Dhammika Prasad on song on the fourth day of the second Test at the P Sara Oval as he sends back another Pakistani batsman to the pavilion. AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka fast bowler Dhammika Prasad said that debutant Dushmantha Chameera’s extra pace was used to unsettle the Pakistani batsmen and the plan had worked accordingly.

“Before the game we had settled on a strategy for every batsman, and we worked on it. Chameera’s role was to unsettle the batsmen with his pace and he did that well. Each bowler had a role to play and as a group we executed that very well,” said Prasad who ended up with four wickets in the Pakistan second innings.

Chameera making his Test debut took three wickets in the Pakistan second innings bowling mostly around the 150kph mark.

“There’s not a big difference in the pitch. As quicks Dushmantha and myself we bowled in good areas. Our plan was to stop the runs from one end and attack at the other. Rangana Herath bowled well, and we did it together.

“We’re used to bowling in these conditions. The wickets keep getting slow and we don’t get a lot of quick tracks. From that experience, we know how to bowl here.

“Even when the pitch slows down on the fourth and fifth days, our bodies cannot, if that happens you can’t bowl well. No matter how slow the pitch gets, I try to give it my all,” Prasad said.

From just a support bowler Prasad has been pushed to become the spearhead of the bowling attack following injuries to Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal.

Over the years however Prasad has had a history of injuries that has kept him from being selected regularly. His biggest disappointment was to return home without playing a match during the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“Missing the World Cup was a big blow to me. It’s hard to explain exactly how difficult it was. Playing in a World Cup was my dream,” said Prasad.

“Though the tournament ended for me, my cricket career went on. The Pakistan series was coming up, so as soon as I recovered from injury, I began training hard. Because the Tests were up first, I bowled a lot of overs to prepare.

“My injuries were the reason I had to continually leave the team in the past. So I talked with the physio and trainer and figured out what I had to do to stop getting injured. We did work on that, and the result of that is that I am able to play for longer periods.

“Champaka aiya (Ramanayake) has done a great job so far. He worked with us earlier as well, so we had good relationship with him. We’re working with him very closely. He’s not doing too many things just telling us to stick to basics and do well, that’s it.”

The absence of fast bowler Wahab Riaz from the Pakistan attack Prasad said would be to Sri Lanka’s advantage when they begin their chase for 153 to win and level the three-match series one-all.

“Even at Galle he was quite successful. He’s a very good bowler. Chasing that score is not an easy thing. Our batsmen are in a good mental shape. We have some good batsmen. If we bat positively, we can reach that target easily,” Prasad said.