Nagpur: Sri Lanka batting coach Thilan Samaraweera on Saturday admitted that the current crop of batsmen has struggled against quality spin attack for the last two years and it will take some time before corrective measures can be taken.
A country which produced champion players of spin bowling such as Roy Dias, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, it has been sharp downward slide for Dinesh Chandimals men, who have consistently failed against Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
"This group in last two years has not batted well against spin. I have observed that and lot of work for us to do in the future," Samaraweera said after the days play. Ashwin and Jadeja shared seven wickets between them on the first day of the second Test.
"As I have said, in the last two years, we have had problems with spin. It is a major concern for me. Traditionally, we have been good players of spin bowling, but last two years we have struggled.
Asked how much time will it take for the Dimuth Karunaratnes and Niroshan Dickwellas to be quality players of slow bowling, the former middle-order batsman failed to give a particular time frame.
"I cant give a time frame as to when we can rectify. I need about four to five months to identify things. After this India series, we have two or three weeks before we play Bangladesh. Then we have Independence Cup (T20 tri-nation) and then we have a two-month break. Thats the time I want to address this issue.
"It is very hard to do these things when you are on tour. It will be a big challenge (to survive) over the next three days with rough and uneven bounce coming into play. When you are behind against worlds number 1 and 2 bowlers, you have to play your A game."
While Rangana Herath kept up the pressure from one end with disciplined figures of 1/45 in 24 overs, Dilruwan Perera was smashed for 117 runs in 21 overs. Was Dilruwan the weak link?
"With those figures, you can say that. But he bowled well in the past. Today India knew whom to attack. The two seamers and Herath bowled well, but unfortunately they attacked Dilruwan as most players are right-handed. All three (Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli) were right-handers and they handled the off-spinner well.
Samaraweera said that Vijay and Pujara gave a lesson on how to play spin. "When the field was up, they attacked and when the field was spread, they started grinding. That's the way to play spin bowling. They batted really well. Good Test cricket batting. They still managed to score over three runs an over and we can learn a lot."
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