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Chandimal doesn’t expect to lose 1st test

January 3, 2014

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dinesh Chandimal is not expecting Sri Lanka to lose the first test against Pakistan after his century stand with captain Angelo Mathews on Friday provided Sri Lanka with a lead of 241 runs.

Chandimal missed out on a century when he was dismissed for 89 but his 138-run fourth wicket stand with Mathews in nearly 3½ hours lifted Sri Lanka to 420-5 by stumps.

Mathews batted throughout the day and was unbeaten on a career-best 116. Chandimal said Sri Lanka has a game plan for the last day after they lost only one wicket on Friday.

“We’ve got a game plan but we have to talk to management and with the other players and figure out how much we need,” Chandimal said. “We need to survive as well, we can’t lose and we’ll keep that in mind and make a decision.”

Sri Lanka had lost batting mainstay Kumar Sangakkara for 55 and Mahela Jayawardene for nought and were only seven runs ahead of Pakistan’s lead of 179 runs when Chandimal and Mathews resumed at the overnight 186-4 on Friday.

Both batsmen dominated the Pakistan bowlers in an extended 2½-hour first session against the pace trio of Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti and Rahat Ali with the second new ball.

In a rare lack of concentration, Chandimal tried to lift Khan over the fine leg but could not clear Ali to miss out on a deserved century after facing 166 balls and hitting 12 fours.

“I’m quite disappointed, because that 89 came in difficult circumstances for the team,” Chandimal said. “It was a really tough situation, but I came through that and in the last moment, getting out like that is disappointing.”

Pakistan’s bowlers struggled throughout the day and even offspinner Saeed Ajmal couldn’t make any impression as he bowled 29 overs on Friday but returned wicketless after conceding 66 runs.

“When he (Ajmal) switched ends it became a bit easier for us,” Chandimal said. “If the spinners had bowled from the other end, they might have been able to get something more out of it ... we’ll use that advantage and fight.”

Chandimal was dismissed for nought in Sri Lanka’s first innings score of 204, but came back strongly in the second innings with Mathews.

“Sometimes it was hard for me to play certain bowlers, sometimes it was tough for Angelo,” he said. “We talked about who should be scoring more runs at this time, and who should be more positive against which bowler, that’s how we built our partnership.”

Chadimal hoped Sri Lanka would bat at least for the first hour tomorrow before thinking about the target for Pakistan.

“Tomorrow we will see how we go in the first hour and then set a target for them,” he said. “We’ve got plans for that, we’ll fight hard and try to win.”

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