Southampton: “Grass is for cows,” shrugged tennis great Ivan Lendl once after failing to win the Wimbledon tournament title in 1982. Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne almost sounded like Lendl after losing by 10 wickets to New Zealand in their opening match on a lush green pitch at the Cardiff Wales Stadium on Saturday.
Karunaratne revealed that in his wildest dream he did not think that the grass he saw on the pitch the day before the match will remain during the match too.
“I thought the day before yesterday when I saw grass on the pitch that it’s going to be cut. I did not think they were going to leave the same grass there,” he said.
Karunaratne feels that if the grass is going to be left like this in all matches, the teams batting first will get out for a poor score and World Cup will turn out to be boring. “I hope we get good wickets in the coming matches. In World Cup everyone wants to see a good match, good high-scoring match. So I think, hopefully, we get good wickets for the next few matches. We will try to do our best.”
A few Sri Lankan fans booed their team after the match but Karunaratne is not upset about it. “Everyone had come to watch a good match. They have come from far off Cardiff and they spend their time and money and they all had come here to see good match. They all want us to win, so I think losing doesn’t matter, but we need to give a good fight for them. I think that’s the main thing. If we get out like for 130 runs, you know, there is no match. It’s not a game, you know. We have to give them a good show at the end of the day.”
Since Pakistan got all out for 105 while batting first, will it be dangerous to bat first? “If you get wickets like that, yes, toss will play a crucial part.” How is Karunaratne planning to motivate the team after such a poor start? “We need to keep our chin up and play very well. We need to see what we have. We need to get some partnerships in the middle — those are the key areas. We’re looking forward to doing it.”