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Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Galle
August 21, 2009
Tillakaratne Dilshan has said that he will review his experimental role as an opener and decide which batting position is better suited to him. Though he is accustomed to opening in the one-dayers, Sri Lanka had decided to promote him to the top of the order for the first time in the ongoing Galle Test, where he responded with typically aggressive knocks of 92 an unbeaten 123.
His first-innings assault came off just 72 balls, with 12 fours and a six. In the second, his brisk century - which came off 131 balls - was invaluable for scoring quick runs to enforce the declaration. New Zealand were set an improbable 413 to win after tea on the fourth day.
"This is just my first Test in this new role and I want to play a couple of Tests and decide which position is most comfortable for me," Dilshan said. "I have been batting at No. 6 for about 6-7 years in my career. As opener it's not easy in a Test.
"The decision to send me up the order was taken by the coach, the captain and the selectors who asked me to open to balance the side. I sacrificed my No. 6 position to open but still I have been given the option to go back to my former position if I want to."
Sri Lanka had omitted Malinda Warnapura for Muttiah Muralitharan, who didn't play in the Test series against Pakistan, and promoted Dilshan. He looked set for a hundred in the first innings but fell to a poor shot, chopping Iain O'Brien onto his stumps.
"I am very happy to get a hundred in the second innings having missed out on one in the first," Dilshan said. "The wicket is a bit slow but once you get a start it is a little bit easier to bat on."
Sri Lanka need a further nine wickets on the final day and Dilshan was confident of wrapping up the Test despite the poor weather.
"The pitch is already starting to turn. When [Daniel] Vettori bowled it turned and bounced and it was the same for Jeetan Patel. But they attacked a little bit on the leg side. If you bowl in the right areas, Murali can do the damage tomorrow morning. It's not easy to survive 98 overs tomorrow.
"We have a whole day tomorrow. We can't control the rain but we have to go hard in the first session and take 3-4 wickets before we grab the tailenders."
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