Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Pradeep was the pick of the bowler for the hosts in the first Test at Galle against India. With other bowlers struggling, Pradeep picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket versus India as he finished with the figures of 6/132 in the first innings. Speaking about his effort, Pradeep has expressed delight at taking the prized scalp of Indian captain Virat Kohli in the series-opener. "Kohli is one of the best batsmen in the world. I am very happy to have got him out like that. For a batsman like him, we plan a lot. It was one of our plans that worked against him, and I'm really happy about that," he said after day two.
Pradeep had dismissed Kohli yesterday when the star batsman mistimed a hook off a short ball. Asked about his effort overall, he said: "It is special. But I didn't start well. I got some rhythm as I kept bowling more and more overs.
"We came to the match with a plan. But the way the match went and given the state of the pitch, we had to change our plans. Some of the things we did didn't do well. I did as well as I could."
Pradeep took 5-88 before lunch as Sri Lanka mounted a comeback in the first session. His previous best was 4-62, also against India at the SSC in 2015.
"Because I took four wickets a lot of times and missed out on the fifth, today was the day that I worked out how to get a five-wicket haul. When you get four wickets, you have to bowl 15/16 overs, and you're very tired after that. If you're bowling more than that you still have to maintain that intensity and still bowl quickly. I think I did that today.
"Earlier, I think I couldn't get to that fifth wicket before because of tiredness," said the pacer.
But Hardik Pandya's maiden half-century led India to a huge total. Thereafter, Sri Lanka's top-order succumbed to pressure from the Indian attack and were left fighting for survival at the close of play.
"No, we can't be happy about the state of the match. A lot of our plans went badly. We had to go to new plans but they didn't always work as well. But cricket is like that and you have to stick with it. At least we could get them for 600 runs.
"At the moment Angelo Mathews and Dilruwan Perera are batting well, so tomorrow hopefully they will stay at the wicket and bat well until lunch. If we can bat until tea we might be able to escape danger," added bowling consultant Chaminda Vaas, who had accompanied Pradeep as the translator.
(With PTI Inputs)