Sri Lankan head coach Mickey Arthur said on Saturday that they are not losing hope of winning the first Test against Bangladesh despite the draw seemed to be all but inevitable in Kandy.
The Pallekele Test was headed for a stalemate with only three sessions of play left after bad light forced an early stumps after only 15 overs were possible in the final session on day four.Sri Lanka rode on a mammoth 322-run unbeaten partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva and made 512-3, trailing Bangladesh only by 29 runs in the first innings after the hosts declared on 541-7.
“We’re certainly thinking about winning. That’s how we want to play our cricket. That’s such an important culture to inculcate in a dressing room,” Arthur told reporters after the end of the fourth day’s play.
“We’re not here to make up the numbers. I said to the guys in the West Indies that first of all, we want to be a team that’s hard to beat before we become a winning team because that’s kind of the cycle. I think we are a team that’s hard to beat.
“We played some hard-nosed cricket in the West Indies on some very flat surfaces. We’ll show some intent tomorrow and who knows where the day goes? It is very flat but the pressure’s a funny thing. If we get ourselves enough in front and leave ourselves enough overs, who knows what can happen?” he said.
Arthur said that he is impressed with the duo who both scored hundreds and they showed tremendous grit and application to keep their team on track.
“The initial goal this morning was to have parity by the end of play today. We’re in a really good position. We scored at a good rate. I thought the partnership was good this morning - they absorbed the new ball spells well and then scored quite freely,” he said.Arthur added that they will be looking for something else in the second Test that is scheduled in the same venue as the wicket had nothing to offer during the first one.
“It’s very flat. Maybe it was a little bit naive of me in terms of strategy - this is my first Test in Pallekele - in understanding the surface. We wanted to beat Bangladesh with a bit of pace and bounce but it’s just been extremely flat.
“We’re going to have to reassess that. We’re going to have to look at how we go for the second Test. We’ll have a discussion about that Test tomorrow, we’ll let this Test happen first,” he concluded.