Ravichandran Ashwin's six wickets destroyed the Lankan batting on the first day of the first Test at Galle.

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle

GALLE: Sri Lanka batsman and wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal expressed surprise the way the Galle pitch played on the first day of the first Test against India.

Sri Lanka choosing to bat first were bundled out for 183 and by the close India had replied with128-2.

“We haven’t seen turn like this at Galle on day one. The turn we had here was the kind of turn you normally get on the fourth or fifth days,” said Chandimal at the end of the day.

“As a batting unit we didn’t know that beforehand. We know it now. We’ll try to restrict India as much as we can and plan how to bat in the second innings,” he said.

“We thought it would be good for seamers in the first session. They were bowling well and getting a lot of bounce. We didn’t think that there would be that much turn. Their seamers and spinners bowled well today. They didn’t give any space for us. They bowled really slowly. As batters it’s really difficult to get runs with the straight shots. We had to play the sweeps and reverse sweeps credit to them for bowling well.

“In the Pakistan Test series there were covers on before the Test as well, but we didn’t see that much turn then. Unfortunately they (Pakistan) bowled well, and we couldn’t bat well. Usually the team that bats first here has an advantage.”

Chandimal said that he and captain Angelo Mathews decided to attack and get quick runs. The pair figured in a 79 run stand that lifted Sri Lanka from 60-5 to their final total.

“There was moisture on 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 away. So we decided that if a loose ball comes we’ll go after it. We tried to create 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,” said Chandimal.

Ashwin inspired by Sangakkara’s wicket

India’s hero of the day Ravichandran Ashwin said that getting the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara in his first over helped him towards capturing six wickets in the innings.

“Two wickets had fallen and the seamers had done their job. Ishant bowled beautifully this morning. He was going to nick
a batsman off every delivery he bowled. After that my take was very simple. I just wanted to get into my stride pretty strongly and start with a good rhythm. Sangakkara’ wicket in the first over helped,” said Ashwin.

“From thereon it was about keeping yourself focussed and also about planning. You have your own game plan and you start chipping away. Then getting two wicket or three-wicket hauls, breaking partnerships, which is what i did with Angelo Mathews. I always plan my spells that way. You can be really relaxed, stay composed knowing that the next wicket is going to come rather than be in a hurry.”
Ashwin described India’s performance as “extraordinary” to bowl out a team in a day especially in sri Lankan conditions after having lost the toss.