|Friday, 13 August 2004|
'Sanga is the best 'keeper and no. 3 bat we have' - Dyson
by Sa'adi Thawfeeq
Sri Lanka coach John Dyson said the absence of spin king Muttiah Muralitharan in the bowling line up gave bowlers like Upul Chandana and Rangana Herath a great opportunity to show what they can do in the second cricket Test against South Africa at the SSC grounds.
Chandana and Herath bowled 17 overs between them for 60 runs without being successful on the second day, but with the pitch expected to assist spin and playing much quicker than the one at Galle, they are expected to play important roles if Sri Lanka is to record their maiden series victory over the Proteas.
Left-armer Sanath Jayasuriya stole a march over his two spin rivals late in the day and showed them how to take wickets when he picked up two wickets in his first over to end with figures of two for two off three overs.
"At109 for one I was thinking 'gosh, it would be nice to grab a couple'. Then Sunny (Sanath Jayasuriya) came on and as he often does nibbled a couple out," said Dyson. "He has shown in those three overs that if you bowl at the right pace on that pitch there is a bit of turn there and hopefully there will be more and more of that."
"I think this wicket is so dry that it will really turn on days four and five although it is hard to predict on pitches here in Sri Lanka. It is difficult to predict just about how quickly it will turn and whether it will also bounce," he said.
Dyson admitted that he was a little bit disappointed with the batting yesterday when Sri Lanka starting at 303-3 lost five wickets for 45 runs to be all out for 470. "We didn't do as well as we should have." Dyson praised the batting of Kumar Sangakkara who scored a brilliant 232 and admired him for his wicket-keeping skills.
"He batted beautifully. The form he has been in for some time now has suggested that he is going to string together a number of good scores. He had made a few cameo performances with 50s and 70s. He was really due for a big one," said Dyson.
"I consider him to be the best wicket-keeper in Sri Lanka. I would say that in front of Romesh (Kaluwitharana) and Prasanna Jayawardene. He just also happens to be our best number three so it's a difficult situation," he said.
South African coach Eric Simmons said that his team would try to be as positive as they could go into the third day of the Test.
"It is always difficult to bat at the end of the day. With, the spinners on and pressure of the big score on the board one has to look at that as well. Losing two wickets in one over is a setback. It is a bit of a blow for us but it's the way the game goes. We have to put partnerships together. That is what these wickets are about," said Simmons.
"Funny enough the wicket seems to be getting quicker. It's dried out a bit but it seems to have more pace and the ball seems to get soft very quickly. The wicket yesterday was very slow," he said.
Simmons said that Sangakkara punished South Africa for dropping catches. "His contribution was massive. You cannot afford to drop catches on a wicket like this," he said. Butterfingered South African fieldsmen let off Sangakkara at 57 and again at 177.
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