Sri Lanka’s left-handed opener Dimuth Karunaratne is willing to think out of the box in an attempt to counter spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the upcoming three-match Test series against India.
Karunaratne was the leading scorer for the Lankans with 285 runs in their 0-3 loss to India in September, including a valiant 141 in the second innings of the first Test.
“I know Jadeja and Ashwin are both hungry for wickets. Every time they bowl it’s about sticking to the basics. If I don’t give them any chance, they will try to do something else. If we need them to change the field you have to do something extra. That’s my gameplan... I wait for the loose ones and I will stick to that. If it does not work I will think out of the box and give some extra pressure to the bowlers,” Karunaratne told reporters after day one of their tour match against Board President’s XI on Saturday.
Fresh from a career-best 196 that came against Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai last month, Karunaratne said the 141 in the second innings against India was confidence-boosting.
“That hundred helped me a lot to take some confidence to Pakistan. It’s not easy to bat in second innings. I was determined to get some runs especially against Ashwin, their wicket-taking bowler on that pitch. I was thinking to play first five overs without big shots. I realised it’s not easy. I played a lot of sweep and reverse sweeps and they had to change the field position. That’s my style, to play in my comfort zone and not go for anything else. That’s key and I can bat longer period. that’s my game plan,” he said.
The 29-year-old who was dismissed twice by Ashwin and once by Jadeja in their home series said he prepared for the series, starting November 16, by batting on dusty wickets back home.
“We have practised on dusty wickets and have another five days before the Test. We will prepare for the good spin attack,” Karunaratne, who scored a fluent 50 from 60 balls against Board President’s XI, said.
He further said Board President’s XI did not play a left-arm spinner as India may go with two left-armers in Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
“They didn’t give us left-arm spinners. It’s not easy I know they will definitely play with Jadeja, and maybe Kuldeep to go alongside Ashwin,” he said.
Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 411/8 after 88 overs with four half-centuries in the tour game against Board President’s XI. Sri Lanka played a third-string Board President’s XI in the two-day match but he said it did not matter as their main objective of getting runs was fulfilled.
“We need a bit of confidence going into the series as apart from Angelo and Rangana nobody else has played here. It was good batting-friendly conditions and the ball was not turning much, so most of us batsmen got runs.
“It’s all about runs. It doesn’t matter if they bowl fast or slow, if they bowl good line and length that’s the most the difficult part for a batsman. They bowled really in good areas.”
‘Hathurusinghe as coach would be good for SL’
Karunaratne said it would be good for the team if Chandika Hathurusinghe takes over as the head coach, amid growing speculation of the same after he stepped down as Bangladesh coach.
“Definitely (it will be good for Sri Lankan team) as he knows most of guys. I’ve played under him at the provisional level, so it’s good for us. But I’ve no idea if he’s coming or not.”
Hathurusinghe tendered his resignation during Bangladesh’s disastrous tour of South Africa last month, BCB president Nazmul Hasan announced on Saturday.
“I’ve heard he’s coming but not confirmed yet. I’ve no comments to say. It’s for the Sri Lanka Cricket to make an announcement.”