“We had a bad series against India. We want to desperately win this series.” © Getty
Pakistan have an unblemished record in UAE having not lost a Test series since adopting it as their home ground in 2010. That record, though, is at stake with Sri Lanka leading 1-0 in the two-match series following their 21-run win in Abu Dhabi. To back that up, the tourists finished in a strong position at stumps on day one in the second Test in Dubai on Friday (October 6) with 253 for 3.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne was the star, posting his seventh Test hundred, remaining unbeaten on 133 with 15 fours and a six. Sri Lanka have not won a series overseas against a team ranked higher than them since overcoming England in 2014.
“We had a bad series against India. We want to desperately win this series. We are hungry. We just want to play our best and give our best and win the series. We are taking one day at a time. On day one we have done well and hopefully we will do well on day two as well,” Karunaratne said.
Karunaratne has had a prolific 2017 and he is the third-highest run-getter in the world in Tests with over 800 runs. Only South Africans Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla have scored more than him this year. Given his good form, many expected him to be part of the one-day outfit as well, but was overlooked for the five-match series.
“I played quite well in domestic one-day tournament as well. I am enjoying my Test cricket more than my one-day game. I am now fully focused in doing well in Tests. Want to become a good Test cricketer and that’s my main focus now,” Karunaratne added.
This is Sri Lanka’s first day-night Test match and Karunaratne was happy with the way things progressed. ” I played a first-class game in Sri Lanka back with the pink ball and got a hundred. So I had some confidence going into this game although what we played in Sri Lanka was a day game. Today only the last session was under lights. The first four hours it was nice and smooth but the last two hours were tough. When the new ball gets softer it gets lot more easier to score runs,” Karunaratne went on to say.
Karunaratne added 68 runs for the second wicket with schoolmate Sadeera Samarawickrama and was happy with his start. “He was the highest run getter in first-class cricket last season. He played well today. I tried to give him confidence and he was very positive. I told him just to play his game. He had no fear and was very comfortable. Once he gets more experienced in this level he will convert them into big ones I am pretty sure,” he added.