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Lakshan Sandakan's 4 -for best by a chinaman on Test debut

PALLEKELE: Sri Lanka’s new bowling ‘find’ Lakshan Sandakan said that it was hard to explain how he felt when he was told that he was playing in his first Test against Australia at the Pallekele Stadium.

“Australia are the world number one team and everyone wants to do well in Test cricket against them. I got an opportunity and I wanted to do well. Hard to explain how I feel,” said Sandakan after taking four wickets for 58 to dismiss Australia for 203 on the second day.

“Rangana (Herath) was a huge support. He told me how he did it when he played his first Test and what to expect. I thought I had a good day.”

Sandakan did not have to wait too long for his maiden Test wicket which was Mitchell Marsh whom he dismissed with a peach of a delivery in his sixth over. The batsman failed to pick up his wrong ’un and was bowled off stump.

“Mitchell Marsh is a guy who can play the anchor role. It’s a big wicket. Dismissing him was special,” said Sandakan. “I bowled a googly to the other batsman (Adam) Voges. He got beaten and I thought that I can take a wicket by mixing it up and I was able to fox Marsh and get his wicket.”

“I wanted to be the first chinaman bowler to play for Sri Lanka. That dream became a reality yesterday. Rangana was giving me a lot of tips. He wanted me not to get over excited and told me to stick to the basics. There was lot of support from the seniors and the captain too,” said the 25-year-old spinner who has played three years of first-class cricket for CCC and was the leading wicket-taker in the domestic cricket for the past two years.

He took 54 wickets in his first season, 45 in his second and after working a lot on his fitness with Chandrishan Perera at CCC and national spin coach Piyal Wijetunge and other coaches he won the Best Bowler’s Award last year with 52 wickets.

Educated at Karunaratne Vidyalaya, Mattumagala and coming under coaches Buddhi Prasanna and Madawa Mihran he was spotted by provincial coach Keerthi Gunaratne who took him Sanjeewa Mendis who helped him to get to De Mazenod and play first eleven cricket.

Sandakan is of the opinion that Sri Lanka will need to get something like 250 to 300 runs to be in with a chance of winning the Test. “The wicket I am sure will get drier and we have a good chance to win if we get more than 300.” – ST