Tillakaratne Dilshan issued an ominous warning to India's beleaguered bowlers by revealing Sri Lanka plan to pile on the runs today and that he expects the placid Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) pitch to become even more benign. Kumar Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana both scored centuries for the second consecutive match yesterday to leave Sri Lanka in total control of the second Test at 312 for two.
Paranavitana was bowled by Ishant Sharma shortly after tea for 100, his second Test century. He hit 10 boundaries and a six in 221 balls. Sangakkara was unbeaten on 130 having faced 225 balls and hitting 15 boundaries. He will be eyeing a double century today. The pair put on 174 for the second wicket on a placid SSC pitch after Dilshan was caught by VVS Laxman at extra-cover off Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, having made a brisk 54.
"The second day is the best day to bat on the SSC pitch and we have our two most experienced batsmen at the crease - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene," Dilshan said. "If we score over 550 on this wicket we can put pressure on India and get a decision in our favour. "It is a superb wicket to bat on and I am disappointed I got out for 54. Tharanga and Sanga [Sangakkara] batted without taking any risks. We didn't experience any problem batting on this wicket. After the first three to four overs the wicket favoured the batsmen. It is not an easy wicket for the fast bowlers."
Dilshan and Paranavitana shared an attacking opening stand of 99 in 18.1 overs after winning the toss to set Sri Lanka on their way a big score. Dilshan, who was out trying to force the pace off Ojha, said he had no intention of altering his approach to batting. "I don't plan to change the way I am playing now. I have scored 11 Test centuries batting in this manner. "This is my seventh Test as an opener and I am averaging 63 [sic. 67]. This is the way I bat but sometimes I think if I can slow myself down a little bit it would be better," he said.
Commenting on the match, Dilshan was confident that by the third and fourth days the two spinners, Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv, will come in to play. "We have confidence in the two quicks Dammika Prasad and Dilhara Fernando. They can bowl more than 140-plus [kph] and they can get some bounce and pace off this wicket. By the third and fourth days I am sure the spinners should do the job for us. We have confidence in these four bowlers," Dilshan said.
"It's a big loss without Lasith [Malinga] who took seven wickets in the last Test, but Dilhara and Prasad have got an opportunity to cement their places in the team. I hope they make use of that advantage." Suresh Raina, the India batsman who is making his Test debut, defended his team's bowling display. "We had a good bowling plan and did a good job," Raina said. * Agencies