With just a few days to go for the start of the 3rd Test between Sri Lanka and England at Lord’s, Sri Lanka’s premier opening batsman, Dimuth Karunarathne has shown keenness to regain his lost form at the Home of Cricket.
After failing to go past single digits in the first three innings of the series, the 28-year old left-handed batsman made 26 in the second innings in Durham, which set the initial base for the Islanders score of 475.
Karunaratne is itching to make amends in the final Test at Lord’s which starts on Thursday, “Last time I had got a start at Lord’s, but didn’t know how to build the innings. The Lord’s wicket has a lot of runs. It’s a batting paradise. The swing will be less and the sun will be out. Those are all on your side. I have a dream to make a century at Lord’s and to get my name on the Honours Board. Whatever that has gone is gone and I want to start this game fresh.”
Karunarathne said to the media on Sunday.
Sri Lanka has not lost a Test at Lord’s in 25 years and this is due mainly to the centuries made by the openers in the past few decades at this prestigious ground. Eight Sri Lankans have made Test centuries at Lord’s of which four players are opening batsmen; Sidath Wettimuny, Amal Silva, Marvan Atapattu and Tillekeratne Dilshan.
Sri Lanka have already lost the Test series with England cruising to victory in Leeds and Durham in tough, cold conditions. Karunarathne was also critical of the two warm-up matches scheduled against Essex and Leicestershire, which were played before the Test series.
“I don’t think that kind of preparation will do any good ahead of a tough Test series. The oppositions we played were basically second string teams. In our second warm-up game, there were just two fast bowlers and the rest were spinners. I wasn’t too pleased after getting the hundred. In the meantime I worked harder in the nets with the coaches to improve my game,” Karunaratne added.
“During the practice game, out of the two fast bowlers, the quickest guy bowled just four overs. I was telling my team mates that there is no use playing spinners in a warm-up game when we know too well what to expect from England when the Test match starts. Playing Division I teams is the kind of challenge we need. When we play lowly opposition and all of a sudden play Anderson and Broad in the Test match, the gap is huge. Then we tend to make more mistakes and get out cheaply. When England come to our shores, they play our ‘A’ team as warm-up. That’s good enough opposition” The opener said.
Karunarathne further stated that playing James Anderson is an arduous task as he is one of the best fast bowlers in the game at the moment, “Anderson is the key, he takes wickets while others do the containing job. If we play Anderson well and don’t give him wickets, we will do really well because the other bowlers generally give you a loose ball or two in an over. Anderson this time around is a changed bowler from what we had seen of him in the past. He has good rhythm. Last time he was only concentrating on swinging the ball. This time what we have found is that he has got the length spot on too.” He said.
If Sri Lanka are to turn the tides and regain lost pride in the final Test, they will need Karunarathne to fire in both innings and set up the game.