Colombo, Aug 23: Expressing disappointment of conceding an 87-run first innings lead to India in the ongoing second Test, batsman Lahiru Thirimanne on Saturday said Sri Lanka will now look to restrict the visitors to under 300 runs in their second essay here.
India ended Day 3 on 70 for one with an overall lead of 157 runs at the P Sara Oval. Earlier Lanka were bowled out for 306 in response to India's 393 in the first innings. Thirimanne rued the hosts' collapse after being placed well at 241 for three.
"We wanted to bat till lunch on Saturday. Angelo Mathews wanted me to bat positively but we had to face the challenges the Indian bowlers offered," said Thirimanne after the day's play. (Guard of honour for Sangakkara)
"As the day went there was some turn for the spinners but when they got the second new ball we threw the advantage away losing two-three wickets. We knew we had to get a 350 plus score in the first innings but we couldn't do that hopefully we can get some early wickets on Sunday morning.
"It will spin a little bit more but we have to get early wickets tomorrow. Hopefully we can restrict them under 300 runs. It will be a good score to chase," he added.
Mathews (102) and Thirimanne (62) put on 127 runs for the fourth wicket but couldn't do enough as they lost their last six wickets for just 47 runs. It handed the advantage back to India after the duo had scored 84 runs without losing a wicket in the morning session.
"It was doing a little bit for the fast bowlers. But after the first half an hour it was really flat. Ashwin and Mishra bowled really well at that time and there was a little bit turn. They bowled in good areas. We batted through that period really well but we couldn't capitalize on the start we got," said Thirimanne.
"When India got the second new ball, we threw it away. Our middle order didn't get enough runs but it happens in cricket," he added.
The match now hinges in the balance, perhaps a little in India's favour as they go into day four with nine wickets intact in the second innings. What sort of target they are able to set for the visitors will depend on the pitch as will the outcome of the match.
"It had a little bit slow spin sometimes. It's easy to pick the spinners when the ball is getting slower but when you get in initially you have to work on the pace of the wicket. For the batsmen, it is easier after you score 20-30 runs," said Thirimanne.