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

Spinners can rescue us - Karunaratne

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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

  • 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.

  • dummy4fb 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!