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Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Kandy
December 1, 2007
Kumar Sangakkara, who top-scored for Sri Lanka with a fluent 92, said his team had not lost heart after being bowled out for 188 by England on the first day of the first Test in Kandy. Matthew Hoggard's opening spell left Sri Lanka struggling at 42 for 5, before Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene combined to produce the best partnership of the innings - 106 off 131 balls - to rescue the side.
"We know it's up to us to show the character to go out there and drag the match back," Sangakkara said. "The pitch is still very good. We saw some of the balls keeping very low at the end of the day. That's a good sign for us if we are going to exploit it.
"It will probably turn more as the game goes on, like a typical Sri Lankan wicket. Our bowlers need to bowl fast and straight on this track. Some might keep low and some might sit up on the track and get the guys driving."
Describing the day's play from Sri Lanka's point of view, Sangakkara said: "It was a pretty tough day out there for the batters. The wicket was pretty good to start off with, with no demons on the track. Hoggard put the ball in the right place and got it to move just enough to take the edges. We probably could have fine-tuned our individual game plans a bit. But that's the way it goes. As long as we show some character tomorrow to make sure we bowl them out for as few as possible, you can set this up to be a good Test match."
Jayawardene, who has a century against Bangladesh under his belt, went on to complete his second half-century in Tests. The pair were finally dislodged with the score at 148 but Sri Lanka couldn't press on to take the score past 200.
"Once we got a foundation set we were looking at anything over 200," Sangakkara said. "Being a five day match you've got to take some time over it. It was going to be a bit of both. Unfortunately we couldn't kick on and be where we wanted to be."
He had words of praise for Chaminda Vaas who was making his 100th Test appearance for his country. "Vaasy has been a fantastic performer. He is the most skilful swing bowler around. It's also amazing that he's played 100 Tests and a large part of his career has been here on tracks that really don't help fast bowlers. He is a cunning little bowler and knows how to exploit these tracks and keep the batsmen quiet.
"He's been great for [Muttiah] Muralitharan as well for on these tracks, he is the ideal foil for him. He doesn't let the batsmen get away by letting them score quickly. That is something we are going to look at tomorrow."
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