Image courtesy of: Zimbio
After having converted only one of his six half-centuries into a triple figure score, there is no doubt why Sri Lanka opener Kaushal Silva has vowed to do everything in his power to improve that record.
Silva also knows that he cannot bank on half-centuries to cement his spot at the top of the order for the rest of his international career.
“I’m not satisfied with just hitting fifties,” Silva said. “I want the hundreds. I’ve done that at the club level and A team level, so I’m desperate to get over that hurdle here. Maybe there’s a lack of concentration sometimes. I remember sweeping to get out after I’d hit 95 against Pakistan, and another occasion when I played a bad shot in the 80s. But in those situations, I need to go on for the team’s sake.”
However, after having watched his opening partner Dimuth Karunaratne score a career-best 152 in the first Test against New Zealand, Silva is heading into the second Test with a newfound confidence.
“I’ve batted a lot with Dimuth at SSC, and he’s a batsman who has hit a lot of big hundreds at the A team and club levels,” Silva said. “I’m very happy for him about his first ton. It’s great for me, as we’re always talking about how we should negotiate those early overs.
“Watching him do that is a big challenge for me, because I’m thinking I have to do really well in the next Test as well. I’ve also been hitting 30s and 40s, and so the next target is something much bigger. I want to score heavily.”
Silva also pointed out that he and Karunaratne have to start compiling bigger opening partnerships since it takes the pressure off the other batsmen.
“The opening combination is very important to the team in a place like New Zealand, because we set things up for the whole batting line-up,” Silva said. “We really saw that in the second innings, where the tone for the innings was set by the partnership between me and Dimuth. In England we were able to have a few good partnerships at the top, and that was a reason for our success there.
“As an opener, my plan is to somehow negotiate the first 15-20 overs – to make the new ball old. The two of us were talking a lot about batting out that period. In these conditions, Trent Boult and Tim Southee are very good, but we thought if we rotate the strike and take quick singles, they won’t be able to bowl at a single batsman for a long time. Their rhythm can change then, which might lead to more scoring opportunities for us. That’s what our plan was in the second innings, and that’s what we will try to emulate in Wellington.”
While Silva has highlighted a lot of similarities in the conditions between England and New Zealand, he now knows what he has to do to prosper against the Blackcaps’ pace attack.
“There’s no huge difference between English and New Zealand conditions, but there is a difference in the attacks,” he said. “These bowlers pitch it up more than the England attack, and their swing is greater. The thing Boult and Southee do well is swing it late. I’ve never faced bowlers who swing it so late, and are still so accurate. They are both in the top-ten world rankings, and it’s a big challenge for us in these conditions, but we have the quality to counter them – I believe that firmly.
“In England there was more seam than swing, so here, we really have to be mindful of what our scoring areas are. We can’t drive as much as we do in Sri Lanka, so we have to identify those things. We’ve got to restrict ourselves to the good scoring areas, and only move to our normal games after we’ve settled down at the crease.”