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Andrew Fidel Fernando in Colombo
March 17, 2013
Sri Lanka will aim to make at least 70 more runs in their first innings, after finishing day two 54 runs ahead of Bangladesh, with four wickets in hand, Dinesh Chandimal stated. Chandimal's 102 came in a 195-run partnership that lifted Sri Lanka out of a precarious 69 for 4, and took them beyond Bangladesh's 240 in the first innings.
Sangakkara remained unbeaten at stumps, having hit his third consecutive Test hundred, and fifth straight ton against Bangladesh at home. He has Nuwan Kulasekara for company, with Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath to come, all of whom are capable of providing batting support.
"I think a lead of 120 to 150 would be great," Chandimal said. "When I was batting, I saw some patches on the wicket that might wear down as the match goes on. If we get a lead that big, they will be at a psychological disadvantage. On this track, and given [that] the outfield is slow, a lead of 120 is worth about 180 runs. I think given Kumar is [still] at the crease, we should be able to get there.
"After I got my hundred I wanted to stay and make sure we got that lead, but I got one that kept low and deflected off my bat onto the stumps, so that was a little unlucky."
Chandimal's hundred was also his second in consecutive innings. He has also crossed fifty in his last three knocks, stretching back to the second innings in the New Year Test in Sydney. Chandimal said he was under pressure when he arrived at the crease, but was able to fight through the tough period, thanks to the advice of his senior partner.
"They bowled superbly at the start of my innings. Sohag Gazi and Robiul Islam were bowling well. But after a while, we put pressure back on them. Sanga (Sangakkara) was batting so well and giving some good advice about what variations the bowlers have and all that, so we were able to put a good partnership on the scorecard."
Chandimal was made Test and ODI vice-captain before the series, and said that while he enjoyed the new responsibility and recent success, he hoped to achieve more in the game. Aside from Sangakkara's on-field support, Chandimal also drew inspiration from his work ethic and longevity.
"Kumar is a star. I learn a lot from him outside the matches as well. How he bats, how he trains. He works hard and does lot of tough things right. That's the reason why he gets rich dividends when he bats. More than his records I would like to play for a long time for the national team. That's important for me. As vice-captain I would like to see [the] team winning more games. If I am able to do that, I would be really happy."
Chandimal's wicket-keeping has been tidy in his five matches in the role, and he now looks set to become a long-term fixture in that capacity. He said he was wary of the effect keeping wickets might have on his batting, but was confident of fulfilling both roles successfully.
"If we bat first, and I am the wicket keeper, it doesn't really affect my performance. But if we field first, and I bat at the top order, after tiring myself out behind the stumps, it can become an issue. But batting at [the] middle order, I don't think it should be a problem, especially now because I'm only 23."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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