Playing pink ball under lights is tough - Karunaratne | Sunday Observer

Playing pink ball under lights is tough - Karunaratne

DUBAI, Saturday – Dimuth Karunaratne has one ambition – that is to become a complete Test cricketer, and he is making no bones at arriving there. So determined is he that put his heart and soul into arriving towards that goal.

“I am enjoying my Test cricket more than my one-day game. I am now fully focused in doing well in Test cricket. I am trying to get better and better. Want to be a complete Test player and I am getting there,” said Karunaratne after completing the seventh Test hundred of his 44-Test career in the ongoing second Test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium.

Karunaratne would have scored back to back hundreds had he not got run out for 93 in the first Test at Abu Dhabi which Sri Lanka won by 21 runs to go one-up in the two-match series. It was an innings that laid the base for Sri Lanka’s match-winning total of 419.

Karunaratne has never been a part of the one-day team although he was named in the 2015 World Cup preliminary squad. Considering Sri Lanka’s recent batting debacles in one-day cricket a batsman of Karunaratne’s calibre could be a steadying influence to the line-up to bat throughout the innings.

“I played quite well in the domestic one-day tournament and if the selectors want me to play ODI cricket I will do that. But right now I want to focus on my Test career,” said Karunaratne whose century in the Dubai Test has placed Sri Lanka in a position to push forward for a series clinching win.

“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,” he said.

Playing his first international match against the pink ball Karunaratne batted throughout the first day facing 281 balls to compile 133 not out. Although it was hard work in the middle, his innings has given the confidence to the rest of the batsmen on how to tackle the pink ball.

“Under lights it is very tough. (Mohammad) Amir bowled really well. (Mohammad) Abbas didn’t get much side movement earlier on. But he was tough to face with the second new ball under lights. It wasn’t easy,” said Karunaratne.

“I played a first-class game in Sri Lanka and got a hundred. So I had some confidence going into this game although what I played in Colombo was a day game,” he said.

“Mostly we played in the day time today and only the last session 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 a lot easier.”

The solid left-hander who has improved his batting as an opener over the years is the third highest run-getter in Test cricket for 2017 after South Africans Dean Elgar (1087) and Hashim Amla (900) with 870 runs (avg. 48.33) inclusive of three centuries.

A word about debutant Sadeera Samarawickrama who scored a run a ball 38 and was associated in a 68 runs second wicket partnership with Karunaratne.

“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,” said Karunaratne. “Once he gets more experience at this level he will convert them into big ones I am pretty sure.” 

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