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February 23, 2009
Sri Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss is confident of Sri Lanka pulling off a victory against Pakistan in the first Test, though Pakistan's captain Younis Khan, unbeaten on 149, says his plan of forcing a draw is working so far. Despite Younis Khan's century on the third day, the visitors are ahead by 348 runs with Pakistan having lost three wickets.
"I think only one team can win the game and that's us. Obviously, we have to play good cricket and take some wickets tomorrow morning. The longer they bat tomorrow, the more likely a draw becomes," Bayliss said.
He was also pleased with Ajantha Mendis' return of form after an ordinary one-day home series against India. "I thought he bowled very well," he said. "The Indians batted well against him and I think he has learnt from that. His line and length is much better than in the last one month or two. He certainly looks like more Ajantha Mendis we saw seven eight months ago."
Bayliss praised Younis, whose timely innings propped up the hosts and led them towards a position of relative safety. "He is a very good player and he showed that in this Test match," he said. "I thought the fact that he came out last night without a nightwatchman was very good. That was a great sign that he is going to lead from the front and he certainly batted like today."
The idea of dispensing with a nightwatchman, Younis explained, was to motivate himself and his team. "You get more motivated if you come out and bat because it's a sign of bravery; I could have got out but it inspires your teammates."
It seemed to have paid off, at least today, and Younis appeared satisfied with the day's proceedings. "It was actually good because if you see [today] we batted in partnerships and gave away only two wickets in the entire day."
His plan for the fourth day, he said, would be to move as close as possible to the Sri Lanka total with himself scoring at least 60 to 70 more runs. He has inspiration for scoring even more than that. "Before going to sleep yesterday I thought if Mahela had scored 240 I will score 245."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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