World Test Championship

Sri Lanka 'need to convert starts' – Dimuth Karunaratne

Pak v SL, 1st Test, day 1, reaction

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Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said on Wednesday, 11 December that his side needed to capitalise on good starts with the bat if they were to be competitive on their tour of Pakistan.

Sri Lanka finished the curtailed first day's play on 202/5, having opted to bat, with Karunaratne himself top-scoring with 59 before being trapped in front by Shaheen Shah Afridi. Only Dinesh Chandimal failed to reach double figures, with Osahada Fernando (40) and Angelo Mathews (31) both falling short of half-centuries.

"We got good starts, but no one went for a big score," Karunaratne said after play. "We got a few 20s and 30s. We need to be converting those scores if we want to win a Test. Everyone, including me, has to make sure we don't let go once we get those starts in the next innings, if we can."

Having said that, Karunaratne was full of praise for his opening partner Fernando, with whom he put on 96 runs for the first wicket. "Oshada batted really well. This is only his third Test, and his attitude and batting style were very good," said the Sri Lanka captain. "He batted with a lot of confidence. That became a strength for me as well. I knew I could give him the strike without any fear.

"I thought he was batting even better than me in the first session. There were one or two times when he was getting a bit loose, and at those times, I just reminded him to make sure he capitalsies on his start."

While he wasn't displeased with the situation his side had ended up in, Karunaratne conceded there was room for improvement in their approach to the innings, particularly when it came to pacing it.

"There was a bit of swing in that second session, and a little seam," said Karunaratne, "but I think we could have used a different approach because we'd had a good start, having made 89 in the first session. Maybe we could have been more of a threat to their bowlers after lunch. We should have batted a bit more positively, because when the runs are ticking over on the board, even if wickets fall, it's not such a big deal."

We need to try and get to 300, because we need a good total to give our bowlers a chance. We got a good start and didn't capitalise. Dikka [Niroshan Dickwella] opens the batting in shorter formats, and Dhananjaya [de Silva] has come in at No.3 for us in the past, so both of them should be able to negotiate the second new ball when that comes around. Hopefully, they can get us past 275, and then the tail can get a few extra runs."

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