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Dinesh Chandimal reveals he had aimed to score two centuries in the England series

Ram Kumar
961   //    03 Jun 2016, 02:02 IST
Dinesh Chandimal
Dinesh Chandimal leaps up in joy after scoring his first Test century on English soil

One of Sri Lanka’s bright spots in their humbling at the hands of a powerful England team has been the coming of age of Dinesh Chandimal as a bankable batsman. Speaking to the press, the 26-year-old divulged that he had set a goal of scoring two centuries in the Test series before embarking on the challenging trip.

Chandimal claimed, “I set myself a challenge when I left Sri Lanka, which was to score two Test hundreds in England. It's a massive challenge to play here at this time of the year. The good thing is that we had adequately trained before the Test match.”

Even though the Lankans lost the Durham Test by nine wickets to concede the series to the hosts, Chandimal’s attacking ton provided some light at the end of a long tunnel. Still feeling the after-effects of the retirements of the iconic duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, a batting lineup which was under transition needed one of the more experienced guys to rise to the occasion.

When asked about his batting position, the right-hander felt that the additional duty of keeping wickets forced him to number 6. Chandimal affirmed, “For the last few months I have batted at four and before that I have batted at six or seven when I kept wickets.”

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He added, “If you take the statistics, I have done well at No. 6. But it really doesn't matter where I bat. We've got to look at what the team's requirements are, what the captain and the coach feel, and you need to adjust accordingly.”

On the experience of playing in cold and difficult conditions for an Asian team, Chandimal admitted, “The real feel on our first day of training at Chester-le-Street was 3 degrees Celsius. You can't simply take that kind of cold. I remember going out to bat at practice and I couldn't grip the bat. Even after batting for 15 minutes or so, you don't get the feeling that you are holding a bat. They were tough conditions.”

With James Anderson adding to their misery with his magical bowling, the wicket-keeper batsman asserted, “We spoke a lot on playing James Anderson. Had we continued batting tentatively, we would have been dismissed anyway. So the game plan was to let Anderson also think rather than get settled down and make things difficult for us. Some adjusted by taking guard on the off stump and some came a foot out of the crease to negate his swing.”

While England will look to inflict a whitewash in the 3-match series by claiming the final Test at Lords, Sri Lanka have a task on their hands in proving that the learning process is going in the right direction.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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