Kusal Perera a half-century on his Test debut against India at the SSC

Sri Lanka’s new wicket-keeper batsman Kusal Perera is of the view that the fourth morning of the third and final Test against India at the SSC grounds would be crucial to his team if they are to press for a win.

“They bowled a lot of good lines, and the pitch is quite lively. The match is open now. We’ve taken three wickets already. If we take two wickets in the morning, there’s a big chance we can win this match,” said Perera at the end of an extraordinary day’s play where 15 wickets fell.

“The morning session is crucial for us. If we get two or three wickets, there’s a good chance.”

Perera went onto make a valuable run-a-ball half-century on his Test debut. It was an innings that helped his team avert a possible follow-on after they had been reduced to 47-6.

“When I went to bat there were a few nerves. It was 45 for 5. My role was to score as many runs as possible. That’s what I tried to do,” said Perera.

“The wicket was quite lively. There’s a chance to give away your wicket – but when you bat for a bit, it also becomes decent for batsmen. We have to be positive, but if we’re too aggressive early, you could lose a wicket, because they are bowling good lines.

“We have to respect the good balls and hit the loose ones otherwise we can’t put them on the back foot,” he said.

Perera received good support from Rangana Herath who went onto score 49 out of a partnership of 79.

“Rangana made it easy for me, because by blocking up an end, I was able to go for my shots. There wasn’t much pressure on me. I wasn’t afraid to give him the strike because he was batting well,” Perera said.

At the end of the third day India led by 132 runs with seven wickets in hand.