Colombo: It may be Kumar Sangakkara's farewell game but the Indian team is all focussed on previous match's centurion Dinesh Chandimal with leg-spinner Amit Mishra vowing not to allow a repeat show by the Sri Lanka batman in the second Test, starting here on Wednesday.
Chandimal's unbeaten century helped Sri Lanka enforce a turnaround and beat India by 63 runs in the first Test after the hosts being in the dumps for the major part of the match.
Cricketer Amit Mishra delivers a ball at a practice session at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on August 5, 2015. Pic/AFP
"We have seen his videos and we will definitely discuss more about him in the team meeting. We will discuss how to bowl at him (if he tries a similar approach again). Fields will be set accordingly and the idea will be to try and restrict him to playing as few shots as possible and build as much pressure as we can. We will keep attacking him," said Mishra after practice at the P Sara Oval here today.
India have conceded a lot of wickets to spinners on their recent overseas tours. Moeen Ali and Nathan Lyon were two standout spinners against India in England and Australia. They also faced a stern test against Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal in the first Test. But Mishra said that the Indian batsmen do not lack the skill to play against spin.
"I don't think that Indian batsmen struggle against spin, in fact all our batsmen are among the best against spin. Whenever we bowl at them even at nets, it doesn't look like that at all. What happens instead is that sometimes you lose one or two wickets under pressure. Anyone can make mistakes under pressure but I don't think there is any lack of skill against spin," he said.
Mishra also said despite India's shocking loss at Galle, the team's morale was high. "We should have been more aggressive in our batting in the second innings at Galle and more positive. However, there is nothing lacking in team morale despite the defeat and we are looking to make double the effort in this second Test.
"We are playing Test cricket after a bit of a gap, so we made a few mistakes in Galle. But will work on them and improve. Whatever positives we got from that match, we will take them forward," said Mishra.
Mishra was praised by his skipper Virat Kohli as one of the two or three batsmen who showed resistance in India's second innings of the first Test and the bowler said that support gave him a lot of confidence.
"Virat always compliments my bowling and supports me. In the same way, when it came to batting, he told me to play my natural game and play positively. I batted that way, like I normally do, the way I know. When you get that backing from the captain, you stay confident always. Plus that's the idea of five bowlers that they should also get runs in the lower order and put pressure on the opposition. We are batting well in the nets," said Mishra.
Asked about the three-spinners' formula, Mishra said: "We talk a lot among ourselves, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, and also with the coaches. I enjoy bowling with them as they are both very experienced bowlers. We discuss at all times about what pace we should bowl at and which batsman is weak against what delivery. We discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and where we should bowl at them.
"Depending on the conditions and slow wickets here, we keep talking to each other. We support each other well. There isn't much pressure that there are three spinners, but there is a healthy discussion between us about how to bowl. The attempt is to take as many wickets as possible," he explained.
"We bowl in short spells because the thinking is we must not let the batsmen settle. The idea is that a four or five over spell is good to confuse the batsmen and keep changing the bowlers after that, so that he doesn't get comfortable."
Having made a comeback to India team in Galle after a four-year gap, Mishra said hard work in domestic cricket has finally paid off.
"Yes, I was a bit anxious in Galle because I was playing after four years. There was a little bit of pressure but I knew I had worked very hard on my bowling. All the players in the team were supporting me, especially Virat. After each ball, he was supporting and so were the coaches. Everyone gave me so much confidence that I didn't feel I was playing after four years. I think I bowled well in that match," he said.
"While away from the team, I worked on the feedback from different people that I am slow in the air. I spoke to my coaches and asked them at what pace should I bowl here. And whatever variations I have brought in my bowling, it's showing and I have worked hard on my bowling over the last year. Here batsmen are very good against spin and wickets are slower, so maintaining a particular pace while bowling is important and I am doing that. Now I will work on the feedback I have got from the last match and hopefully in the second Test, I will bowl better," Mishra signed off.
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