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December 4, 2009
Trevor Bayliss, the Sri Lanka coach, has said that setting India a target of "150 on a wearing wicket" was probably the best his team could hope for at this stage, after the hosts took a 333-run first innings lead on the third day in Mumbai.
"From a win point of view, it just doesn't look right at the moment but, on day one when there was a bit in the track, we made 366 for 8 having lost a few wickets in the middle," Bayliss said. "If our top-order batters can get us off to a good start and bat for a long time there is no reason why we can't score 400 in a day tomorrow. It needs some very hard work and the players I am sure are capable of doing it. Who knows what the wicket will be like on day five?"
Sri Lanka had to bat out three overs after India's declaration on 726 for 9 and they reached 11 for no loss at stumps. Bayliss said the team was looking to their "three big players" and hoped for solid contributions from Nos. 3, 4, and 5 - the out-of-form Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera.
Bayliss, however, said that he was happy the way Sri Lanka fought back today to capture eight Indian wickets, in a manner similar to the second Test in Kanpur. "I was very happy with the boys - the same as the second Test when we faced 417 for 2 and we came back the next day, taking 225 for 8. It would have been quite easy to have gone for a lot more runs than we did, but we stuck to it and showed a bit of fight and character. We were just up against unbelievable batting from [Virender] Sehwag."
"The guys tried most things, different fields, bowling different sides of the wicket but [no matter] where they put the ball he [Sehwag] was skillful enough to put it away into the gaps. It was one of those days you needed 20 fielders out there."
Muttiah Muralitharan, who had gone wicketless and taking a hiding on the second day, made a comeback of sorts on day three. He dismissed Sehwag early and went on to take three more wickets, finishing with 195 for 4. "Murali is very philosophical about things. During his career this is not the first time it's happened to him," Bayliss said. "For a guy who has taken so many wickets it has not happened to him very often. He realises that's what happens in Test cricket on good wickets against very good players. Today Murali got four wickets and showed that he is still able to take wickets at this level."
After a day on which an edge from Rahul Dravid and a close lbw shout against Sachin Tendulkar were both given not out, Bayliss said he did not know why the umpire review system was not being used in this series. Tillakaratne Dilshan, too, was erroneously given out bat-pad in the first innings soon after reaching his century.
"The question that's got to be asked is, why the referral system is being used in every other series barring this one, when the ICC said that it should be used after October 1," Bayliss said. "No one's explained to us yet why it's not being used when it's being used everywhere else in the world. If Dilshan was able to go and make a big score in the first innings, things might have been a bit different."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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