Colombo:Paceman Zaheer Khan feels it would be difficult for Sri Lankan batsmen to build a substantial lead on "a good Test match wicket" in the third and final cricket encounter on Sunday.
"It is a good test match wicket. If you are a batsman you really have to work hard to get going. I think it is a very good Test match wicket," he said after the hosts took a two-run lead with four wicket still in hands in the series deciding match.
Sri Lanka were 251 for 6 in reply to India's 249 on the second day of the tie. "First things first. We have to get them out as early as possible, without letting them get a big lead. That is what we are going to look for tomorrow," Zaheer said.
"First session is crucial tomorrow. From there we have to bat really well and put up a good total. So that they have to bat last on this track," he added. Zaheer said the game was evenly poised and he was hopeful that the game would be in India's favour.
"We are very hopeful for tomorrow. The game is evenly poised now. Today a few decisions went here and there but we were really giving our best. It could have gone either way from there. We have to wait and watch how the game shapes up tomorrow," he said.
Asked if the pitch helped him and Ishant Sharma, he said "on any wicket you just have to run and give your best bowl in good areas and be patient and wait for batsmen to make mistakes. That is what we have been doing. And it worked for us today."
Zaheer said the team was not worried because of injuries to Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Ishant, VVS Laxman and Parthiv Patel. "Not really," he said hoping that fellow pacer Sharma, who was injured while fielding, would be back tomorrow. "We will see tomorrow. We are very hopeful that he will be back. Let us see how it goes."
On Kumar Sangakkara's unbeaten 107, he said "It is a very important innings he played today, very important from Sri Lanka's point of view someone to continue and hang in there. That is exactly he did out there". About his batting stint yesterday, Zaheer said he played the ball one at a time.
"I just applied myself there. Things went my way. I was just playing one ball at a time and it worked for me." On facing Ajantha Mendis, he said "It is his early days in Test match cricket. He has had a wonderful series so far. I was just playing one ball at a time. Trying to play on line."