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Do Sri Lanka bowlers have it in them to take 20 wickets?

November 12, 2017 21:22 IST

'Even though the immediate past has not been good we are looking for a new leaf to start with'

'Reverse swing is one of the things which we have worked on. It's got the feel of the Duke ball, it's different and we are getting used to that'

Sri Lanka bowler Dasun Shanaka is one to look  out for

IMAGE: Sri Lanka bowler Dasun Shanaka will look to put to test the strategies the visitors have in place to tackle India's batting. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sri Lanka bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake revealed on Sunday that his team has prepared elaborate strategies for the upcoming three-Test series against India but said it would be all about executing those plans on the field.

"We have done all that we could have to counter attack. Whatever we would expect in the Test series (sic). I hope our strategies will work," Ratnayake told reporters after Sri Lanka drew the two-day tour game against the Board President's XI in Kolkata.

"We can only plan but it's about executing them on the field. It's a huge challenge. It's not only skipper Virat Kohli but we have come with specific plans for each Indian player. We always go with plans but can we execute the plans, at what stage and at what point. Hopefully that works to our benefit," he added.

Sri Lanka suffered a 0-9 humiliation at home across the three formats earlier this year.

The Islanders will play their first Test in India since 2009-10 when they take the field on November 16 at the EdenGardens. They have a lopsided record in the country as they are yet to win from 16 appearances, having lost 10 and drawn six in their head-to-head record spanning from 1982 to 2017.

"Even though the immediate past has not been good we are looking for a new leaf to start with," Ratnayake said.

Terming it a "friendly rivalry" with India, the former pacer said: "It's unfortunate we have not won a Test here. It's still a healthy rivalry. We have gained a lot from India, we are thankful for that. It would be interesting to win a Test here. We are taking it as a challenge."

The 53-year-old said rainy condition in Sri Lanka had hampered their preparation.

"We are very privileged to have a match like this. We have new players but they have been in the circuit for a while. India is new for them as we are touring for a Test series after eight years."

Lanka's chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan, centre, will be crucial to their chances

IMAGE: Lanka's chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan, centre, will be crucial to their chances. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Sri Lanka's reply to India's chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is Lakshan Sandakan and the coach said: "They are quite similar, having learnt from Brad Hogg. But I would still say they are similarly different.

"Also, Sandakan needs to work on his control, needs to improve on a little bit. It's a confidence thing. Once he gets the confidence he will be fine."

Ratnayake, however, is unsure whether the Lankans would pick Sandakan for the first Test.

"It depends whether we will play him or not. We will decide to have that extra spinner just a day before the match. Eden has been a good track any way in the past. It seamed in the past. We will see it tomorrow and hope to know what's on offer," he said.

Angelo Mathews will be back in action after recovering from a calf injury, which forced him out of the Pakistan tour last month, and Ratnayake said he would be used as a batsman.

"Angelo comes in as a batsman. We have Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva and Roshan Silva to fill in the all-rounder's role. He has not bowled in a Test for a while. I don't think he will bowl. We take him as a white ball bowler we will be looking him to bowl in only ODIs."

Ratnayake said his bowlers have worked on the reverse swing with the SG ball.

"Reverse swing is one of the things which we have worked on. It's got the feel of the Duke ball, it's different and we are getting used to that."

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