We had a plan for Gayle - Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, has said the plan was to bowl around the wicket to Chris Gayle and use the bouncer as a surprise delivery rather than allowing him to expect it. The ploy worked when the West Indies triple-century maker from the first test was dismissed for 30 on the third day of the second test on Thursday.
"That short ball was an excellent delivery; great line and length. That whole over the one before as soon as [Suranga] Lakmal went around the wicket he troubled Gayle from ball one. Taking out Gayle was a huge blow to the West Indies and it really put us on top."
After getting the big wicket of Gayle, Sri Lanka were stymied by Darren Bravo and Brendan Nash, who put together a partnership of 83 before part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan swung the scales in Sri Lanka's favour again by snapping them both up within three balls shortly before bad light ended play.
"That was a fantastic effort," Sangakkara said. "Dilshan's got that magic touch when he comes on he manages to do something. Two wickets at a very crucial time - one guy was on 80. Now we got the opportunity to come back tomorrow and really put the pressure on."
Sangakkara, who was out for 150, said the pitch was not an easy one to bat on, so it was very satisfying to adapt to it and score runs. "We expected the wicket to do a bit. The only problem with it was it didn't do a huge amount. It did enough but it was also very slow. The value for shots you get was not there in the first one-and-a-half to two sessions.
"It was really a struggle for the batsmen because the loose balls also it was hard to put them away. At the end of the day that's what makes Test cricket so interesting. It never comes easy for you. You get wickets that are really flat and also wickets like this that makes you work hard."
He said it was careless of him to get out when he did, and his dismissal together with that of Prasanna [Jayawardene] cost Sri Lanka the chance to get to 400. "That kind of put us on the back foot," Sangakkara said. "It's nice to get a big hundred but it would have been nice to have gone on and set us up for a bigger total. All in all there is quite a lot of time left in this match, and hopefully if we bowl well in the first session we can set it up."
Getting a result in this Test will, of course, depend on the weather, which has affected the Test over the first three days. "We'll have to see how the conditions are tomorrow. If the weather is really good we might think of batting again. It all depends on the time factor. It's nice to get them in twice, but we also need to make sure that we don't have to score many if we are batting fourth on this track."