Atapattu: A Sri Lanka win is still possible

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Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has not given up on his side winning the first Test against South Africa in Galle, despite needing a record-breaking score on the final day, and still 260 runs behind.

Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has not given up on his side winning the first Test against South Africa in Galle, despite needing a record-breaking score on the final day, and still 260 runs behind.

The Proteas declared on day four, setting the hosts 370 to win on a ground that has never seen 300-plus in the fourth innings. The hosts reached stumps on 110 for one, with Kumar Sangakkara on 58, and the coach was confident of success.

Atapattu said: "It's a challenging total. A team hasn't gone past 300 in the fourth innings at this venue, but we've got a team inside the dressing room who're willing to fight. That I can guarantee you.

"We're aiming to get the amount of runs but we'll fight to get through the first session tomorrow and see where we'll be placed at."

When told that the highest successful fourth innings chase at Galle was 96, he said: "I haven't seen that stat, but that is something I'll look into and probably have in the dressing room for all of us to be motivated.

"It's good to know that people have done it, but even if someone hasn't done it – it doesn't mean that you can't do it. It's all in the mind and how you think and the confidence levels.

"In a situation when you have the whole day to get the runs – don't get me wrong, it's not easy or guaranteed with the attack they have – but there is a chance. It's a bold declaration from Amla, encouraging us to go for our shots.

"Their bowlers might have a few more chances from our batsmen, going for shots. After the first innings when South Africa got to 255 on the first day, for the game to be poised at this position, is a credit to both teams and how they've played."

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