Sri Lanka danced to the tune of Ravichandran Ashwin's spin bowling on the first day of the first Test at Galle on Wednesday. Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal credited the Indian bowlers for their brilliant bowling performance, as a result of which they were bundled out for 189 runs.
"All credit goes to their bowlers and they bowled really well," said Chandimal after the day's play. The last 2-3 days the pitch was under covers, and suddenly they took it off this morning. With the dew on the wicket, there was a bit of turn and the Indian spinners exploited it nicely.
"The wicket got dry in the afternoon and there was not much turn in the last session. And we didn't click as a batting unit. It can happen. We are looking forward to the next innings," Chandimal told the reporters at the post-stumps press conference at Galle on Wednesday.
Chandimal also praised Ashwin and other Indian spinners particularly because of whom they could not score freely.
"He bowled really well and the Indian spinners didn't give any pace to us. They bowled really slowly. As batsmen, it then becomes really difficult to get runs with the straight shots. We had to play the sweeps and the reverse sweeps. So all credit to them that they bowled really well," Chandimal added.
Chandimal added 79 runs with skipper Angelo Mathews when Sri Lanka were trying to fight out from the early debacle. Chandimal was also dropped by Wriddhiman Saha and surprisingly that was a straight forward catch behind the stumps of Ishant Sharma's bowling. Chandimal considered himself to be lucky. He also agreed that the wicket became better for batting in the second and the final session which made things easier for Kohli and Dhawan.
"There was moisture in the pitch and it turned more than we expected on the first day. When I was at the crease we talked about how we could get out of this bad situation. If a good ball came, we would end up with no runs and we would have given our wicket as well. We decided that if a loose ball comes, we would go after it. We tried to recreate a one-day match feeling. Unfortunately Angelo got out, otherwise, if we could have put on another 100 runs, it would have been a good total," Chandimal said.
"The pitch got better for batting after lunch, and then it got better again after tea. It was just a normal turn towards the end of the day. I think the next two days will be good for batting. We'll try to restrict India as much as we can and plan how to bat in the second innings," he added.
When India came out to bat they started off poorly as they lost the wickets of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in quick succession. After that it was captain Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan who built a 100-plus partnership to pull back the momentum in their favours. India now trail by 55 runs.