Dilshan was dismissed for 54 charging Pragyan Ojha and being smartly caught at short cover, and looked on as Tharanga Paranavitana and Kumar Sangakkara made centuries out of a day-one total of 312 for two.
“The wicket is great and I regret getting out,” Dilshan said in the evening. “When I was in the dressing room, I realised that I could have made a big one too. The wicket is a batsman’s delight and after the first three or four overs, it’s very easy to bat on. I was extremely disappointed to get out when I did.”
His opening partner Paranavitana, by contrast, kicked on to make a second straight ton. “He’s a good opener,” Dilshan noted. “He’s done well in domestic cricket. He struggled to get his first hundred, but once he got there, he’s got one more immediately. He gives me the strike so that I can attack the loose balls. In a partnership, that’s vital. We have a good understanding and that’s working.”
Dilshan added that he expected Sri Lanka to kick on. “Traditionally at SSC, the second day is very good for batting. If we score over 550, by the third and fourth days our spinners will make a mark,” he said.“Dammika and Dilhara have extra pace, bowling at over 140 kmph. Not having Lasith is a blow, but there are opportunities for the guys who have come into the team.”
Eyeing his own opportunity was Suresh Raina, drafted in at the last minute after Yuvraj Singh sat the game out with high fever. Raina thus became the player to have played the most one-day internationals (98) before his Test debut, putting Andrew Symonds’ figure of 94 to shade.
“It’s a good chance for me,” Raina told newsmen.
“I have improved as a batsman. I have worked on my technique and my mental strength, I am looking good at the moment. I just want to perform well for the team.
I have not played just 98 ODIs. I have scored runs in first-class cricket too. Now is an important battle for me. If I get my chance tomorrow or the day after, I will do my very best.”
The left-handed bat said India had bowled well without too much luck on Monday.
“We bowled really well, especially after lunch and tea. We didn’t give them much room, at the same time we need to take wickets, so it is important to do well in the morning session.”
Raina received his Test cap from former skipper Rahul Dravid. “He is my idol, I have been trying to follow his example for the last ten years,” he said.