Nick Pothas, the Sri Lanka coach, was all praise for Dinesh Chandimal, saying the dashing batsman showed leadership qualities during his memorable, unbeaten knock of 155 in the first Test on Friday (September 29).
Chandimal’s nine hours and six minutes long heroics lifted his team from a precarious 61 for 3 to 419 on day two. Pakistan finished the day at 64 for no loss, needing another 355 to match their opponent’s total.
Pothas said Chandimal, the Sri Lankan captain, is a real leader.
“Chandi (Chandimal) is a leader,” said Pothas after day’s play. “He expects high standards from the team whether it is preparation or fielding or fitness. He sets some great example. I am very happy for him.
“We have worked a few things on his batting and he is very happy that those things have come good. That was a great Test match innings. Chandi is a free-scoring batsman but he curbed his instincts.”
Pothas said Chandimal has been in good nick in Tests and outlined some of his crucial knocks.
“If you look at the last two knocks, against Australia in 2016 and against Bangladesh in 2017, those were quite similar knocks,” he explained. “He is a free-flowing batsman. The mark of a great batsman is to adapt, and he has certainly done that.”
The Sri Lankan coach hoped his bowlers will put Pakistan under pressure.
“Pakistan had a good start so the immediate thing in the morning is to hit back,” said Pothas. “At the moment I can’t tell you. We will review and make sure we come back stronger.”
The coach was overall pleased with the batting, with contributions from Dimuth Karunaratne (93), Niroshan Dickwella (83) and Dilruwan Perera (33) playing a big part in Sri Lanka posting in excess of 400.
“It’s very pleasing to bat more than 150 overs and that length of time as a team,” he said. “It’s no secret that the wicket and outfield are slow, (so) you can add another 50 or 60 runs to the total. I’m very pleased with the application shown by the boys. This is Test cricket and things don’t happen at pace. Credit to Pakistani bowlers – they have been out there for a long time and they bowled well and fielded well.
Pothas also has encouraging words for Dickwella’s positive approach after the batsman’s 117-ball 83.
“Dick is a kind of guy who takes things away from the teams,” he said. “He came in and took the momentum away from Pakistan. He is an attacking batter. To adapt to the conditions quickly shows that he is maturing and that he is learning.”