Dimuth Karunaratne has been Sri Lanka’s best Test batsman in the last one year and he has an advice for his fellow batsmen if they want to perform on the upcoming tour of India, they must play the Indian spin pair of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja well.
Sri Lanka tour India for three Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is beginning November 16. Sri Lanka will like to avenge their 3-0 whitewash at home recently which was majorly scripted by the two Indian spinners.
“Generally, the off-spinner poses the biggest threat for a left-hander, but on wickets that turn, the most difficult thing is to play the ball that comes in to you. So Jadeja will the bigger challenge for me. I have scoring options against him, but Ashwin is a smart bowler. He rarely bowls a loose delivery,” Karunaratne was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“You have to be smarter against Ashwin. There’s no point of adopting a counter-attack approach against Ashwin. If you do that, he will get you. You have to be solid against him. You have to keep your ego away when you are playing him. You have to respect him. Ashwin always wants to get wickets. When you deny him the wickets, then he will go to other options. You have to cash in when he loses patience and when he comes on for his third spell or so,” Karunaratne elaborated.
After the series whitewash against India, Sri Lanka turned the tables and whitewashed Pakistan in a two-match Test series in UAE. Karunaratne was the Player-of-the-Series and is also the third-highest run-getter in Tests this year.
“We have a three day break before we leave to India. After the Test series against Pakistan, during our training, we tried to focus a lot on playing spin. We trained on under prepared wickets. Due to the rain, our sessions were limited and we were forced indoors. You can’t prepare for conditions when you play indoors. But we have eight days in India before the first Test and we need to make most of it,” Karunaratne noted.
“I have played little cricket in India. The last time I played there was in 2005 with the Under-19 team. No idea what to expect there so I am watching some videos.”
“I am watching how Alastair Cook batted in India. I am also taking a look at footage of how other left-handed openers like Matt Renshaw and Tom Latham went about things in India and hopefully that will come in handy. The SG ball that will be used will be tougher than the Duke ball. It will be a tough task to adjust to the bounce and seam. Your character gets tested in places like Australia and India and I am looking forward for that challenge.”
Karunaratne is hoping that he can perform for Sri Lanka in India as well and in both innings. Though he has good record in the second innings, Karunaratne struggled in the first innings until the Pakistan series.
“I have scored lot of runs this year but the match winning ones were few and rare. I mostly scored in the second innings. That wasn’t helping the team. When you make runs in the second innings, the team is trying to survive. I wanted to be a match winner. Making most in the first innings was important. I was determined to do well but at the same time was keen to not to put much pressure on myself. The important thing for us as a team was to score 400 runs in the first innings. Once we do that we are in the safe zone. If we don’t do that, we are in the danger zone.”