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March 11, 2004
After being completely dominated on the fourth day at Galle, Sri Lanka will need a special performance on the final day to pull off a victory in the first Test. John Dyson, the Sri Lankan coach, was optimistic about his team's chances. This is what he had to say after the fourth day's play:
On the strategy for tomorrow
We will obviously have a go at it tomorrow and play positive cricket. In this sort of situation where there is 90 overs left to play you don't go out with a thought that we are only going to try and defend the day. We go out there and see what happens. Look for scoring opportunities - just see how the day unfolds.
On the state of the pitch
The Australian batsmen made the pitch look very good. They were very positive in their attitude towards their batting. They played straight and anything loose they pounced on. The pitch isn't jumping viciously or doing anything like that. Providing it doesn't do that again tomorrow we could be in for a very enthralling day. We'll look at Sunny's [Sanath Jayasurya] hand in the morning - I expect he will bat at No. 4 or 5.
On the Australian batsmen's handling of Muralitharan
The Australians played Murali very well, and to Murali's credit he stuck at it throughout the whole innings. I think he will go away from this game and reflect on each of the batsmen who he has seen again at very close quarters and think about what he wants to do the next time.
On deciding to go in with only one seam bowler
It certainly appeared after the first innings that going with one seam bowler was the right choice. This innings the wicket seems to have got better. I don't think it spun as much as in the Australian first innings. If it continues playing like this and our players play straight and positively we could be in for an interesting day tomorrow. It played well for a fourth-day wicket.
On his team's chances
I said before this Test match that we will have to play to the best of our ability. We saw today why Australia are the best team in the world at the moment, why they are ranked No. 1, and to compete against guys like that you've got to be on top of your game. We can't think that we can walk on the park and it's going to happen. We have to make things happen. We'll have to play as well as we can.
On the timing of Ricky Ponting's declaration
We thought they may declare just a touch earlier and have a few more overs at us, but the light was closing in. I think they took that into consideration as well.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper