The top two wicket-takers in recent domestic matches, Malinda Pushpakumara and Lakshan Sandakan led Sri Lanka’s fight back on day one of the third and final Test match against India in Pallekelle.

“The bowlers came and bowled well. Especially the spinners. We kept them to 320 for the first day. I’m really happy with the spinners. At the end, the way Vishwa bowled in the last two spells was also good.” Sri Lanka Fast Bowling coach Chaminda Vaas said after first day’s play.

Pushpakumara, Sandakan lead fightback after Dhawan ton

Sri Lanka spinners fought their way back into the third and final Test match after Shikhar Dhawan slammed his 6th century on day one in Pallekelle. Left-arm spin twins, Malinda …

In the recent years, Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) introduced a new rule – Fast bowlers must bowl the first 10 overs in each age category game from U15 to U19 and more recently, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) implemented the same rule to the U23 level but in domestic cricket, teams tend not to use seamers at all. This is clear to see when we consider that 14 of the 15-top wicket takers at the 2016/17 SLC domestic tournament were spinners.

“We can’t be satisfied with the way first class cricket is. We need to make first-class cricket work for fast bowlers. We talk a lot about what ails first class cricket, but no matter how much we talk, the issue hasn’t moved forward. If we want to develop our cricket and increase the number of fast bowlers, we have – if we want to do justice to our cricket –  we need to make pitches that are suited to fast bowlers. If we do that I trust that our bowlers would be better off than they are now.” Vaas went on to say.

There was plenty of grass left on the playing surface prior to the match until the curators trimmed the grass before the start of play. Even though the Pallekelle pitch is renowned to be one of the most seamer-friendly surfaces in Sri Lanka, it took turn from the second session itself. “The track is really good for batting. We saw in the first few hours how the ball is behaving, and how the batters were scoring runs. This is a typical Kandy wicket.” Vaas said.

In recent times, fast bowlers have broken down between matches, hampering Sri Lanka’s game plans. Is it because of fitness or commitment? This was a question raised by those present at the press briefing at the close of play today (12th) to the best fast bowler Sri Lanka has ever produced – Chaminda Vaas who took over 750 international wickets in a career spanning over 15 years.

Responding to this Vaas said, “Well, it’s a different body type. Being a fast bowler – the way I cope up and the way I bowl in nets and matches is different to some of the youngsters right now. We need to find out their body type and treat them in a different way, and take them into the future”

Due to the injuries to more experienced seamers, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal during the current series, the hosts had to play two fairly inexperienced youngsters in Lahiru Kumara (8th Test) and Vishwa Fernando (2nd Test) against the mighty Indians in this dead rubber.

Both Kumara and Fernando bowled waywardly in the first hour allowing Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul to set a solid platform for the visitors but they bowled particularly well towards the end of play. They conceded 135 runs in 34 overs with only Fernando tasting success on day one. “They need to play more, I think. If you take our first-class cricket, they don’t have enough first-class experience to play well. If you take quicks from any country, they start bowling well after they have played 20-25 Tests only. We can’t suddenly expect a lot from Vishwa and Lahiru Kumara. But it’s with their mindset that they can improve. They need to practice a lot and play a lot of games. With that match-experience only they will develop.” Vaas mentioned.

329/6 represents a good comeback for Sri Lanka – 3rd Test – Day 1

Renowned commentator Roshan Abeysinghe analyzing the first day’s play …