Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd Test, SSC, 4th day July 27, 2014

'Objective is to win at all costs' - Sangakkara

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. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ram on July 28, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    India will be playing 5 against England but Sri Lanka only 2. Series win do not indicate anything. At least 3 tests should be played against good Teams. Points System only bring boredom and frustration.

  • bira on July 28, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    1-0 or 2-0 is not going to make a difference. A series loss is a series loss. So it is better to go for an all out attack and have men crowd the batsmen from ball one. I also feel that we should have declared at tea because we had a lead of 342 even then.

  • Steven on July 28, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka have no choice but to go for it there's no shame in losing in trying to level the series and to do you have to attack leave the field up and leave gaps to encourage the batsman to play shots encourage them to play risky shots against the turn and in doing so hopefully that will create chances for srilanka to take wickets that's all you can do can't do much if it rains that's out of everyone's control but do the things you can control well and see what happens

  • Mohamed Afulal on July 27, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    Rain and cricket has something in common. That aside we have a great struggle on hand. Srilanka want to take wickets while SA want to grind in and kill the overs. The target set for SA is very sporty and even better than Srilanka was offered.

    In hind sight SA like to preserve wickets and go for the kill after tea. It is time for Mendis to contribute with the bowl now that nine wickets needed on last day and sooner the better he and other two spinners find the grip and spots where there is rough.

    Let's us see what happens?

  • Priyantha on July 27, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    Today was a strange day at SSC. When the clouds passed over the ground it was dark. But within a short time when clouds crossed the ground the light became playable. It looks like that more rains are to be expected. But one can never rely on Colombo weather forecast. It could turn out to be a sunny but a cloudy day with full day of play possible. Even though there is more and more assistance to spinners, I guess SL will have to fight very hard for every wicket they will take. It will be very much appreciated if the ground staff show more urgency in removing the covers. This task appeared to be much less efficient compared to reverse task of laying the covers.

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