Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is wary of the visiting South African side and its prowess under a very able leader like Faf du Plessis. Herath, who partnered Dilruwan Perera to run through the guest's batting line-up in the first Test at Galle, has cautioned Sri Lanka before getting complacent and emphasised the need for the home side to keep improving various facets of their game.
Ahead of the second Test with Sri Lanka leading the series 1-0, Herath was quoted saying, “We remember that South Africa are a very dangerous side and they will bounce back, But we have a bit of a different plan, and I am sure they have different plans too. Our preparation has been great so we’re ready."
“It is very important that we win a series. They are the number two ranked team. We need to win and gain confidence and this is going to be a crucial game.”
Revealing that the pitch in Colombo will assist spinners more and that the toss won’t play much of a part if they tick all the boxes, Herath said, “When we played Australia two years ago(at the same ground), we won the toss but conditions helped their fast bowlers. We lost five wickets for 25 runs. But we fought back Dhananjaya (de Silva) and (Dinesh) Chandimal scored hundreds and we went onto win the game. The toss will play a part, but the important thing is that you have to do well,”
Herath also praised Dimuth Karunaratne for his magnificent effort at Galle, scoring 158 and 60 in the two innings respectively and in many ways taking the game completely away from South Africa.
“Dimuth’s hundred and fifty were remarkable. He set up the game and set a fine example. We have got to learn from him. Have a chat with him and find out what worked for him,”
While the win itself was an impressive one, owing to the quality of the opposition, that Sri Lanka achieved it without Dinesh Chandimal, the regular skipper, and Chandika Hathurasinghe, the coach, made it an even bigger achievement.
Herath concluded by saying, "True that we don’t have a captain or coach for the game, but if you see during nets, both Hatu and Chandi were there and preparation was good. Without them, we cannot go that far. Only during the game they are not there, but they are behind us,”
(Inputs from Wisden India)