hashan Tillakaratne and other coaches specifically speak about the sweep shots and encourage us to do that. When it comes to a spinning wicket, we have to play the sweep and that’s an option,” added Dickwella.

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

Talking about the refreshing approach in the second innings after their poor performance in the morning, Dickwella revealed it was the result of a brain-storming session in the dressing room during the lunch break.

“Our approach wasn’t right in the first innings, but we had a chat before the second innings and it paid off. We had the sweep shot as one of our options. We didn’t want to sweep so early. After the first innings we had a different approach and that paid off.”

As for his first innings cameo, Dickwella said: “I backed my strength. I used to play the sweep and the reverse sweep a lot. It was the best option on a spinning wicket against Ashwin and Jadeja. I swept about 80 % of my shots.”

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

After scoring his hundred on Friday, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had warned against playing the sweep on the SSC wicket while explaining the effectiveness of using the feet against spinners.

That both measures have proved successful show it’s about the execution, not the plan.

First Published: Aug 05, 2017 20:09 IST