SL vs IND | Knew it was a slow pitch and we wanted to restrict India to 125-130, states Dhananjaya de Silva

Sri Lanka’s protagonist in the second T20I win over India, Dhananjaya de Silva stated that a slow pitch was dished out for the game, and the hosts were trying to restrict India to 125-130, which they did. He also added he’s there in the team to play the anchor role, which he did well in the win.

Given the second T20I between India and Sri Lanka was staged on a used pitch, the surface was expected to be slower. And that turned out to be the case as well, with the spinners spitting fire on the 22 yards. There was also plenty of turn on offer. With the help of the deck and a lacklustre intent from the Indian batsmen, the Lankan spinners restricted them to a paltry total of 132. Notably, India had started well and added 49 for the first wicket in seven overs.

Talking about the pitch, Dhananjaya de Silva, in the post-match presser, stated that it was a slow deck, and the Lankans wanted to restrict India to 125-130 and it worked that way.

“We knew it was a slow pitch, so our target while bowling was to restrict them to 125 or 130. Our bowlers did well and we were able to manage that. When it came to our innings, we knew that it would be tough to bat as well, but if we dragged the game out to the 20th over, the equation becomes simple and we know what we have to do. I think even a T20 match, that’s the way to do it,” de Silva said in the presser.

Dhananjaya de Silva also ended his dry spell with the bat and scored an unbeaten 40 off 34 that helped the hosts draw level in the series. Reflecting on his role, he stated that his job is to play out the 20 overs, and that’s something he did well in the second T20I win.

“This is what I’m meant to do for the team. In the previous match as well, what I’d been told was to bat 20 overs from one side. I wasn’t able to do that in the previous game. Today was my day and I did that. If I can bat at a run-a-ball until the final overs, letting others attack around me, I can raise my strike rate towards the finish as well. That was the coach, captain and selectors’ plan.”

In the last three overs, Sri Lanka needed merely 28, but with their history of choking in the series, the win was never going to come easy. However, in the penultimate over of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chamika Karunaratne hit a decisive six that turned the game in Sri Lanka’s favour, and from there on, there was no looking back for them. de Silva added that he always had the belief in his lower-order partners to do well with the bat.

“We know that in the last four or five batters we have a few that can hit a six. Chamika, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana and even Dushmantha Chameera can hit a big shot. What I’d wanted to do was to take the game deep, thinking that Wanindu or Chamika would be there with me to finish it off. Thankfully, Chamika was there at the end.”

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