GALLE, Wednesday: Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya who took all five New Zealand wickets to fall on the first day of the first cricket Test here at the Galle International Stadium said that he was quite happy with his new bowling action.“I have totally forgotten the old action. Now, I am bowling with the new action but there is no big change and I get all what I want,” said Dananjaya at the end of the day.
“In the new action l am keeping my arm at a certain point and that’s the only change. Piyal Sir, (Wijetunge) helped me a lot after changing the action. I used to send videos to him and get a lot of information from him. I am really happy with my bowling after changing the action,” he said. Dananjaya was reported for a suspect bowling action last November at the end of the first Test against England at Galle.
Dananjaya ended the day with figures of five for 57 off 22 overs as New Zealand winning the toss and batting first reached 203-5.Dananjaya bowled in tandem with left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who went wicket-less for 73 runs.“It’s not easy to replace people like Rangana (Herath) and Dilruwan (Perera). We just planned to do what we can do and Lasith also bowled well despite not getting any wickets. If we had Rangana, we could have gained more information from him but this time around we had to do it alone,” said Dananjaya.
“We were trying to stop the boundaries as much as possible because it’s not easy to score in Galle. We were not much concerned with a single but the main concern was to stop the boundaries.”Dananjaya said that his stock balls were the googly and leg-spin with which he takes wickets.“I bowl the off spin more often than other varieties but shift to googly and leg spin when I want to take a wicket,” Dananjaya said.
‘CONDITIONS WERE TOUGH OUT THERE’
New Zealand middle-order bat Henry Nicholls who scored 42 in a partnership of 100 with Ross Taylor said that conditions were tough for batting in the middle.“The ball certainly spun a little earlier than we thought, but we expected it to be turning. The way Akila bowled throughout putting pressure on us it was tough,” said Nicholls.“There were also opportunities to score. It’s sort of a balance. When the ball got a little bit softer, we found it easier to score. That’s the case with these sorts of wickets. The pressure goes on the new batsman.”
“When me and Ross went out after lunch it was a case of keeping it simple and expecting that the ball was going to turn and beat the bat sometimes. It’s just being comfortable with that. We did a nice job for a while there. “If we were still three down at tea and at the close it would have been nice. But we still did enough by the close to take a lot of positives from that. Ross is still there and hopefully he can build that partnership with Mitch tomorrow,” he said.
Nicholls didn’t specify what sort of total they were looking at but said, “There’s not a specific number. First innings runs in this part of the world are massive. We’re expecting it will get harder to bat on. If you can get that first innings as big as you can, it makes things easier in the game in the third and fourth innings when the ball’s taking spin and the wicket’s deteriorating.”
Losing wickets towards a break was something Nicholls said that New Zealand will have to work on. They lost a wicket in the last over before lunch and before tea.“It’s important heading into breaks if we could have been three down or four down, that’s something as a batting unit we need to reflect on,” he said.