Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC August 2, 2017

Our batsmen need to identify what risks to take - Chandimal

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'We have taken positives out of our losses too' - Chandimal

Having been appointed to the captaincy in a time of cricketing crisis, Dinesh Chandimal finds himself scrambling to prevent another one. He only walked out of hospital a few days ago, after having had pneumonia, but thanks in part to an ICC-approved inhaler, he has come back to take control of his side.

Just don't tell him that Sri Lanka are outgunned and that a 0-3 result is possible. When this suggestion was made to him on the eve of the game, Chandimal's response was emphatic - or at least it was as emphatic as Chandimal gets.

"Who is saying it will be 0-3?" he asked. "You can't say that. India are a very talented team, but we aren't going to lose 0-3." What had been a good-natured exchange with the media gained a hint of an edge with that question. "We are looking to level the series and then go to the third match. We have the determination to do that."

But it might take a little more than determination. For one, Sri Lanka's batsmen will need to resist India's spinners on a surface that is likely to offer more turn than the Galle track provided. Even on an excellent batting surface in the first Test, Sri Lanka could not make 300 once, and failed to make it to the second new ball in either innings.

"We just want to improve as a batting unit," Chandimal said. "Everyone has scored 50-60 runs, but they couldn't make the big ones. That's what we've been discussing in the meetings and practices. Hopefully in this match we can do a better job."

If the track is sufficiently bowler-friendly, Sri Lanka may also employ the "hit out before you get out" strategy that has often been employed on lively surfaces in Sri Lanka. The thinking on such tracks - which have recently proliferated on the island - is that an unplayable ball will inevitably come to get you, so make your runs before then. It was a strategy most notably used to good effect in the Galle Test against India in 2015, when Chandimal's rapid 162 helped overturn a 192-run deficit . Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis had also prospered by batting aggressively on turning tracks against Australia last year.

"We've been preparing for turning pitches, and playing reverse sweeps and sweeps in training," Chandimal said. "We always do the tough things in practice. When we go to the middle it might be helpful as a batsman.

"When we play against a team as good as India, we will have to take a risk in some places. We need to think as batsmen about where we take those risks. If we can identify that, we'll be able to score a lot of runs against a team like that."

Because a pitch that takes turn is expected, Sri Lanka also appear keen to field two left-arm spinners, including would-be debutant Malinda Pushpakumara. A prolific wicket-taker in domestic cricket, with 558 first-class dismissals to his name, Sri Lanka hope Pushpakumara will eventually become a replacement for Rangana Herath. For now, Sri Lanka are hoping to give him an apprenticeship under the most successful left-arm spinner in the game.

"It's a really good opportunity if Malinda plays, to benefit from Rangana's experience in the middle and the dressing room," Chandimal said. "That's what we want to do. I hope both are going to do really good things."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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