Pakistan openers took the game away from us: Rumesh Ratnayake

KARACHI: Sri Lanka’s fast bowing coach and former Test pacer Rumesh Ratnayake on Saturday said that a splendid show from centurions Abid Ali and Shan Masood took the game away from the visitors.

However, he was quick to add that the fourth day’s play would be interesting.

“Our bowlers did not do well in the morning session when there was a slight dew and both Abid and Shan did extremely well in the next two sessions and that took the game away from us completely. But the fourth day’s play would be interesting,” the 55-year-old Rumesh told a news conference at the end of third day’s play of the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka here at the National Stadium.

After conceding an 80-run lead, Pakistan were 395-2, 315 runs ahead, at the end of third day’s play which was witnessed by a sizeable crowd. Abid Ali (174) and Shan Masood (135) put on 278 for the opening stand. This is the second big opening stand in Pakistan’s Test history. Ijaz Ahmed and Amir Sohail keep the record as they had scored 298 for the first wicket against the West Indies at the same venue in 1997.

He said that they would try to restrict Pakistan to as much less total as possible. “It’s now up to the bowlers to bowl tightly and restrict them (Pakistan) to as much less score as possible,” Rumesh said.

Rumesh said that the wicket had turned very placid as the time progressed.

“In the morning there was a little bit of moisture but as the time progressed it dried up and became very placid to bat on and that helped the Pakistani batsmen,” he added.

However, despite the batting-friendly behaviour of the wicket, he credited the pair of Shan and Abid for showing fine skills and batting splendidly.

He said their plan was simple and bowlers had been told to keep a tight line. “Some bowlers did so and some did not. Kumara did well. He is a sensation and very good bowler,” Rumesh said.

The right-armer Kumara picked both the Pakistani wickets which fell on the third day.

Rumesh said his bowlers were young and they would learn from this experience. “But you know, this is a learning curve for the youngsters and it will help them in future,” Rumesh said.

He said that his team wants to win and they would do their best to achieve victory or at least go for a draw.

He said that Pakistan has always been a comfortable place for him to visit as he has come here for around five times since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus. “We have set a precedent as we have come here and it should be the lead for other countries, but I cannot say anything else as it depends on everyone’s approach,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s fast bowling coach said that his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad was special.

“It was a special meeting with Imran Khan recently. He also asked me about some of our players,” Colombo-born Rumesh said.


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