Indian coach Kirsten refuses to give up hope
Galle: Sri Lanka may have reached a strong position in the first Test after a good show by their batsmen on the opening day but India coach Gary Kirsten is hopeful of bouncing back.
The hosts reached an impressive 256 for two before rain and bad light combined to force early stumps.
However, Kirtsen said it was not all over for India and that weather will play an important role in the match.
“Sri Lanka have not taken a stranglehold on the match. We will be looking to get a couple of early wickets tomorrow. And this match could be affected by rains,” Kirsten told reporters at a press conference.
Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara (103) scored his 22nd Test century and Tharanga Paranavitana (110 unbeaten) his maiden hundred to lay the foundation of a big score.
The India also backed Ishant Sharma despite an ordinary show by the gangly paceman. He leaked 79 runs in 14 overs he bowled in different spells and went wicketless.
“Ishant was a bit unlucky. In the first session he bowled some good deliveries which went down to the third man for fours. That can happen to any bowler. We should not judge him in a warm up game and in one innings of the Test match.
“Let us give him a bit of run and let us see how it goes. We want to back him as much as we can. I think may be he has lost a little bit of confidence in the last season and that takes a bit of time to get back,” he said adding that the team badly missed injured pacer Zaheen Khan.
The South African also revealed that spinner Harbhajan Singh played despite not being fully fit.
“We had to play Harbhajan today though he is still recovering from flu. He is not in full fitness yet but you know we need him in the team. If he had not played we would have been really inexperienced. He is a gutsy cricketer. He said he wanted to play,” he said.
The seasoned spinner had also missed the only warm up game before the Test match.