The second Test match - which happens to be the 100th Test for Bangladesh - is beautifully poised with both teams (depending on how they progress) having a good chance of winning it. At the time of writing the Bangladeshi's couldn't be blamed if they felt that they were the ones in front, though it's their batsmen that will have to shoulder the responsibility if the result turns out to be anything different. There were two crucial points in the Bangladesh innings that the Tigers will want to forget or regret if the Lankans win the second Test or manage to draw it. The first was the last half an hour on day two where the visitors went from a comfortable 194 for two to five down for less than two hundred.
Columns News - TALKING CRICKET
The first Test match as at the end of day four had the chance of a result and that was a distinct chance of a Sri Lankan victory. However, one wonders whether with the evening showers that was experienced on day three and four, whether this would be possible. In any event looking back at the game one has to accept that the plans laid out by the Lankans were perfectly executed and to a larger extent the rub of the green going the Lankans way.
After a very tough and challenging tour of South Africa where the Lankans endured great adversity in the Tests, they now enter the relatively cool and mild surroundings with a home series against Bangladesh. Playing at home in known conditions the Lankans obviously are expected to be the favourites as Bangladesh doesn't have anyone who could frighten a batting line up with his skill or intimidate them with aggression unlike some of the quicks of South Africa.
Sri Lanka's tour of Australia, despite it being confined to just three T20 games, will go down as a cherished and an extraordinary tour. After the disastrous tour to South Africa where Sri Lanka had very little to show, the Australian leg had a lot more reason to cheer and be enthusiastic of the future. I am a firm believer that to win a team needs heroes and the Lankans had one in Asela Gunaratne, a very unlikely hero before the tour started. Having failed to gain a seat on the plane to South Africa for the Tests, despite being in good form, Gunaratne's inclusion in the National side for the limited overs leg in South Africa had a lot to do with the disappointing performance of the established players than any real outstanding quality of him. The good thing however was his ability to hold on to a place and also going through to Australia and figuring in the opening T20 game. What he has achieved Down Under will be spoken of for a very long time irrespective of him figuring in the national set up or not.
Bad dreams sometimes can haunt you though some of them could just disappear with a new day. Then a brand new reality can dawn on you giving you hope and expectations for the future. The recent cricket played by the Sri Lankan National team could be described in such a manner. After a forgettable and poor tour of South Africa, the team has started off the short tour of Australia with a bang winning the first T20 game in a series of three.
Reading through the comments that appeared in the social media after the fourth ODI game despite the loss of Sri Lanka, was most encouraging and welcome. The insults, the harsh criticism seem to have evaporated and instead the team being hailed as heroes. The comments about Tharanga the skipper was the most noteworthy.
It is quite obvious that the Sri Lankans have not competed well at all in the One day series so far. No amount of criticism is going to help the team unless and otherwise they show the determination needed.
At the time of reading this column the opening One Day Game of the five match one day series between Sri Lanka and South Africa would be over. Whatever the result may be, my hope is that the Lankans will compete and run the South Africans close or closer than the Test matches. This belief is derived from the fact that the Lankans won the T20 series two games to one.
At a time when the Sri Lankan cricketers are being beaten in South Africa it is abundantly clear to all that the average fan is unhappy. Player bashing has been a common talking point with Social Media being the most vocal. Facebook and Twitter has been full of critical, insulting and sometimes very personal attacks on the players. There is no doubt that the average cricket fan on the street is unforgiving and very quick to react as cricket is a game that is idolized so much in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans possibly are the second craziest cricket country after India, with the players being virtually treated as Demi Gods! When the going is good, however, just like the recent series against Australia, the support and response is absolutely positive and maddening. However, it turns nasty when the shoe is on the other foot, as it is at the moment!
Defeat looks a possibility for Sri Lanka in the 3rd Test too considering the way the game has panned out so far. My assessment is based at the end of day two and the way the pitch has played at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, though the game has seen glorious uncertainties.
Losing a Test match inside three and half days wasn't the ideal start for Sri Lanka in 2017. This is especially critical as it did come on the back of losing the 1st Test in the series too and with this game the series is done and dusted for the visitors. The third and final Test starts on 12 January at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
It may sound as an insult or a lack of confidence in the team, but in reality the knowledgeable cricket fan, critique, player, coach, commentator, writer etc. etc. knew that the South African tour by Sri Lanka happening at the moment was a tough assignment. If Sri Lanka was expected to win the series then that was aiming too high. South Africa despite being depleted by the absence of some of their key players had just beaten Australia in Australia which was a massive confidence boost for the team.
Is India really as good as they look, in all ages of cricket or hasn't the other teams kept up the pace of progress? That's my question today as I attempt to understand how Sri Lanka lost the Youth Asia cup final played at the R.Premadasa Stadium under lights. The baffling thing about the whole affair was the way the Lankans surrendered from virtually a strong position and allowed India to get a foot in, from where India never looked back.
Sri Lanka's current tour of South Africa is possibly the biggest and the toughest this young team has encountered since their trip to England in May 2016. One has to understand and accept that England in May was different with many young players in the side struggling to find their feet and trying to make an impression in very difficult conditions. It was the type of tour that could have questioned the very ability of a player and also bring in a lot of self-doubts into their game. This is especially true when you come across conditions that are cold, foreign and bowlers who thrive in such settings. Anderson and Broad, though struggling in India at present, were menacing and challenging to the best in the world in cold and seaming conditions of England, and hence, the Sri Lankan players on that tour were no match to them at all. The defeat and the capitulation wasn't a surprise for the knowledgeable cricket fan, though it was quite obvious that Sri Lanka couldn't have got any worse from that pounding both in the tests and ODI's.
Looking at the Sri Lankan squad picked for South Africa confirms that the selector's job is never an easy task. Generally the job of a selector is dependent on both the positive and the negative aspects that govern a situation, and they should be mindful to maintain the correct balance when picking a squad. Obviously the selectors had the opportunity to pick the squad from a positive situation, where the selection options are healthy and good. Besides, one has to always assume that the selectors are the experts on the job and their decisions are based on the knowledge they carry, as well as in the best interest of the respective situation. Hence, the reason why such a decision may not be overturned even in a court of law despite all arguments one could have against such a selection.
The much looked forward to domestic tournament is just kicking off after a week's postponement. The tournament is bound to lose its sheen somewhat with the national cricketers being away on tour to South Africa, and then briefly to Australia. With the void left by sixteen cricketers, the expected competition is bound to suffer, though one has to look at it as an opportunity for the next rung of players to stake a claim in the bigger stage.
So it's Sri Lanka versus Zimbabwe in the Tri Nation Final today. It may appear to be a one sided contest, and it could surely turn out to be that way. This, only time will tell. However, that can never take away the achievements of the hosts of getting there against all odds.
After an impressive performance in the tests and a comprehensive win in the opening triangular series game, the Sri Lankans should be utterly disappointed with their effort in the outing against the West Indies. Whilst the Lankan bowling can't be faulted for the loss, the batsmen, who did impress up to that point, need to accept the full responsibility for the inability of the team to have overhauled a gettable score on a good batting surface.
Dimuth Karunaratne, though clinching the man of the series prize in the two Test series against Zimbabwe, was not the star for Sri Lanka. It was undoubtedly the diminutive skipper Rangana Herath who stole the show.
Being given the leadership almost at the eleventh hour one has to concede that getting one's mind around to such a job is never an easy task.
The series starting in Harare involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe may be a low profile one in keeping with the goings on in Test cricket elsewhere in the world; though, there is no doubting that the games will be every bit as important as one could imagine for both sides. For the two teams this is the first time they are locking horns in Test cricket since 2004, which is twelve long years.
LATEST NEWSRead More
- Cabinet approves President’s proposal 2682
- UNICEF appeals for US$1m funding for SL drought 2675
- Three nabbed brewing moonshine 2672
- Two nabbed with narcotics 2672
- Madras HC issues directive 2677
- ‘Bunty’ captured in Sellakataragama 2678
- JVP condemns Govt attempts to protect criminals 2679
- UK bans laptops and tablets on flights from six ME countries 2674
- Tax on Palmyrah industry hits Northerners hard 2677
- Highest number of TB patients in Kalmunai 2673
- Contradictory messages on transitional justice 2682
- Can China save the global order? 2673
- Russia in Libya 2672
- Cabinet approves Ravi’s proposal 2679
- Buddhika sets Parliament record for petitions 2677
- Police to guard girls’ schools 2671
- ‘Find a good lawyer’ 2670
- President receives warm welcome in Moscow 2668
- Wimal to stay hungry 2668
- Army Chief of Staff 2668
- Take legal action against Sri Lanka 2674
- Greek Bond purchases revealed 2669
- Court orders Army Chief to provide names 2670
- Amunugama to oversee Cabinet Subcommittee 2669
- Arjun’s cohorts attack Journalists 2670
- Nostalgia for Analog 2671
- An oasis in urban Madiwela 3213
- Western encouragement of terrorism 3754
- ‘ProNats’ class adores Gotabaya 3794
- Mangala & MR cross swords over latter’s statement 3802
- Dilemma of protecting freedom of expression 3514
- AA to send 12 Athletes for Asian Grand Prix 2802
- Junior Golf Championship from 18-21 April 2310
- Training Command win men’s/women’s titles 2310
- Milestone event on 26 March 2311
- Nestlè powers Kids Athletics 2309
- Ex-Wallaby details childhood sex abuse 2310
- Jaffna Prepares for Chronic Kidney Disease 2674
- A Blueprint for Disintegration 2672
- Refugee returnee safety still in doubt? 2673
- Tamils lived in N/E before Buddhistic era – Wigneswaran 2674
- Going Up Sir Arthur’s way 3506
- Island nation in Indian Ocean A big draw for US, China 3506
- We await President’s response – Gemunu 3091
- LTTE atrocities also have to be investigated 3696
- Exporters to EU must be educated on Brexit – GM ECCSL Srinath 3251
- Speaker refused our request 3267
- Dinesh only UPFA’s Deputy Leader 3263
- Voters must exercise caution when electing MPs – Harshana Rajakaruna 2560
- Forced family planning is happening countywide – Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera 3864
- ITAK’s arbitrary actions cause conflict in TNA – Sivasakthy Ananthan 3539
- NCSL for Sustainable Development 5199
- Major endorsement of govt’s reconciliation efforts 4697
- Manjula Amarasinghe new CEO of AM Kreations 2312
- Ceylinco Life honours 24/7 trailblazers of 2016 2310
- BOC Cards offer special discounts for Avurudu Shopping 2309
- BMICH remembers founder on Women’s Day 2309
- LAUGFS Eco Sri launches ‘YOU’ for Women’s Day 2309
- CEAT introduces 7 new tyre sizes Increases radial portfolio to 40 sizes 2310
- The crisis in Parliament: Twilight of a functioning democracy 3455
- Mispriced Risk of Infectious Diseases 2400
- Limelight on Sri Lanka again 2397
- Musicalized Version of Nostalgia 5215
- The Many Faces of Galle 6078
- Footpaths Towards Deconstruction - Part 13 5235
- Fiesta for Theatre lovers 5690
- Viramaya 2017 – Phenomenal success 5223
- Sri Lankan movie at Geneva film festival 5268
- To be or not to be 1289
- Kids get cooking 1287
- Mindfulness for successful living 1299
- The age of nastiness 1287
- 20 years of singing celebrated 1283
- How do we prevent rape and abuse? 1284