Bayliss thrilled by Malinga show
Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka's coach, has said the return of fast bowler Lasith Malinga to Test cricket after 30 months has been a big bonus to the team. Malinga broke the back of the Indian batting in the second innings with three wickets for 33 off nine overs to bring his team closer to victory in the first Test. His victims included the wickets of three of the top five Indian batsmen - Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
"Malinga is our No. 1 fast bowler," Bayliss said. "Being injured and not fit for Test cricket we had to try and play other bowlers who had done quite well in the last 18 months. It's good to have him back fit and hungry for more cricket."
Malinga has not only contributed with the ball on his return to Test cricket, but he also made a career-best 64 in the Sri Lanka first innings. "They all work very hard at their batting and Malinga was telling me he should have been batting higher. He had a point to prove."
Comparing this match to the Test series played in India seven months ago where Sri Lanka were beaten 2-0, Bayliss said, "We weren't too dejected how it went over there because we knew we were fielding a younger team and giving them some experience. Then at home here in conditions which we are used to and obviously a bit different for the Indian players and having Lasith back is a big bonus for us as well."
Although the game weighed heavily in favour of Sri Lanka after four days, Bayliss was wary of India's batting prowess. "Nothing is easy against the Indian team. We had a good day and we are very happy with the position we are in but we realise there is still some hard work to be done," he said. "The wicket is still playing reasonably well and obviously we have to take the weather side of it as well. We have been lucky in the last two days hopefully tomorrow is the same."
Bayliss was confident that Muttiah Muralitharan would get his two wickets on Thursday to get to a record 800 Test wickets. "We all love Murali to get those two wickets, but Murali would tell you as long as you get those remaining five wickets that's what his main aim is. The rest of us would love him to get at least two of those five wickets. It's going to be tough work because we got two very good batters at the wicket tomorrow morning.
"This is the first time I've seen him with a bit of emotion after taking five wickets with his arms in the air. I am sure he is very happy the way he's gone so far in the match. We all hope that he can finish it off tomorrow just as well. He's practiced as he had in his last 132 Test matches. Coming into his farewell Test he wanted to do well and the results has shown."