Mumbai:Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss on Friday made a candid confession that his team would have required 20 fielders to stop Virender Sehwag when the India opener went hammer and tongs after their bowlers.
Sehwag dominated day two of the third and final Test with an unbeaten 284 off 239 balls and nearly became the first cricketer to score three triple hundreds before falling seven-run shy of the mark this morning.
"Today Sehwag was out probably through exhaustion. In this innings it didn't matter what we did. We changed plans, we changed the length we bowled, but he was still about to hit the ball wherever he wanted," Bayliss said.
"It was one of those days where we wanted 20 fielders because he hit the ball so well," said the astounded coach.
Asked whether it was the best knock he had ever seen, Bayliss said, "I cannot remember too many more hard-hitting (innings). His ball striking was good to watch."
Sri Lanka finished the day 11 for no loss, still trailing the hosts by 322 runs but Bayliss felt his team possessed the quality of batsmen needed to save the Test.
"We are obviously a fair way behind. We got some hard work in front of us. But the wicket is playing well and our batting has been good throughout the series. We will look to bat well tomorrow and see where we are tomorrow night," said the Australian.
The Lankans are expecting the wicket to turn more over the last two days but are also confident of tackling the home team's spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha.
"Coming to day four and five, you expect the wicket to turn a bit more. Our players are good players of spin. Just because it's turning it would not make the bowlers' work easy. The bowlers will have to bowl well too. It will be a good contest," he said.
Bayliss was satisfied with the way his bowlers chipped away at the Indians to restrict them today.
"One thing I was happy with our players. Despite (India) being one down for 443 (at the end of yesterday's play), they kept trying and they didn't give anything away. This morning we kept it tight and didn't give easy runs and took eight wickets for 240 runs. I'm happy with that," he said.
The coach was also pleased with the way his team had bounced back after being down for the count in the last two Tests.
"In the last two tests, I think we have had one good day and one bad day with the ball. India's scores have been over 400 for the loss of one or two wickets in the last two Tests and then we have taken eight for 220 next day in the second Test. Today we have taken 250 for 8. To do that is a good effort. Unfortunately, it was followed by a day when there was some unbelievable batting," he pointed out.
Asked about the brutal assault by Sehwag on his star bowler Muttiah Muralitharan yesterday, he said that the bowler had a long career and has undergone similar treatment earlier too.
"Murali had a long career, has taken over 800 wickets. It is not the first time it's happening to him. But he's played long enough to know that if you keep trying the next day can be completely different. Today he got four wickets. He was very philosophical about what happened to him yesterday. That is one of the reasons he has taken (nearly) 800 wickets," he said.
Asked about the round-the-wicket bowling by Murali, the coach said it was done to keep the Indians quiet.
"We didn't want to give the batters any width on this surface. We wanted to bowl a bit straight today and it paid off. He's played for that long and he understands what succeeds for him. Today he bowled how he wanted to and it was successful for him," he said.
Bayliss said the tourists employed a field packed with fielders on one side in order to curtail the Indian scoring spree.