Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2012 June 10, 2012

Perera has potential to be Sri Lanka Test regular - Ford

Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said allrounder Thisara Perera could establish himself in the Test side, if he can replicate the bowling form he showed in Saturday's ODI against Pakistan with more consistency.

"With the talent he has got and the way he bowled [on Saturday], there's no doubt he can be a regular Test player," Ford said. "His work ethic is good and he knows the areas he has to improve on. I am sure, with the many years he has got ahead of him, he will become a very effective Test player.

"He is a still a young man and hits the ball extremely hard. He is working harder on his ball-striking ability. [Here] he showed the best control he has shown with the ball since I have been involved with the team. That's something the bowling coach has worked hard with him upon, and he has got better and better."

If it was Perera's 6 for 44 that won the match for Sri Lanka, it was Dilshan's unbeaten 119 off 139 balls that set up the total that allowed Perera to apply pressure on Pakistan. That, Ford said, was a well-paced innings. "What he [Dilshan] did was to work hard through the new ball [phase], and then he was able to capitalise in the later stages of the game.

"He worked extremely hard on that knock and that laid the foundation for us to get the total we eventually got. He had to work hard as the Pakistan attack one of the best in world cricket. This one is going to be rated as a special knock in his career."

Sri Lanka had lost the first ODI by six wickets, after scoring 135 for 8 in the rain-affected, shortened game. Following that performance, Ford said, Saturday's show was commendable.

"The cricket that we played was superb. We were obviously down and disappointed with what happened the other day. There was lot of chatting and thinking done during the last two days, and the hats off to the guys for the character they have shown."