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POSTED AT 10:23 AM 21-02-2019

Smiling Sri Lankans seek series win

Second Test commences today:

Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

PORT ELIZABETH, Wednesday: Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne said on Wednesday he wanted his players to continue playing with a smile on their faces as they seek to become the first Asian team to win a Test series in South Africa.

Sri Lanka go into the second Test at St George’s Park on Thursday with an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the two-match series after their sensational, Kusal Perera-inspired one-wicket win in the first Test in Port Elizabeth.

“We came here to win matches,” said Karunaratne, who was handed the captaincy after Dinesh Chandimal was axed after losing a series in Australia last month.

“I just want to make sure the boys give their maximum each day.”

Karunaratne said enjoyment was a key factor.

“We have to keep our heads clear and play positively,” he said.

“We want to enjoy ourselves. You will see with our boys when they are playing they are smiling and cheering each other. If you are enjoying yourself you will play well.”

The Sri Lankan captain said conditions in Durban and those expected in Port Elizabeth were “much easier” than those in Australia, where they played on fast, bouncy pitches.

Although Sri Lanka were beaten by 206 runs on their previous appearance in Port Elizabeth two seasons ago, Karunaratne said they had played well enough to go into Thursday’s match with confidence.

South African captain Faf du Plessis said his players were “highly motivated” to square the series.