Sri Lanka managed to register a historic victory against New Zealand in the opening Test courtesy a sensational century from skipper and opener Dimuth Karunaratne in the 4th innings. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson rued the missed opportunities and stated that they had predicted the pitch to deteriorate much more than what it did in the final two days.
“We thought the wicket would deteriorate more than it did,” Williamson said. “It perhaps got slower. It wasn’t turning a huge amount out of the rough. It didn’t get more difficult to bat on.” The pitch at Galle is known to turn into a dust bowl in the fag end of the much. However, the Sri Lankan skipper perfectly judged the pitch and knew what New Zealand had on offer in a final couple of days.
The pitch eased out considerably and it was quite evident from the way the New Zealand lower order batters batted. In the 1st innings, the surface was dry. Even in the 2nd innings the pitch was drier and to add to that there were footmarks. There was sharp turn on display but due to the slowness of the pitch, the turn-on offer was much slower and thus less threatening.
“I think there was a little bit more bounce and the turn was a little bit quicker in the first innings. Though, saying that, it was a good batting surface as well.” The words from Kane Williamson was perfectly summed up by the spinners who despite being disciplined failed to bag the much-needed wickets.
“I thought our bowlers operated patiently for a long period of time. We probably even bowled better in the second innings, but without the edges going to hand, and those sorts of things, which is the nature of the game we play. Still, I think in a last-innings chase, a lot of credit goes to the way Sri Lanka batted. It was a fantastic hundred by Dimuth.”
The Sri Lankan skipper looked in majestic touch en route to his well deserved century. He played all around the wicket and read the pitch perfectly. “We knew that on that sort of surface, if you are able to get breakthrough things can happen quickly, as we saw later on today when perhaps the game was already lost. It was a shame not to get early breakthroughs.”