Karunaratne praises Chandimal as Sri Lanka turn to Pakistan

Karunaratne praises Chandimal as Sri Lanka turn to Pakistan


Karunaratne praises Chandimal as Sri Lanka turn to Pakistan

GALLE (AFP) - Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne on Monday said Dinesh Chandimal s double century in their series-levelling Test win over Australia was a good sign ahead of a tougher challenge against Pakistan.

Chandimal hit an unbeaten 206 in Sri Lanka s thrashing of the tourists by an innings and 39 runs in the second Test in Galle to end the series level at 1-1. Debutant spinner Prabhat Jayasuriya took a match haul of 12 wickets to bundle out Australia for 151 in the final session of day four.

But it was Chandimal who set up victory with a batting assault to reach his maiden double ton with a four and two sixes off Mitchell Starc as Sri Lanka posted 554 all out. "I told Chandi to come up with a big knock. Last few years he was not very successful," Karunaratne said of his senior batsman, who has been in and out of the national side.

"When your senior player gives a knock like that, as captain it makes things easy for me. Angelo (Mathews) can fail, I can fail but I know that someone will fire for us. That s a good sign for series that s ahead."

Sri Lanka next host Pakistan, who are already in the island nation playing a practice game, for two Tests starting Saturday in Galle. Sri Lanka s big win gives them confidence ahead of the opener but Chandimal said Pakistan would be a stronger force than the Aussies, with their ability to handle spinners better. "Pakistan is a strong side, a brilliant team," said Karunaratne. "I think it will be more challenging than Australia. They play spin well."

Skipper Babar Azam has been in top form, scoring consistently including a 196 against Australia at home in March. Opener Imam-ul-Haq has also been among the runs and Pakistan have bolstered their bowling attack by bringing veteran spinner Yasir Shah back into the team.