Thisara Perera could not have asked for a better result on his One-Day International captaincy debut. Sri Lanka had suffered three 5-0 whitewashes this year, won just 4 of the 25 ODIs and were on a 12-match losing streak when Perera went out for the toss for the One-Day International in Dharamsala. However, right from the toss till the last ball of the game, everything went smoothly for the skipper as the Islanders thoroughly outplayed India to go one nil up in the three-match series.
With the pitch providing ample assist to the pace bowlers, the visitors, led by Suranga Lakmal’s brilliant performance, had India on the floor. At one time, Rohit Sharma & Co. were reeling at 29 for seven before MS Dhoni’s fighting fifty helped them to cross the 100-run mark and post a respectable 112. The modest score was never going to be a big challenge for the visitors, and although they lost two early wickets, Upul Tharanga’s 49-run knock set the tone for the chase before Angelo Mathews, and Niroshan Dickwella took the team home.
Oozing with confidence after the morale-boosting win, Perera feels his team has the opportunity to win a series in India, a feat which very few teams have managed in the country.
“It is a good opportunity to win the series. Not many teams have won series in India. We want to do something special, like we did in Dharamsala,” Perera said on the eve of the second match.
Sri Lanka’s preparation might have been hit by their extended stay in Dharamsala but Perera did not sound too worried about it. The Islanders were forced to extend their stay in Dharamsala after their flight was cancelled due to inclement weather, giving them less time to get accustomed with the conditions of Mohali, the venue for the penultimate game of the series.
Perera further insisted that his side is not under any pressure, saying:
“It is not pressure. It is another game for us. Everyone knows if we win tomorrow we will win the series. We will give our 200 per cent.”
The 28-year old went on to say that Sri Lanka would win the upcoming game if they replicate their Dharamsala heroics in Mohali.
“Yes they can but we are focused on our job. It was good to win after 12 losses and we know if we can repeat that performance, we will win tomorrow,” said Perera.
When asked about the pitch which remained under the covers for a major part of the day due to the weather conditions, the all-rounder said:
“It looks like a good batting track.”
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