“We were winning that game, but India managed to hold on for a draw. That’s the closest we have come to winning a Test match in India. Ashantha de Mel was superb that day. He was running in and bowling very quick. By any standards, he was a top class fast bowler,” he said speaking to Cricbuzz.
In that very match Duleep scored 105 in both innings that helped them set a target of 175 for the Indians. India had narrowly survived as they had slumped to 135/7. “Fortunately, it was a good wicket. I started off well having gone into bat with the side in trouble at 11 for 2. When I reached 30 runs, I was keen to score the half-century as it was long overdue. Once I got there, I had lot of confidence and things started clicking. I was going for the hundred and that was going to save my skin. It was my maiden Test hundred as well. Then in the second innings, we were under pressure as India had got a first innings lead of over 200 runs. Roy (Dias) was superb. We put on over 100-run stand. We had also added 150 runs in the first innings. We had quite a few good partnerships throughout our careers. It was so unfortunate that Roy missed the hundred by just three runs in the second innings. It was a pleasure to bat on that wicket. It was do or die for me and I was glad it all ended up nicely,” he added.
Sunil Gavaskar was the standing between Sri Lanka and victory. ‘The Little Master‘ scored 155 in that Test at Chepauk and made a difference. “He was a treat to watch. You can learn a lot by looking at him. How he absorbed pressure was superb. He makes it look so easy when put under pressure. All those runs he scored in West Indies against those fast bowlers during their peak was legendary. Was fortunate to see some of his brilliant knocks. He was world’s best batsman at that time,” said Mendis.
First Published: November 28, 2017, 9:00 PM IST