South Africa suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the opening Test by staggering 278 runs at Galle. The pitch at Galle had a lot of assistance to the spinners. Only Dimuth Karunaratne, the Sri Lankan opener was able to score 50-plus in both the innings.
The Proteas were bamboozled by the Lankan spinners and were skittled out for just 73 in their second innings, which is the lowest Test score of South Africa since their readmission to international cricket way back in 1991.
The southpaw followed his sensational 158 in the first innings with a well composed 60 in the second eessay. The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled with a lot of freedom in the second outing which helped them earn a huge victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series. It was indeed a sensational performance from the Islanders who have had some tough time in the longest format, of late.
The southpaw Karunaratne, who scored a magnificent century revealed his secret of playing so well on a rank turner like Galle.
“If you give spinners a chance to dominate you, they will step all over you. To avoid that I use my feet, and I’m trying to create scoring opportunities by doing as much as I can. What I’m trying to do is make them bowl in areas that are good scoring zones for me. If you move around the crease and take a little risk when scoring those runs, you can get the bowlers to bowl where you want them to,” Karunaratne was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“On pitches like this, I am always looking for runs and trying to bat positively. Often my strike rate is in the 70s – like it was in this match. That’s the biggest thing. When you are playing spin you need to have a defence, but more than that you have to dominate the spinners before they dominate you,” he maintained.
Dimuth Karunaratne has emerged as one of the prolific run scorers for Lanka:
Over the last few years, Karunratne has emerged as one of the prolific run scorers for Sri Lanka at the top of the batting order. He was quite ordinary during the series against England and Australia in 2016.
However, since there on, he played some astonishing knocks. It include centuries against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and now South Africa. His stature will be very important as Sri Lanka tries to regain their feet in the longest format of the game.
“I think I’ve matured since I first came into the team. But I’m not complete yet. The more I play, the better I will become. I knew in this match that there would be spin after those early overs because Galle is anyway a spin-friendly track. But I like that challenge because it tests you. You get better when you face challenges like that. I think I’m applying my skill and doing well on turning tracks,” he asserted.
“When I go to bat, I’m thinking of the first 15 overs, because it’s in those 15 overs that an opener has it toughest,” he said. “But if you can get through that, then you should know how to carry on. Rather than doing all the hard work and passing the job on to someone else, it’s better to build the innings yourself. If an opener that wants to score runs, that’s really important,” he concluded.