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Andrew Fidel Fernando at the SSC
July 27, 2014
Sri Lanka have not lost a Test series at home to South Africa since 1993. If they are to protect that record, the final day of the tour has to be about all-out attack, says Kumar Sangakkara.
"Our objective is to win at all costs," Sangakkara said. "Our chances are pretty good. It would have been good if all the overs had been bowled today. I thought with the way that the wicket is, Rangana Herath is going to bowl well to the lefties. If we can keep the pressure with Dilruwan bowling from the other end, that would be good. In the second innings we need Ajantha Mendis to contribute as well. If we can get about three wickets in the first session, that will set us up nicely."
What will encourage Sri Lanka is an SSC surface that has deteriorated more than most seen at the venue in recent years. There has been extravagant turn off the footmarks since day three, and the likes of Perera also had balls fizzing off the straight, late on Saturday.
"It's a slightly different wicket here," Sangakkara said. "Bit quicker than it used to be, probably because they relaid the wicket. There seems to be a lot more rough than I remember at SSC. Good hard rough as well. It'd be interesting to see whether we can exploit that to our advantage."
The weather forecast, though, will not encourage the hosts. More rain is expected on day five, after the weather had cut more than 30 overs from day four's schedule. However, Sri Lanka will take heart from South Africa's conservative approach, Sangakkara said.
"Even in the first innings I thought they played for time, rather than scoring runs. That allowed us to put pressure on them. We had a few opportunities that didn't go our way. But the moment they went negative yesterday and today as well, it was going to be a case of us having enough fielders near the bat, and hopefully one or two will start jumping off the glove, or maybe bat-pad. That will give us an opportunity to close in."
Sangakkara also had words of praise for debutant wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who scored 72 in the first innings, and had a catch and a stumping to his name by the end of the first innings.
"Dickwella looks very organised, and a good prospect in all formats of the game. I have played with him for NCC (Nondescripts Cricket Club) quite a lot and he has got a lot of runs in all formats. It's just a case of him staying true to what got him here, which is the ability to score runs. He showed a lot of promise. He is a soft spoken guy but he has got a lot of character and toughness in him and I am sure that will come through as he progresses."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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