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Dinesh Chandimal celebrates his century

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle

GALLE: Dinesh Chandimal said that he has accepted his responsibilities as a number four batsman although it was a very big void to fill after scoring a stroke-filled 151 for Sri Lanka on the second day of the first Test against West Indies at the Galle International Stadium.

“My role has changed over the last 12 months. You have to play with a lot of responsibility. Kumar (Sangakkara) and Mahela (Jayawardene) are huge players of our team. They have left a big void that’s hard to fill,” said Chandimal at the end of the day.

“For me having batted at number seven, to bat at number four is a massive difference. I need to build patience. That, I tried to do during training the results are there to be seen.”

Chandimal has been given the number four position which was occupied Jayawardene and before him former Sri Lanka greats such as Aravinda de Silva and Duleep Mendis.

“I am truly honoured to occupy such a prestigious position. They are all greats of Sri Lankan cricket. I want to develop from game to game and be consistent. If you take our history some of our legends have occupied that position and I am pleased,” said Chandimal.

Having faced stronger bowling attacks from Pakistan and India, Chandimal said it helped him during his innings.

“When you take Indian and Pakistani teams, both of them have good spin attacks. When we came to this series we had faced lot of quality spin bowlers and that could be one reason why we played the West Indies spinners so well,” said Chandimal.

“We also had a good training period before the series. We spent lot of time batting in the nets. We are benefiting from those results. Everyone is happy with the total we came up with.

“Before play started today our target was to get more than 500 runs and then give them to bar. But we collapsed and we couldn’t achieve it. But these things happen in cricket. But this is a good total and we are looking forward for tomorrow. We know the Galle wicket will turn. We want to bowl them out cheaply and if possible put them to bat again,” he said.

Chandimal forged a record breaking double century partnership with Dimuth Karunaratne who made 186 which laid the foundation stone for Sri Lanka’s big first innings score.

“It’s not an easy wicket to bat on, a bit slow. I tried to play straight and together with Dimuth I was able to put up a good partnership,” said Chandimal.

“Rotating the strike is the important thing. Then you can put pressure on the bowlers but credit to their bowlers for bowling so well. We had to do our basics and finally we had opportunities to score runs.”

Sri Lanka lead the West Indies by 418 runs going into the third day tomorrow.