Conditions in Nagpur will not assist seam-bowling to the extent they did in Kolkata, according to Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka captain. There is a fair amount of grass on the VCA Stadium pitch as well, in line with India’s desire to test themselves in pace-friendly conditions ahead of their tour of South Africa. Chandimal, however, felt there would be a more even contest between bat and ball here.
“We saw so much grass at Eden Gardens,” he said. “This is much less. This looks a good Test pitch. It’s a challenge for us as a team. We are looking forward to the game.”
He went on to explain what he meant by a “good Test pitch”: “The first few days will be good for batters. Then it might turn. That’s the kind of wicket I think that is.”
Sri Lanka were the dominant side for most of the first Test – until the last innings in which they slipped to 75 for 7 before bad light saved them – and Chandimal felt it was the result of their changed attitude since a 0-3 home series defeat to India in July-August. Sri Lanka, he said, are now looking to win Test matches and series, and are prepared to play a fifth bowler or allrounder to be able to do this.
“We learned a lot from the last Indian series in Sri Lanka,” he said. “The most important thing is we came here to win the series. Our attitude has changed. As I said every time our fielding also has made a huge difference – there’s a lot of energy.
“We have looked at a six-five combination or six-four – plus [an] all-rounder. That’s the combination we are looking at. Most importantly we have come here with a mindset to win a Test match.”
Despite all the help for the quicks in Kolkata, Lahiru Gamage did not enjoy a hugely productive Test, only picking up three wickets in 40.3 overs. Chandimal, however, backed Gamage to come good through the rest of the series.
“Calcutta was his second game [in Test cricket],” he said. “His first game was in Dubai and he did well against Pakistan. You can have a bad day and you can have a bad game. He is a really good player. He has a lot of experience, having played quite a bit of domestic cricket. I am sure he will be a good asset, especially when bowling on a wicket like this. We will make a call on the side tomorrow morning.”