Virat Kohli changed the Kolkata Test, says Dinesh Chandimal


India were on the verge of a famous victory in Kolkata Test on Monday but bad light combined with some time wasted is banter and reviews made sure that Sri Lanka survive the final session and draw the first Test. The last hour of the match was tense as Sri Lanka tried to survive and Indian bowlers tried to pick the remaining wickets. Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said that his team were lucky to get out of it.

“The last few overs were very tense. Glad we got out of it. We were determined not to lose the Test match. Had we got more time, we could have tried and chased the target. We knew we had to face about 25 overs due to the light issue. We didn’t want to be negative. We wanted to play our normal game. A couple of dismissals were due to poor shot selections. We put in a lot of effort out there,” Chandimal was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.com.

Chandimal praised India’s new ball bowling pair of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar saying that this was one of the best bowling attacks he has played. He also said that Kohli changed the game.

“Certainly one of the best fast bowling attacks that I have faced. They are three different fast bowlers. Bhuvi sends the ball either way. Shami takes it away from the right-handers. Umesh brings the ball into the right-handers. That variation makes it tougher. What you didn’t see among Indian fast bowlers earlier was the pace and now they bowl with genuine pace.

“He is their main batsman. We always try to get him early and we discuss a lot on him at team meetings. Had we dismissed him cheaply today (Monday), we could have probably won this match. He changed the game. Certainly one of the finest batsmen around. He played some amazing shots today,” he said.

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella was seen involved in a banger with Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli during the final hour which delayed the result. Chandimal said that he did not find anything wrong with Dickwella’s behaviour.

“Dickwella loves a challenge. When someone gets at him, he finds he is in top of his game. He says that when opposition take him on, that brings out the best in him. I don’t think he did anything wrong. Each player is different. They said certain things and he reacted. I didn’t want intervene as he wasn’t doing anything wrong,” he said.

Sri Lanka were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series at home earlier this year by India but going by the first Test, they have competed well in Kolkata and Chandimal said that they planned a lot before arriving in India and they came to win.

“We planned a lot before we came. We always said that let’s play to win. That was a big help to get the players’ morale up. Apart from the last session, we put India under a lot of pressure. Change was that we believed we could compete. After we were whitewashed by India, we addressed a few areas. We felt that we played without any purpose. Before we went to UAE, we decided that we were going to win. We wanted to take the Test match to the final day. That was a big difference,” he said.

The Sri Lanka captain praised his bowlers, especially Suranga Lakmal, who put India under pressure for the first three days of the match.

“Suranga is one of my favourite bowlers and I really like and respect him. He gives hundred percent for the team on every occasion. In the dressing room, and on the field, he gives his best whether it is batting, bowling or fielding. He is a great asset for a captain as he shares lot of thoughts. Brilliant he was throughout the Test match,” he said.

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