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Dimuth Karunaratne rues not being able to play left-arm spinners in warm-up tie

by Saurabh Sharma Nov 11, 2017 • 23:18 PM

Kolkata, Nov 11 (CRICKETNMORE):  Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who scored a half century against Board President's XI in a warm-up game here on Saturday, rued the fact that they were not given left-arm spinners to practice against ahead of the first cricket Test against India from Thursday.

At stumps, Sri Lanka declared on 411/6 with Karunaratne making a 50 off 62 deliveries.

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India have left-armer Ravindra Jadeja and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in their ranks and Karunaratne felt it might be a ploy to rob them of any rehearsal ahead of the first rubber.

"The opposition had a good bowling line up. But they did not give us a left-arm spinner. I think it's not easy... they will definitely play with Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin, maybe Kuldeep as well. But the leg-spinner and off-spinner bowled really well," the right-handed Karunaratne told reporters at the end of the first day's play at the Jadavpur University campus ground here.

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The in-form batsman, who top-scored against Pakistan in their last outing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amassing 306 runs in four innings, said they have practised hard on dusty wickets at home.

"The ball is not turning much due to lack of grass (here). The ball is coming straighter. But when we practised, we played in dusty wickets in Sri Lanka. So we prepared well and we have three days before the Test. We will prepare for good spin attack as well," he said.

Due to Ranji Trophy commitments, the BCCI sent their third-string team to play against the Lankans with captain Sanju Samson the only promising name.

Asked about the quality of opposition against which the Sri Lankan batsmen had an easy time on the field with four of their batsmen scoring half centuries, Karunaratne said: "We just needed to get some confidence. It's all about runs. When we go through the sessions, whether they bowl fast or slow doesn't matter as long as they are bowling in good line and length. That's the most difficult part for a batsman and I felt they bowled in really good areas."

"I think we need a bit of confidence. Only Angelo (Mathews) and Rangana (Herath) played here and none of us played in India before. So it's better to get some confidence in these conditions. This was a batting-friendly wicket so we got runs," the 29-year-old southpaw said.

Karunaratne also said he has plans against the rival pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

"I played against them in the last series so I have a few plans. I know what they will do with me so I prepared before coming here. I will stick to that plan. If it needs changes, I will do it if they also alter their plan."

Karunaratne notched up a century in the second innings against India at Colombo in August. Quizzed about his takeaways from the India series, he said: "I think that hundred helped me a lot to take some confidence against Pakistan. It's not an easy wicket to bat in the second innings but I took the challenge and was determined to get some runs. 

"Ashwin was likely to get wickets there so I was thinking to play first five overs without any big shot. I realised it won't be easy and played a lot of reverse sweeps which forced them to change their plans. I try to play in my comfort zone always. That's a key for me. I try to bat for longer periods and that is my gameplan."

Karunaratne also scored a century against Pakistan before coming here.

On whether he would try anything out-of-the box like the reverse sweep to rattle Indian spinners, he said: "Definitely. If you need to change the field you are doing something extra. Otherwise, Jadeja and Ashwin are both hungry for wickets every time. So when they bowl good line and lengths, I stick to the basics. If I don't give any chance to them, they will try to do something else. 

"That's my plan, to wait for the loose one for both spinners. That's my gameplan. If it's not working then I will try something out-of-the box and put pressure on the bowlers."

The first of the three-match Test series starts on Thursday at the Eden Gardens here.