Mirpur, 27 February
Sri Lanka vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal (in photo right) today said that his team were not too much worried about Virat Kohli’s fine form as his own side’s bowling attack could unsettle the Indian batting line-up in their crucial Asia Cup league match here tomorrow.
The Sri Lankans began their Asia Cup campaign with a 12-run victory over defending champions Pakistan with Lasith Malinga taking five wickets. India defeated Bangladesh easily yesterday, with captain Kohli hitting a century.
“India are a very good side. In past two or three years, they have been playing good cricket. Kohli is batting exceptionally well. They have some really good players but we got bowlers like Malinga. So we will see how things pan out tomorrow,” Chandimal said at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here.
“We are also doing well at the moment. Everyone in both the batting and bowling departments is in good form. We are looking forward to doing a good job.”
Kohli smashed a match-winning 136 to set up India’s 280-run chase against Bangladesh last night and snap their eight-One-Day-International winless streak.
“We all know, he is a really good batsman. But, as I said, we have something in our mind and you will see it tomorrow. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” said Chandimal, adding: “They played really well. They are good at chasing but we have a good bowling attack. We have something up our sleeve for them tomorrow – so we are looking forward to doing that.” Malinga’s five for 52 against Pakistan having given them a winning start, Chandimal said that Sri Lanka would look to take early wickets to expose the inexperience Indian middle order missing Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“It is crucial for us to get early wickets. With Dhoni not there in the Indian middle order, we might be in with a good chance if we can take early wickets. Everyone is fit and looking forward to playing in the match,” Chandimal said.
Having come to Bangladesh in January for a full series, Sri Lanka will have the advantage of knowing the conditions better, Chandimal said.
“We have been here for quite some time, we know the conditions better; like when dew is going to play a role and how the wicket would behave… We have got that advantage.”
Describing Malinga as the number one paceman in the world, the Sri Lankan vice-captain said: “He is a specialist bowler and at the moment he is the number one bowler in the world. He works hard in practice and is learning everyday. He has this natural ability to reverse the ball.”
Chandimal hinted that mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis might be included tomorrow.
“He is a wicket-taking bowler. I think he has a good chance to play in tomorrow’s game.”
Ajinkya Rahane said last night’s victory would give India competitive momentum in the tournament. “Obviously it was very important for us. Great momentum at the start of the series, and we’re just looking forward to the coming matches now."