Sri Lanka opener Avishka Fernando says his improved fitness has made it easier for him to bat and field.
Fernando was left out of the squad entirely for Sri Lanka’s first two limited-overs assignments this year due to failed fitness tests.
In the last four ODI innings, Fernando has scores of 33, 50, 76 and 118.
He said yesterday’s match-winning century in sweltering conditions, was made easier by his improved fitness.
Avishka said “I missed a couple of tours because of my fitness, and I tried to learn from that. I managed to improve my fitness. Because of that it’s actually much easier for me to bat and to field. I see a big improvement there.”
He said he didn’t do a lot of specialist fielding training, but improved fitness, making everything easier.
Fernando struck up three productive partnerships during his 115-ball 118 yesterday, the best of which was the 97-run stand for the fourth wicket, with Charith Asalanka, who hit 72 off 62.
He said the familiarity he and Asalanka share at the crease was a boon to their partnership.
“Since we were 15 or 16 we played a lot of cricket together,” Fernando said. “We know each other’s games really well. When he’s batting, I might have something to say to him, and when I’m batting he’ll talk to me as well. There’s a good connection between us. When he and I got together, we’d lost three wickets, so we talked about batting together until the 41st or 42nd over. We knew that then it would be easier for the hitters lower down.”
Fernando meanwhile said the winning total Sri Lanka eventually put up exceeded the score he thought the team should aim for, early in the innings.
“When I started batting, I felt it was a good pitch to bat on, and what we had targeted was a score of about 270 or 280. But because we batted well we were able to go past that to 300.”