Sri Lanka’s stand-in Test skipper Suranga Lakmal has said that he was not surprised with the outcome of Galle Test against South Africa after the rollercoaster tour of the Caribbean last month. Sri Lanka crushed the Proteas by 278 runs after bundling out the tourists for 73 on day three of the first Test.
Lakmal was shouldered with the responsibility to lead the Sri Lankan Test team in the absence of regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who has withdrawn from the two-match Test series against South Africa. Chandimal along with coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha had pleaded guilty to the level three offense laid against them by the ICC after they held up the play for two hours on the third day of the second Test against Windies in St. Lucia.
Notably, Lakmal had also captained the Test side in the third and final against West Indies at Barbados wherein Sri Lanka had registered a four-wicket victory to level the series 1-1.
“We won both matches and yes, I was the captain, but I cannot win matches all alone. I’ve got to have the support of all eleven players plus the four on bench. They all helped me. I couldn’t have done it alone,” Lakmal quoted as saying by Wisden India.
“As a team, we were prepared to face any kind of situation. In the West Indies, I got the captaincy at the very last moment and even here, I was told that I am going to lead the team the previous night. However, we’ve been there as a team and it was easy for me to take them forward. Seniors like Ranagana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo and Dilruwan (Perera) were always with me. In addition to that, I was well supported by the team management. So I think that’s the secret of success,” he added.
Spinners led by Dilruwan Perera led Sri Lanka to the win as only three South African batsmen reached double figures in the second dig. While Perera added six wickets to his four in the first innings, veteran Rangana Herath picked up three scalps after taking two in the first outing.
“Rangana is one of the leading left-arm spinners in the world. No questions on that front. Dilruwan too has been bowling pretty well during the last couple of years. Both of them are leading spinners in the world at the moment. Especially in Galle, they have won matches for us. I hope they will continue the good work they have been doing,” Lakmal remarked.
”South Africa is the No. 2 team in the world and we are at the sixth place. When we play against such a formidable team, we can never have expectations like this (winning this easily) but as we go on, we may have an idea. It all depends on how we play. Actually, it was no surprise because we had done well in the last Test match. We were confident and were in a very good mindset. Not to win in three days, but we were playing to win the game. We bowled well and played as a team. That’s why we ended the game in two and a half days,” he further said.
Lakmal admitted that he was lucky to win the toss as it gave Sri Lanka a big advantage. Nonetheless, he credited his side for playing a positive brand of cricket.
"We were fortunate to win the toss. We cannot control the toss but we were lucky. We decided to bat first and that made the difference,” he said.
"We never play for a draw. We play to win. With my team, we’re going to (try to) win the second Test. It’s good for us to finish off the series 2-0 because we can go up the rankings," Suranga Lakmal concluded.