Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 3rd day January 5, 2013

Spinners can rescue us - Karunaratne

19

Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne said his side would target a lead in excess of 150 when they resume their second innings 87 runs ahead and with three wickets in hand, in Sydney on the fourth day. Sri Lanka had moved to within eight runs of wiping Australia's first-innings lead when they lost their second wicket, but five more batsmen fell in the third session to leave the visitors poorly placed.

Though the SCG pitch remained well-suited to batting, Karunaratne hoped Sri Lanka's spinners could defend a modest total, as the match approached a result. Dinesh Chandimal remained unbeaten on 22 at stumps on day three, with Rangana Herath for company.

"We did hard work in the first and second session, but we lost the last session which was very disappointing," Karunaratne said. "Chandimal is at the wicket, so he can do something tomorrow. If he puts some runs on the board, like 150-175, there is a chance to do something on this track.

"The wicket is turning a lot now and Australia are batting in the fourth innings. There's something on the wicket. I think Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan can do something for us."

Karunaratne also defended Thilan Samaraweera's shot selection, after Samaraweera had advanced down the pitch and aimed a slog over midwicket off Nathan Lyon, off the third ball he faced. The swipe produced a top edge that was taken at mid-off, leaving Sri Lanka four wickets down, being only 20 runs ahead.

"The things he is used to doing haven't been successful for him in the last two or three innings. He tried to do something different. He tried to attack and get some runs, spread the field and then he could play his normal game. There are different plans for different players. He had a different gameplan and he tried it, but he was unlucky. I think in the next series he will come to the fore again.

"We haven't had much luck, and it's been a disappointing series for all of us. We didn't bat well in the whole series, except when Tillakaratne Dilshan got a hundred in the first Test and Lahiru Thirimanne batted well in the first innings here."

Sri Lanka had played Nathan Lyon aggressively throughout the Test, and Karunaratne said that that had been their plan, as most Sri Lanka batsmen felt more comfortable against spin bowling. Lyon picked up Samaraweera's wicket, but was expensive at 4.84 runs an over, and was hit for three aerial fours in an over by Angelo Mathews despite the visitors' dire match situation.

"The Aussie fast bowlers are doing really well in the three sessions, and they do the basics right with line and length and set the field well. If we have a chance to get some runs, it's against the offspinner through mid-on and midwicket when those fielders are in the circle. Mathews is a good player to hit some big shots. Thilan also tried to do the same thing."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Karnain on January 5, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Good team spirit Dimuth, seniors backed you when you failed & guided you to success @ test level. It's nice to see you speak for the sake of seniors. But don't expect Dilshan to be a Murali. Samaraweera should be experienced enough to absorb pressure at this level. Thirimanne also ran out of patience in the second innings but hope he will learn from this & price his wicket more. Chandimal again impressive on wickets out side SL hope he will get enough support from the tail to make a score for himself.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    I seriously think we have a good future in batting. These players are talented enough to not to let Sri Lanka down, instead, they will lift us further. The worry is fast bowling. SL Cricket Board seriously need to work on pace bowling. They seriously should bring young fast bowlers who are around 18, 19, 20, 21. We have a few more years before next world cup. When it comes to faster tracks, you know what happens!

  • dunger.bob on January 5, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Every run that SL can get will add a bit more pressure on Au. We Aussies have a patchy record of chasing smallish targets down. .. there may still be a sting in the tail of this match. .. I've got to say I'm impressed with Herath. .. he looks to be a cunning old pro to me and I would say that he is capable of inflicting some real pain on us.

  • on January 5, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Dimuth ,Thirmanna and Chandimal are very capable young players and should be given chance all the time specially in Tests in order to gain self confidence. Like Aussie commentators said they are extremely capable young world class players.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 5, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    @Ramesh du Faf batted twice on the Adelaide oval - the best batting wicket on earth - against a team with only three bowlers and minus its strike bowler and key allrounder. Have you ever batted against a team with only 3 bowlers, at any level? I certainly haven't. Faf was gifted an easy day of doing absolutely nothing but blocking on a dead track, and even then in the 2nd innings was dropped and given out twice only to have decisions overturned by the skin of his teeth when he'd barely scored anything. SL must attack to win against a full opposition (well, an 11 man starting lineup minus three or four injured fastbowlers). That's a massive difference.

  • KingOwl on January 5, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    For Samaraweera: "The things he is used to doing haven't been successful for him in the last two or three innings", says Dimuth. But, this was a slower wicket - 3rd day, Sidney pitch. It could have suited Thilan's normal game plan. It was worth a try, surely? Rather than trying to do something he is not used to doing. Let's face it, he is no Mathews.

  • Sinhaya on January 5, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @endianuwagona, I fully agree with you indeed and spot on correct. We just showed lack of grit and commitment. Aussies showed their mental strength. I hope Chandimal will be inspired tomorrow based on how Ramdhin and Best posted 143 for the 10th wicket last year in Birmingham against the likes of Finn, Bresnan and Swann. See this http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/534207.html looks unlikely Chandimal can do it looking at our weak tail.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    I don't think Thirimanna was wrong. He did it right, that is, attacking the bowler, put them under pressure. But, he couldn't make it. That's what Dimuth did in his entire innings. And he succeeded. Samaraweera should have defended. Because he should have realized that his role was to become a strong wall.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 5, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    If Sri Lanka can somehow get a lead of 150 +, although unlikely, their spinners have got a much better chance of taking wickets on this track than Australia's Lyon, who is more a seamer than a spinner.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Yes, we still have the chance. Herath is capable of doing that, but it's still 70+ runs far. Keep trying buddy... We are with you... If you win this, I think it's even more important than a world cup win. Don't give up. Fight, fight like you did on some days... That great quality is there. I didn't think that we could see such a great innings by you, Dimuth. It was a beauty. I stopped all my work, and watched you bat. It was one of the most beautiful innings I ever saw. It may be a norm to Aussies, but as Sri Lankans who are not used to bounce, pace, it's really magical. I'm very happy what you displayed today, and what Lahiru did last time. Trust yourself. We can win! Some say we don't have players like Faf Du Plesis. Faf Du Plesis was out of the squad, and was lucky to get into the side due to the injury of JP Duminy (as I remember). He delivered something which nobody ever thought of. Trust yourself, and don't let fear step into you. Fear is useful at times, but play bravely.Win it!

  • Karnain on January 5, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Good team spirit Dimuth, seniors backed you when you failed & guided you to success @ test level. It's nice to see you speak for the sake of seniors. But don't expect Dilshan to be a Murali. Samaraweera should be experienced enough to absorb pressure at this level. Thirimanne also ran out of patience in the second innings but hope he will learn from this & price his wicket more. Chandimal again impressive on wickets out side SL hope he will get enough support from the tail to make a score for himself.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    I seriously think we have a good future in batting. These players are talented enough to not to let Sri Lanka down, instead, they will lift us further. The worry is fast bowling. SL Cricket Board seriously need to work on pace bowling. They seriously should bring young fast bowlers who are around 18, 19, 20, 21. We have a few more years before next world cup. When it comes to faster tracks, you know what happens!

  • dunger.bob on January 5, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Every run that SL can get will add a bit more pressure on Au. We Aussies have a patchy record of chasing smallish targets down. .. there may still be a sting in the tail of this match. .. I've got to say I'm impressed with Herath. .. he looks to be a cunning old pro to me and I would say that he is capable of inflicting some real pain on us.

  • on January 5, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Dimuth ,Thirmanna and Chandimal are very capable young players and should be given chance all the time specially in Tests in order to gain self confidence. Like Aussie commentators said they are extremely capable young world class players.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 5, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    @Ramesh du Faf batted twice on the Adelaide oval - the best batting wicket on earth - against a team with only three bowlers and minus its strike bowler and key allrounder. Have you ever batted against a team with only 3 bowlers, at any level? I certainly haven't. Faf was gifted an easy day of doing absolutely nothing but blocking on a dead track, and even then in the 2nd innings was dropped and given out twice only to have decisions overturned by the skin of his teeth when he'd barely scored anything. SL must attack to win against a full opposition (well, an 11 man starting lineup minus three or four injured fastbowlers). That's a massive difference.

  • KingOwl on January 5, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    For Samaraweera: "The things he is used to doing haven't been successful for him in the last two or three innings", says Dimuth. But, this was a slower wicket - 3rd day, Sidney pitch. It could have suited Thilan's normal game plan. It was worth a try, surely? Rather than trying to do something he is not used to doing. Let's face it, he is no Mathews.

  • Sinhaya on January 5, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    @endianuwagona, I fully agree with you indeed and spot on correct. We just showed lack of grit and commitment. Aussies showed their mental strength. I hope Chandimal will be inspired tomorrow based on how Ramdhin and Best posted 143 for the 10th wicket last year in Birmingham against the likes of Finn, Bresnan and Swann. See this http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/534207.html looks unlikely Chandimal can do it looking at our weak tail.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    I don't think Thirimanna was wrong. He did it right, that is, attacking the bowler, put them under pressure. But, he couldn't make it. That's what Dimuth did in his entire innings. And he succeeded. Samaraweera should have defended. Because he should have realized that his role was to become a strong wall.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on January 5, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    If Sri Lanka can somehow get a lead of 150 +, although unlikely, their spinners have got a much better chance of taking wickets on this track than Australia's Lyon, who is more a seamer than a spinner.

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Yes, we still have the chance. Herath is capable of doing that, but it's still 70+ runs far. Keep trying buddy... We are with you... If you win this, I think it's even more important than a world cup win. Don't give up. Fight, fight like you did on some days... That great quality is there. I didn't think that we could see such a great innings by you, Dimuth. It was a beauty. I stopped all my work, and watched you bat. It was one of the most beautiful innings I ever saw. It may be a norm to Aussies, but as Sri Lankans who are not used to bounce, pace, it's really magical. I'm very happy what you displayed today, and what Lahiru did last time. Trust yourself. We can win! Some say we don't have players like Faf Du Plesis. Faf Du Plesis was out of the squad, and was lucky to get into the side due to the injury of JP Duminy (as I remember). He delivered something which nobody ever thought of. Trust yourself, and don't let fear step into you. Fear is useful at times, but play bravely.Win it!

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Dimuth , Chandi and Thirimanne are among world`s top young batters..these guys should be regulars in all 3 formatsfrom here on ..Samare should retire,,Dilshan should give up Tests..Paranawithane shoudln`t even be considered.Pls add Dimuth to ODI squad

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    exactly why we should have played Randiv ahead of a fast bowler. Randiv can bat too. bad selection of team, bad selection of shots are costing us badly. its hard to be a fan

  • Jayzuz on January 5, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Well, good luck to SL. It's a long shot on a day 4 wicket, though. They'll need a bit of luck to get there - and at least another 50 runs.

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Samaraweera shouldn't play test cricket again, and nor should Dilshan (because he needs to focus on ODIs until 2015 WC). Sri Lanka have thrown away their best chance for a maiden test win in Australia through lack of discipline and application. Their pace attack is also pedestrian, and Lakmal should not have bothered flying over, instead Randiv should have played as he was in the squad the whole time and the Aussies have several left handers, the pitch is turning as well. It's time to prepare for the future now, Chandimal, Karunaratna and Lahiru will be the teams cornerstones from now on.

  • Happy_AusBang on January 5, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    The important thing is they must not throw away their wickets like some of the batsmen did today. Patience and gritty determination is required. Herath should be told who is the batsman out there. Sri Lanka should aim to add another 100 tomorrow; then the game will become interesting again.

  • docvinnny on January 5, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Mendis is an injured all the time. Lakmal is our future Anderson.......he is the only one who kept bowling to the line n length.

  • Sinhaya on January 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Honestly Dimuth our blunders have cost us the game. We gave all our 2nd innings wickets except that of yours due to our negligence and lack of patience. Only your wicket was a real wicket taking delivery. Just hope Chandimal bats long as possible and drags on the game and delays the inevitable. Honestly Herath alone CANNOT win us a test match! If we had Ajantha Mendis instead of the useless passenger Lakmal, then I would have been upbeat about a victory. Remember Dimuth that in test cricket one bad session will cost you a match and that was exactly the case post tea today.

  • docvinnny on January 5, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Dimuth should have tighten the screws on his footwork and defence as the ball started reversing. Moreover Bird kept a nagging line n length. Mahela should have picked it up as the non striker and warned him. I think these youngsters need to be bought little bit more about how to play clever cricket at tough times. I think a perfect batsman recognises when a bowler is getting it right and adjusts his game plan accordingly. Lahiru showed a very solid defensive technique but he was not prepared for the hook that he played. If he was then it should have ended up in the pink stand top row. The 3 boys dimuth, lahiru and chandimal look good for the future but need to be taught on how to recognise opponents plans quickly and to be able to read the mind of the bowler.

  • Jimmyrob83 on January 5, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    The old poor me syndrome has really got a hold of Sri Lanka. They have just been outclassed.

  • Jimmyrob83 on January 5, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    The old poor me syndrome has really got a hold of Sri Lanka. They have just been outclassed.

  • docvinnny on January 5, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Dimuth should have tighten the screws on his footwork and defence as the ball started reversing. Moreover Bird kept a nagging line n length. Mahela should have picked it up as the non striker and warned him. I think these youngsters need to be bought little bit more about how to play clever cricket at tough times. I think a perfect batsman recognises when a bowler is getting it right and adjusts his game plan accordingly. Lahiru showed a very solid defensive technique but he was not prepared for the hook that he played. If he was then it should have ended up in the pink stand top row. The 3 boys dimuth, lahiru and chandimal look good for the future but need to be taught on how to recognise opponents plans quickly and to be able to read the mind of the bowler.

  • Sinhaya on January 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Honestly Dimuth our blunders have cost us the game. We gave all our 2nd innings wickets except that of yours due to our negligence and lack of patience. Only your wicket was a real wicket taking delivery. Just hope Chandimal bats long as possible and drags on the game and delays the inevitable. Honestly Herath alone CANNOT win us a test match! If we had Ajantha Mendis instead of the useless passenger Lakmal, then I would have been upbeat about a victory. Remember Dimuth that in test cricket one bad session will cost you a match and that was exactly the case post tea today.

  • docvinnny on January 5, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Mendis is an injured all the time. Lakmal is our future Anderson.......he is the only one who kept bowling to the line n length.

  • Happy_AusBang on January 5, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    The important thing is they must not throw away their wickets like some of the batsmen did today. Patience and gritty determination is required. Herath should be told who is the batsman out there. Sri Lanka should aim to add another 100 tomorrow; then the game will become interesting again.

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Samaraweera shouldn't play test cricket again, and nor should Dilshan (because he needs to focus on ODIs until 2015 WC). Sri Lanka have thrown away their best chance for a maiden test win in Australia through lack of discipline and application. Their pace attack is also pedestrian, and Lakmal should not have bothered flying over, instead Randiv should have played as he was in the squad the whole time and the Aussies have several left handers, the pitch is turning as well. It's time to prepare for the future now, Chandimal, Karunaratna and Lahiru will be the teams cornerstones from now on.

  • Jayzuz on January 5, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Well, good luck to SL. It's a long shot on a day 4 wicket, though. They'll need a bit of luck to get there - and at least another 50 runs.

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    exactly why we should have played Randiv ahead of a fast bowler. Randiv can bat too. bad selection of team, bad selection of shots are costing us badly. its hard to be a fan

  • on January 5, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    Dimuth , Chandi and Thirimanne are among world`s top young batters..these guys should be regulars in all 3 formatsfrom here on ..Samare should retire,,Dilshan should give up Tests..Paranawithane shoudln`t even be considered.Pls add Dimuth to ODI squad

  • Prabhash1985 on January 5, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Yes, we still have the chance. Herath is capable of doing that, but it's still 70+ runs far. Keep trying buddy... We are with you... If you win this, I think it's even more important than a world cup win. Don't give up. Fight, fight like you did on some days... That great quality is there. I didn't think that we could see such a great innings by you, Dimuth. It was a beauty. I stopped all my work, and watched you bat. It was one of the most beautiful innings I ever saw. It may be a norm to Aussies, but as Sri Lankans who are not used to bounce, pace, it's really magical. I'm very happy what you displayed today, and what Lahiru did last time. Trust yourself. We can win! Some say we don't have players like Faf Du Plesis. Faf Du Plesis was out of the squad, and was lucky to get into the side due to the injury of JP Duminy (as I remember). He delivered something which nobody ever thought of. Trust yourself, and don't let fear step into you. Fear is useful at times, but play bravely.Win it!