It’s up there in my top three says Dimuth | Daily News

It’s up there in my top three says Dimuth

GALLE: Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne rated his monumental innings of 158 not out against South Africa on the first day of the first Test at Galle yesterday amongst the top three of his eight Test centuries scored in his 50-Test career.

Thanks to Karunaratne’s solid defiance Sri Lanka’s top order that was threatened to be blown away by the pace of Kagiso Rabada recovered from slumping to 176-8 to post a healthy total of 287.

“This is one of my best after New Zealand and India it ranks in my top three,” said Karunaratne at the end of the day.

“As opener it’s not easy when I get out in a few overs. When you get another chance you have to catch up on those innings. I failed in the Indian series and I tried to catch up on those runs as well,” he said.

Karunaratne scored 152 off 363 balls at Christchurch in 2014 against a New Zealand attack comprising Boult, Southee, Wagner and Craig and 141 off 307 balls at the SSC in 2017 against an India bowling line up consisting of Yadav, Ashwin, Shami, Jadeja and Pandya.

“The first 15 overs it’s not easy with Rabada, Steyn and Philander bowling good lines and lengths but I knew if I stayed for 15 overs I can play a long innings. I occupied the crease as long as I can and then I realised that when the spinners came that I can get more runs. That was my basic plan,” said Karunaratne.

“My aim is to play a big innings each time I got to bat. Coach Thilan (Samaraweera) told me to stay until the last wicket falls and for me not to get out. I didn’t go to do anything big but batted the way I always do.”

The most difficult period for batting Karunaratne found was when the ball got older.

“When the ball gets older in the second or third spells Steyn started reversing with the wind that was the only part I found difficult when playing the seamers,” said Karunaratne.

“There was more bounce than usual on this wicket and there was more grass which the South Africans used to their advantage. That was the challenge we faced but when the spinners came on we didn’t have much trouble negotiating them,” he said.

Karunaratne said that he missed Dinesh Chandimal a lot because in the last few years they have been involved in some big partnerships together.

“Chandi is a very good batsman in the last few years he batted a lot of time with me and our relationship has been very good batting together. Unfortunately he couldn’t make it I really missed him.”

South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi who took three wickets gave credit to the Lankan tail for getting them to a decent total.

“The guys batted really well towards the end. You must give credit to the tail as well. The guys from our side - we were toiling hard. But credit goes to their tail they really hung around with the end batsmen and did the job,” said Shamsi.

“I think after the rain shower came, the outfield was slightly damp. The ball got a bit softer. That might have played a part, but I don’t want to take any credit away from the way the guys batted.”


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