"The first hour of tomorrow is very important for us" — Herath
By Ryan Francis | November 26, 2012
Rangana Herath is confident that Sri Lanka can avoid the follow on. © AFP
Sri Lanka’s top-heavy batting line up was in tatters at the close of play on day two of the second Test against New Zealand in Colombo, but their star with the ball, Rangana Herath, is confident the hosts can overcome the early hiccups to avoid the follow-on and surpass New Zealand’s first innings total of 412.
Sri Lanka’s three key batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene fell before reaching double-figures, leaving their middle-order with 170 more runs to get just to avoid the follow-on.
Herath, who recorded his sixth five-wicket haul for this year, said that his side "trusts" the rest of Sri Lanka’s batting to take them past 400.
"We are not looking at the follow-on target because we know the capability of our batsmen. If we bat well, we can go past 400 and past their score. We trust our batsmen to be able to do that," he said.
"The first hour of tomorrow is very important for us. We have to make sure that we don’t give away a wicket in that period and we score as many runs as we can."
The left-arm spinner said he was certain that Sri Lanka could repeat their performance at Galle, where Angelo Mathews and captain Jayawardene combined to rescue them after the early fall of wickets.
This time, however, Mathews will not have the services of Jayawardene and are faced with a much larger total to contend with. Thilan Samaraweera, who has been prolific in the five-day format, is yet to bat and was held back after Jayawardene’s wicket after the 36-year-old split the webbing between his fingers while trying to take a catch earlier in the day and required stitches.
"I think we should have been a little more cautious in batting than we were today, but mistakes can [happen] in any match. The most important thing is not really what happened, but how we are going to recover from this situation," Herath added.
At the end of day two, Sri Lanka are trailing New Zealand by 369 runs with seven wickets in hand. Opener Tharanga Paranavithana (9) and Mathews (20) remain unbeaten at the crease.
Sri Lanka lead the series 1-0 after their 10-wicket win at Galle.
© Island Cricket