We should score over 550 to exert pressure - Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan celebrates a quickfire half-century Associated Press

Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan feels that Sri Lanka will be able to exert pressure on India if they score over 550 in the first innings on the placid SSC wicket. The hosts ended the opening day on a strong 312 for 2, with Tharanga Paranavitana and Kumar Sangakkara tormenting India with centuries yet again.

"The second day is the best day to bat on the SSC pitch and we have our two most experienced batsmen at the crease - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene," Dilshan said. "If we score over 550 on this wicket we can put pressure on India and get a decision in our favour.

"It is a superb wicket to bat on and I am disappointed I got out for 54. Tharanga and Sanga (Sangakkara) batted without taking any risks. We didn't experience any problem batting on this wicket. After the first 3-4 overs the wicket favoured the batsmen. It is not an easy wicket for the fast bowlers."

Dilshan and Paranavitana shared an attacking opening stand of 99 in 18.1 overs after winning the toss to set Sri Lanka to a big score. Dilshan, who was out trying to force the pace off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha by giving a catch to short extra cover, said he had no plan to change his approach to batting.

"I don't plan to change the way I am playing now. I have scored 11 Test centuries batting in this manner. This is my seventh Test as an opener and I am averaging 63 (sic. 67). This is the way I bat but sometimes I think if I can slow myself down a little bit it would be better," he said.

Commenting on the match, Dilshan was confident that by the third and fourth days the two spinners, Ajantha Menis and Suraj Randiv, will come in to play.

"We have confidence in the two quicks Dammika Prasad and Dilhara Fernando. They can bowl more than 140-plus (kph) and they can get some bounce and pace off this wicket. By the third and fourth days I am sure the spinners should do the job for us. We have confidence in these four bowlers," Dilshan said.

"It's a big loss without Lasith [Malinga] who took seven wickets in the last Test, but Dilhara and Prasad have got an opportunity to cement their places in the team. I hope they make use of that advantage."