Colombo: India opener Virender Sehwag would be the key man and getting him out early tomorrow will a major hurdle for the hosts in the third cricket Test, feels Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera.
Samaraweera, who made an unbeaten 137 to steer Sri Lanka to 425 in their first innings, said tomorrow's morning session will be crucial as it will decide the course of the match.
"(Pragyan) Ojha bowled really well throughout the innings, so did Ishant (Sharma). But Sehwag seems to be the major hurdle. If he gets out a lot of things will turn around. He is the key man for us in this wicket which is totally different from SSC," the right-hander told reporters after the second day's play at the P Sara Oval.
"Still we are ahead by 250 runs. If we can take couple of wickets, we are in the game. Suraj (Randiv) is bowling really well and at the moment it's very difficult to play him. Who knows, 250 is a long way to go," he said. Sehwag was at his blistering best today as he led the Indian fightback with an unbeaten 97 that came off just 87 deliveries.
However, the dashing right-hander was lucky to get a life as he was dropped on 52 by Angelo Mathews but Samaraweera said such missed chances are part and parcel of the game.
"That's part of the game. In this pitch you can take a wicket anytime. There's a bit of movement and it is also two paced. Sometimes you take brilliant catches and sometimes you take difficult catches," he said. Samaraweera said his today's hundred was special as it came in difficult circumstances and in trying conditions.
"Three 70s I scored against India, but I concentrated a lot today and in the first hour I thought they bowled well with the new ball. With the spinners coming, I was free to play my strokes," he said.
"I have got some hundreds at crucial moments, especially when top order has not scored runs. I don't think I have got runs when the top order has scored. I have scored runs when they were important for the team but this is a special one because this is a real Test wicket. Your skills are tested here unlike in SSC. I am very happy to get a hundred here.
"The thought process was that I had to bat through Ojha. He was little difficult to handle that was the reason," he added. The Sri Lankan right-handed batsman said 400 plus is a good total in this wicket which would be difficult to bat on in the fourth innings.
"We thought that 400 plus is a good total on this wicket as India are batting fourth. Unfortunately Prasanna and Angelo got out. Suraj is also a good player. He has got a first class hundred but after him it was difficult to score 500," Samaraweera said. PTI