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Andrew Fidel Fernando in Galle
March 10, 2013
Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford believes his side is still capable of securing victory in Galle, despite a day of toil for his bowlers on a placid track. Bangladesh made 303 runs on the third day, for the fall of two wickets, with Mohammad Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim remaining unbeaten at stumps with 189 and 152 respectively. The visitors trail by 132.
"We're certainly not in the position tonight, where we thought we had to be in," Ford said. "When we came to the ground this morning, we were hoping for a better day. All credit to Bangladesh and those two batsmen (Ashraful and Mushfiqur). They batted superbly and played Bangladesh into [a] pretty strong position. It's up to us to break this partnership early in the morning, and if we can get a couple of wickets, the game can change quite quickly."
The Galle pitch has traditionally taken considerable turn from the third day on, but apart from the occasional delivery from Rangana Herath that spat off the surface, the spinners have largely found it as unhelpful as the fast bowlers did.
Though the spinners have not been as threatening as usual, Ford expected Herath to become more difficult to play on the final two days. Herath has prospered in Galle in recent years, picking up two ten wicket-hauls at the venue in three matches last year. He had taken 46 wickets at an average of 20.30 at the venue, before this Test.
"Herath could factor into the game more, and history here at Galle has shown that with a harder newer ball, he is a lot more effective, and [has] taken a lot of wickets in the last three Tests. Looking at the way they played Herath, he turned the ball today, but the turn was slow and it didn't help him.
"One or two balls went past the outside edge from the spinners, but we didn't really create a great deal of chances, partly because they batted well, and partly because the surface was very true."
Only eight wickets have fallen in the Test in 271 overs, with five batsmen making hundreds. Ford said this pitch was unlike any other he had seen at the venue. Galle Tests are generally not drawn - 16 of the 21 Tests played here ended in results.
"In the Test matches that I have been involved with as coach of Sri Lanka, there's always been something in it for the spinners. Even with the new ball, the seamers have got a little bit out of it. We expected some bounce in the wicket, which we didn't really get. The extra dead grass has held the surface together and kept the bounce pretty true.
"I came here once as the coach of the South Africa team, and it seemed very flat for the Sri Lankan batsmen, but not so flat for the South African batsmen. Muttiah Muralitharan played a big part in making it difficult for our batsmen on that occasion."
Ford also called for more application from his attack, which was wayward at times, especially towards the end of the day. "We have to take it one session at a time, and we can't get ahead of ourselves and start dreaming about fancy positions which we can get ourselves into. We got to bowl with a lot of discipline, frustrate and create pressure. If we get those processes in place, things will work out for us."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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