Karunaratne therefore knows his side have their work cut out for them in looking to produce a result in the first Test, starting on Sunday.
“The last match [we played here] saw around 1,400 runs scored while the match before also saw over 1,000 runs scored. This too will most likely be a batting-friendly wicket, a wicket where a result will be hard to come by,” Karunaratne said. “But we will still try to figure out a combination to give us the best chance of getting 20 wickets and winning this match.”
“We’ve seen a lot of runs scored on this wicket before, so we know we’ll need some wicket-taking bowlers in the team, and we’ll have to see if we go in with an extra bowler or not,” Karunaratne said.
He is however hopeful of his young bowlers, especially the seamers, stepping up to the occasion and grabbing the opportunity to stake a claim for a permanent role in the side.
“In the past we’ve seen that it was primarily Suranga that was holding up one end in terms of fast bowling, but there’s now a chance for someone else to grab that spot. So, I look forward to seeing who puts their hands up.”
Dimuth Karunaratne on finding a replacement for the retired Suranga Lakmal
“Suranga’s [Lakmal] retirement has also given a good opportunity for the youngsters to come in, perform and establish a spot in the side. In the past we’ve seen that it was primarily Suranga that was holding up one end in terms of fast bowling, but there’s now a chance for someone else to grab that spot. So, I look forward to seeing who puts their hands up.”
“Chris is a very experienced coach, and we saw what he was capable of when he brought his England side down to Sri Lanka last year and won. One things is he’s not trying to change too much about the players too soon, he wants them to play with freedom. He likes to take on a challenge. He likes to play fearless cricket. This is first series and he’s not tried to make any major changes as yet.
“But I think you’ll see little, little improvements and shifts as time goes on – the standard of cricket we’re playing now, I think you’ll see at least a 20-30% improvement just purely on the strategies he’s looking to implement. He will of course teach us these things little by little, but I don’t expect there to be a big change all at once because he’s also only been with the team for a couple of weeks.”
“There are no issues in terms of his wicketkeeping, but in terms of his batting I’ve spoken to Dikka on numerous occasions about aligning his goals with that of the team. A wicketkeeper batting at No. 7 getting a century is a huge boost, but I think when we look at our team it’s difficult to expect someone like Dickwella to get a century batting with the tail.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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