Malinga savours joining 100-wicket club
Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga has said that he is honoured to join Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas as the only three Sri Lankan bowlers to take 100 Test wickets after he reached the milestone during the third day's play at the P Sara Oval.
His landmark wicket was that of the greatest run-getter in Test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, whom he had caught behind for 41. Malinga later went on to dismiss the Indian captain MS Dhoni to finish with figures of 3 for 119.
"I was keen to get wickets in Test matches but I was injured and couldn't play Test cricket for nearly three years," Malinga said. "I came into this series with 92 wickets from 28 Tests and I am extremely happy with my effort to capture my 100 wickets in my 30th Test."
After taking a five-wicket haul in the first Test in Galle, Malinga said he was actually rested for the second game at the SSC as a precautionary measure.
"Normally when a bowler comes back from an injury he plays a few three or four-day games before playing in a Test match. I played in ODIs and Twenty20s but I was confident I could go through a five-day Test match and that is why I played at Galle," Malinga said. "Because I was playing five-day cricket after a long time I found that I had strained my body and was not fit so I took rest in the second Test and came back to play in the third."
Malinga stated that he could be a more effective bowler if he got good support from the other end. "But unfortunately Chanaka Welegedara didn't have a good game in the Indian first innings, but that does not mean he is a bad bowler. He can always come back and get wickets in the second innings. He is a good bowler.
"I bowl as many wicket-taking balls. If I think I can get a wicket with a bouncer I will bowl it. I thought bowling bouncers at the Indian batsmen was the best thing to do so I used the short ball a little bit more than usual."
Malinga said that a target of 275 in the fourth innings could be a challenging one for India.
"We have batsmen who can play according to the situation and have made runs even on bad wickets. If we bat the whole day tomorrow we can set India a target and put them under pressure," Malinga said. "Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis are getting the ball to turn and they will be effective on a turning wicket and pose a real challenge to the Indian batsmen. I think it will turn out to be an interesting contest on the final day."