ABU DHABI, Monday: Sri Lanka Test captain Dinesh Chandimal said that hard work, belief and trust his players had with each other brought them the dramatic 21-run win over Pakistan in the first Test at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here yesterday.
“The guys worked hard before the match and finally that hard work paid off,” said Chandimal at the post match press conference.
“As a team, we were below par in our performances, but we had waited for this win and finally we got it. Credit goes to all the players. They played some really good cricket, I’m sure this can continue throughout the series,” he said.
“We did more work on our fitness and fielding, and discipline. Everyone put their heart and soul into the practices, and the management put lots of hard work in.
“It is tough, especially with this heat. The management supported us, even during the game, going around giving the players drinks, and that made a difference. We didn’t feel the heat as we were binding as a family. That is the difference we had in this game.”
Chandimal also had a good word for the new selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka fast bowler Graeme Labrooy.
“Thanks to the selectors as well. Before we came here, they talked to me and the team, and that gave us a lot of confidence. That made a difference, and the guys played some outstanding cricket in the middle.”
Recalling the end of the fourth day when Sri Lanka were struggling at 69-4 Chandimal said, “It was a tough time, especially last evening (Sunday). We were surprised to be four down for 65, but we thought before play started today (Monday) that 160-plus would be a winning total.
“This time, we got a totally different wicket to the last two series. We all knew there was a bit of spin. (Niroshan) Dickwella was outstanding in the second innings to get us to the 140 mark. We all knew the legend Rangana (Herath) would come into play, and finally he did his best.”
“Rangana is a team man. He is supportive to me and the players, with what he has learnt from cricket. Every young player goes to talk to him about his bowling and experiences. He is a wily old fox. He’s a good asset to the team. I have no idea how long he is going to play, but I just want him throughout my career,” said Chandimal.
Our Batsmen Didn’t Attack Herath – Arthur
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur blamed his batsmen for not being positive against Herath which allowed him to dominate their batting in the second innings.
“We did a lot of homework, our players has played him a lot. But obviously on the last day he was always going to be a factor and you’ve got to give him more respect,” said Arthur.
“I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on. But early on I would have liked the batsmen to attack him. Once you take him on and that goes for any bowler, the game sort of settles down.
“I am going back to Dickwella in the morning and for a period when Sarfraz and Haris were going on for a period of time and the key to that was to remain positive and not getting tentative and look for runs. If you allow Herath to settle down he will do what he did today,” he said.
“Chasing 136 you expect one good partnership to chase that down so that’s particularly disappointing. It was challenging but we probably should have got there.”