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For a good majority of his six-year international career Nuwan Kulasekara has been identified as a match-winning one-day bowler. He has lived up to that reputation by being ranked no. 1 currently in the one-day bowling.
In the absence of Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, Kulasekara found himself elevated to be the position of key fast bowler for Sri Lanka in the first Test against Pakistan and he did not disappoint those who had kept faith in his ability.
Maintaining a superb line and length Kulasekara ensured Pakistan did not get away to a big lead by returning Test career-best figures of 4 for 71 off 24 overs.
"I bowled a good line and length and I got some help off the wicket with the new ball," Kulasekara said attributing his success to adding an outswinger to his repertoire. "If you can hit the seam you can get movement. I am a natural inswing bowler but in the past two weeks I've learnt to bowl the away swinger. I also practised to straighten the ball and it proved beneficial today. I worked on my bowling with the coaching staff and fast bowling coaches Anusha Samaranayake and Prabath Nissanka. I think I have also increased my pace slightly."
While admitting the four wickets he took gave him immense satisfaction Kulasekara singled out the deliveries he bowled to dismiss Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik as the ones he enjoyed most. The ball kept its line and clipped the batsmen's off bail on both occasions.
"Getting wickets in a Test is not as easy as getting wickets in ODIs. You have to work hard for your wickets and learn new things."
On the current status of the Test, Kulasekara said that Sri Lanka will have to bat well and if they can get a lead of 300 runs they stood a good chance in the match.