Need to score 350 in the first innings - Chandimal

India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Delhi December 01, 2017

This has been a tough year for Sri Lanka, and numbers will not hide that. The seven Tests they have lost this year is the joint-most they have lost in any year. Given how the contests between these two sides have gone over the rest of the year, they are odds-on favourites to hold the ignominy exclusively. To make it worse, they are doing so in a tour where the opposition has spoken less about them than its next opponents. It becomes all the worse when you are a young captain of a side with a glorious past. As Asanka Gurusinha, the manager now but a reminder of that glorious era, watched on, the young captain Dinesh Chandimal was asked how he manages to motivate himself and his team to train and prepare for yet another difficult Test.

Chandimal looked to matters beyond cricket for an answer. "In our life also we have ups and downs," he said. "The thing is, if you are losing and if you are going down, you learn so many things about how to come out of it. I learned a lot of things in the past also when I was captain in 2014, and have executed them till now. It's a hard time for the team but I have a really good feeling we can change these things going forward."

Asked if they feel disappointed as opponents when the hosts are not talking about their first full tour in eight years but about their next series. India have rested a key allrounder in Hardik Pandya, and have asked groundsmen to give them pitches that prepare them for South Africa as opposed to giving them home advantage. Chandimal chose to not comment. "That is up to them," he said. "They are thinking about the next series but we as a team are thinking about this series, and we are thinking about each and every game. About how we can win. We can't control what they think. As a team, we can control what we can control."

Chandimal did allow himself a chuckle, though. "If you look at the wicket here, I am not sure they are preparing for South Africa," he said. "It looks like a Nagpur pitch. The Kolkata pitch was similar to South African pitches but these two are not like that. I am also surprised they are saying they are preparing for South Africa but they are giving these pitches. We never underestimate any team and we need to give our best."

For improvement, Chandimal looked at the batting, especially in the first innings. "It was a bad loss in the second game," he said. "Actually, as a batting unit, we need to do well. Especially in the first innings we need to score a big big total. At least 350. Then we can at least stay in the game. Batting unit let us down in that game. I am sure we can come up with very good plans in the next game.

"We had a really good chat after the second Test and really good meetings as a team. We have something up our sleeve. I am sure they [batsmen] will come up with different ideas in the next game and perform at their best."

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