Galle: Centurion Dinesh Chandimal said that his plan of countering the Indian spinners worked well as he helped Sri Lanka fightback from a precarious position to stay alive in the first Test here on Friday.
Sri Lanka rode on Chandimal's career-best 162 not out to post 367, giving the visitors a winning target of 176. Registering his fourth Test ton, Chandimal admitted that his well though-out moves paid rich dividends.
"Before I went out to bat I was thinking in the dressing room what I was going to do in the middle. I was going to reverse sweep and sweep to put pressure on the bowlers. I did that. I'm really happy with the way I handled their spinners. It was difficult to bat on this kind of pitch. I tried to rotate the strike. I tried to put the pressure on the bowler so I could get a loose delivery from him," said Chandimal.
"I'm over the moon with the way I played in that situation. I handled that situation like a duck to water. Also, (Lahiru) Thirimanne and Jehan Mubarak they also batted really well, and even (Angelo) Mathews and (Kumar) Sangakkara, so credit goes to them as well," he added.
Lanka were struggling at 95 for five in the morning session when Chandimal was joined in by Lahiru Thirimanne (44). The duo stitched a crucial 125-run sixth-wicket stand, though their stay was helped with a couple of umpiring howlers.
"It was difficult to bat. Three or four wickets were down by the time I went to bat. It was a difficult time to bat. But decisions are part of the game. Sometimes you get good ones, sometime bad ones. It's cricket," Chandimal said.
When asked if he would have walked, Chandimal replied, "I didn't feel anything. I was batting under pressure was there. I didn't feel anything hit the bat. If I had felt something, definitely I would have walked. But I didn't feel anything."
Chandimal also batted well with the lower-order as his I41-run stand Tharindu Kaushal (7) helped the hosts get a 175-run fighting lead.
"I batted with the tail-enders finally. I tried to face three balls and rotate the strike on the fourth ball. They thought I would try to rotate the strike on the fifth ball, but I did it on the fourth ball," he said.
"I have had some ups and downs. Earlier I came down with some bad performances. I stayed the same in all the situations and now I know where I went wrong. I try to improve my game every day. I'm really happy with this knock, but I always feel my best innings is my next one. So I'm looking forward to that. But among the innings I've played so far, this could be my best," he added.
India were 23 for one at stumps and Chandimal is still hopeful as a 100-plus total has never been chased down in the fourth innings at the Galle International Stadium.
"The spinners will have to bowl really well tomorrow. If we can get two wickets in the first hour and push the India team down, there will be a lot of pressure. They are playing with six batsmen, so we can turn the match," Chandimal said.