Planning did the trick, says Lakmal

Planning did the trick, says Lakmal

Sri Lankan paceman relishing conditions at Eden

Planning did the trick, says Lakmal

Suranga Lakmal has been playing Test cricket for seven years now but this is the first time he is playing against India in the longer format, and the paceman couldn't have asked for a better outing.

The right-arm quick, the leader of a largely inexperienced Lankan pace attack, scythed through the Indian top-order on a juicy Eden Garden's pitch on Thursday's opening day of the first Test to set the tone for visitors' domination.

While Lakmal went wicketless on a rain-curtailed second day, his figures of 6-6-0-3 left a deep impression on Lankan bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake who termed the spell as one of the best by a paceman from his country in a long time.          

"I am very satisfied with the way we have played so far," said Lakmal after the second day's play. "There is considerable help from the wicket but I have worked very hard over the last three months. And yesterday's efforts were a result of that hard work," he noted.

The first international cricketer to emerge from Hambantota, the southern tip of Lanka, Lakmal had to pull out of India series due to side strain when Virat Kohli's team visited the island nation this July-August. The lanky bowler was keen to do well against the top-ranked India and he had done a lot of homework on their batsmen.    

"Prior to this series at home, I watched a lot of videos and drew up plans for each Indian batsman," he pointed out. "I am the leader of the fast bowling group in the team and I need to lead by example. So, I feed a lot of information to the other four fast bowlers. If I don't lead by example, the other players lose confidence as well. So, I worked hard. A lot of planning went in for this series."

Lakmal, elated at scalping Kohli with a darting delivery, said the Indian skipper's scalp was a result of that planning. "I have dismissed so many big names in world cricket but not Kohli. I am very satisfied that the planning that I had put in worked out and got him out for a duck," he remarked.

Lakmal admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the nature of the surface that has made bowlers look better than they are and batsmen appear far more incapable than they actually are.

"This is the first time in Asia that I have encountered a wicket of this nature," he stressed. "Usually we play on slow turners. I am really excited about bowling here. Usually, we bowl on flat wickets which don't help seamers much. We need five more wickets and we need to dismiss them quickly to have any chance of winning this game. Hopefully, the weather stays clear as well."