Sri Lanka's keeper-batter Niroshan Dickwella has said that his team's Test series victory in Bangladesh provided some respite amid their country's economic struggles. The left-hander also hailed the experienced duo of Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews for their significant contributions in the series win.
Sri Lanka wrapped up a commanding ten-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the second and final Test in Mirpur. The tourists had already left their opposition a massive hill to climb after reducing them to 34-4 at the end of the fourth day. Despite their best efforts, Bangladesh could not stave off defeat on the final day, narrowly avoiding an innings loss.
Dickwella said that the Sri Lankans have been going through challenging times back home. So they looked to bring their A-game and do something positive for their country. He said:
"It's hard time for us as Sri Lankans, so actually we kept it behind us as we came here to play good cricket and win the series. We want to bring home whatever we could do for them, and I think we did it, and it's a good positive thing for us," the 28-year old said, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
Dickwella conceded that Liton Das' wicket in the second innings was key, with speedster Asitha Fernando taking a brilliant return catch. Das and Shakib al Hasan helped the hosts add 103 runs for the sixth wicket. Dickwella said:
"We had a calm dressing room. We knew we were just one wicket away from the tail-enders. We kept our nerves. I think Asitha came up with a brilliant catch. It was the turning point. We had our plans cut out in the second innings."
"We knew the top order was struggling in the first innings. We wanted to bowl line and length first. With Asitha's pace and tactics with the short ball, we knew it would be hard for them. We wanted to spread the field, not to give easy runs and then attack when possible."
Sri Lanka are in the midst of their worst economic crisis since 1948, with the country enduring inflation, which has prompted widespread unrest and casualties. A member of their parliament died, and public protests led to Mahinda Rajapaksa's resignation as the Prime Minister.
"With their experience, Angelo and Chandimal are greedy for their runs" - Niroshan Dickwella
Dickwella also said that the wickets they played on hardly had anything in them, lauding Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal for stepping up. He said:
"These are not the wickets we played on last time. The ball was spinning and turning. This time it was dead and flat tracks. With their experience, Angelo and Chandimal are greedy for their runs. They knew this is the best opportunity to go for big scores. They did a great job. They are taking the pressure off the youngsters. They are doing their job properly."
Bangladesh's top-order collapse was a common factor in both their innings, putting their middle order under pressure. Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das put on 274 runs in the first innings from a precarious 24-5, but that was eventually in vain. Mathews deservedly won the 'Man of the Series' award for his 344 runs in two Tests at an average of 172.