It was Galle deja vu for the Indian bowlers at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground here on Sunday. Just like in that opening Test where they allowed the Sri Lankans to rise from under the mat and eventually trample them, the Indians undid all the good work when they let the hosts score 201 all out after having them reeling at 48/6.
While wicketkeeper Dinesh Chadimal was the architect of that revival, debutant Kushal Perera, incidentally donning the gloves here, was the reason behind hosts’ resurrection, his 56-ball 55 leaving Indians scratching their heads in dismay.
Pacer Ishant Sharma, who bagged his seventh five-wicket haul, said there is nothing much one can do when a batsman decides to chance his luck and go for the jugular. “To be honest, if I talk about Kusal Perera, he had nothing to lose. He was just going after the bowling. If you see, he was hitting the ball even when we were hitting good length. You can’t really do anything about that. What we can do is just keep on going.
“On a wicket like this, you just need to keep on hitting that length and keep on believing that you will get an edge. But unfortunately, the way he got out, you can see that he was still slogging the ball. And tail-enders, the same thing, nothing to lose, they were just going after the bowling.
“All these situations, what you need to do is set a field, set a plan and bowl according to that plan so that captain doesn’t look like a fool in the ground. So even if you set a plan, if you are bowling bouncers, keep on bowling bouncers. If you are tired, just tell the captain that you are tired, you can’t bowl anymore. You need to keep things very simple so it will be easy for the captain as well,” he stressed.
Ishant said he is relishing bowling with young pacers Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “I am enjoying bowling not only with Umesh but with Varun and Bhuvi as well. The thing is like as you can see, they didn’t play many Test matches. Still they are learning. What they need to do is to figure out how they can be consistent to take wickets in international cricket.
“In international cricket, it all depends on how consistent you are in your line and length. That’s what they need to understand and how they are going do all these things, how disciplined they are in their bowling, that’s what matters in international cricket,” he concluded.