Sri Lanka attack can challenge South Africa in fourth-innings chase – Vishwa Fernando


“Maybe from a mental point of view we lacked a little bit, or maybe we don’t trust our technique”

Vishwa Fernando has warned that Sri Lanka’s attack is ready to tear in again and give South Africa “a good challenge”, if their remaining batsmen can muster a fourt-innings target worthy of the name.

Vishwa claimed his maiden Test five-for as Sri Lanka triggered a collapse of 9 for 84, after South Africa had been in a position of strength at 218 for 1. Sri Lanka’s captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, then led the way with the bat, finishing on 91 not out, as Sri Lanka edged into a lead with six second-innings wickets still standing.

“This is a pitch that helps the seamers, and if you bowl good areas then it definitely helps you,” Vishwa said. “I think if we get another 200-250 runs ahead, we’ll be able to give them a good challenge, with our attack.

“We had a simple plan. We cut down runs and built pressure. We talked about that at the drinks break in the first session [before which South Africa had scored 68 runs without loss]. That’s our simple plan. We had assistance.

“Tomorrow’s first session is decisive. If Dimuth aiya and [Niroshan] Dickwella bat well and stay in the game, they’ll give us a good chance.”

Vishwa played an instrumental role in Sri Lanka’s 2-0 win in South Africa two years ago, taking 12 wickets across two Tests as well as keeping Kusal Perera company during their extraordinary one-wicket victory in Durban, and said he had fallen back on that knowledge after claiming his best figures.

“That previous experience in South Africa was really helpful. I’m bowling to a lot of the same South Africa batsmen. We knew what their strengths were. It was a big advantage to have done well here before.”

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