Chandimal faces tough ask in captaincy debut

Published : 9:20 am  July 14, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (53) reads | 

One-off Test at R. Premadasa Stadium

By Shehan Daniel

Rarely has a Test match against Zimbabwe taken as much importance for Sri Lanka as the one-off Test which begins at the R. Premadasa Stadium today (14), as Dinesh Chandimal begins his tenure as the new captain with hopes of leading a resurgence to the top of the ranks.

Chandimal was appointed captain after Sri Lanka’s shock defeat in the ODI series and his first assignment would be to ensure there is no embarrassing repeat in the one-off Test. 
He was confident that Sri Lanka’s experienced spinners would make the difference adding that the team was mentally prepared after the deflating defeat. 
“We have Rangana (Herath) and Dilruwan (Perera). We’re not going to let their batsmen off easy, and I’m confident we can restrict them from getting a big total,” Chandimal said.

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“The preparations have been good. We have had two days of practices and everyone is well prepared mentally.”
Sri Lanka are currently ranked seventh in Tests and were once ranked as the second best in this format and Chandimal hopes to take Sri Lanka one better.

“My ultimate goal as captain is to get Sri Lanka to the top of the rankings. It’s not something that we can do in a month, or in a year. We need some time because we have young players in the team who need experience,” he said. 
Chandimal was appointed Twenty20 International Skipper when he was just 23-years-old, in 2013, only to be replaced the next year. That experience had been an education he said and he was looking forward to the new challenge.

My ultimate goal as captain is to get Sri Lanka to the top of the rankings. It’s not something that we can do in a month, or in a year 

“I learned a lot while I was captain and after, when I was removed from it. After all those challenges I have got the responsibility to lead the team again and my experiences in the past will help move forward as captain,” Chandimal claimed. 
Chandimal hinted that, despite the inclusion of ODI opener Danushak Gunathilaka into the Test Squad, they were likely to stick to the same opening combination as the last Test they played against Bangladesh in March, with Niroshan Dickwella the probable wicket-keeper. 
“In the last Test (against Bangladesh), Upul (Tharanga) and Dimuth (Karunaratne) opened the innings and they are prepared to do the same tomorrow,” Chandimal said.  
“When we looked at the pitch conditions for the game, we felt we will need to play seven batsmen and four bowlers. We are still not sure whether we want to play two fast bowlers and two spinners or three spinners and a fast-bowler. We will make a call on that tomorrow,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Captain Graeme Cremer, said the ODI series win had given his team the confidence to take on Sri Lanka and beat them at home in the one-off Test. 
“Confidence more than anything, and self-belief that we can push Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, which is big for us. We have the potential to score the runs as well as take wickets. Confidence is what we’ll take into the Test match most,” he said

I learned a lot while I was captain and after, when I was removed from it 

 

“We have had a few injuries with Carl Mumba is struggling with a knee (injury) which is a setback for us. But we’ve still got guys who can step up. I still assume we’ll go spin heavy in the team,” Cremer added

Sri Lanka (from): Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando and Lahiru Kumara. 

Zimbabwe (from): Graeme Cremer (Captain), Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Craig Ervine, Hamilton Masakadza, Peter Moor, Chris Mpofu, Carl Mumba, Tarisai Musakanda, Natsai M’shangwe, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Malcolm Waller, Nathan Waller and Sean Williams.