Sri Lanka continues not only to dream but also live it in the current series against Australia. A team that appeared to be yearning and crying out for heroes to emerge seems to have them in abundance. The country was raving about Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan not so long ago, and now they have got another one in Amila Aponso the left-arm spinner.
Columns News - TALKING CRICKET
If Sri Lanka expects the Australians to cave in during the One Day series as easily they did in the Test – I am sure it's a totally misguided belief. The Aussies – if one knows them correctly will want to hit back hard; as they are smarting after a very humiliating defeat. To be whitewashed by the seventh ranked Test team in the world is a bitter pill for them to swallow and it will take them some time to recover from the shock.
SSC, where the Headquarters of Cricket is located, has the opportunity for a perfect fairy tale ending to the Sri Lanka-Australia Test series. This important location could lend itself to a historic whitewash, or in this case, a brown-wash, of the World's No.1 Test Team.
How can one assess the performance of the Aussies on the current tour? No doubt it's very early days with so much of cricket left. However, watching the manner they have played so far, it's clear that the world doesn't have champion teams anymore. All they can throw up is good teams that know to win and win quite easily on their conditions.
The first Test was on a knife-edge going into the fifth and final day. In theory the game had the potential to go either way. There was a possibility of a draw, too, due to the weather.
Sri Lanka should be commended for the way they fought back. They will be really pleased in toppling the top Test Nation of the world, as from day one the hosts had the greater advantage.
The battle lines have been drawn and both Sri Lanka and Australia are almost ready to do battle as the series starts on 26 July at Pallekele. To start with, both teams have their line-ups sorted out, and who will make the final eleven as far as the hosts are concerned is an interesting decision. Let's not forget that Pallekele is in the dry zone and with the prevailing weather one can't expect anything other than a dry surface.
In my previous columns I touched on the need to develop captaincy skills and also what I thought was the bane. Whilst there is no doubt a clear dearth exists in this regard, it's fervently hoped that the people who matter will take note of our points. Sadly, sometimes it's commonly known that decision-makers hold on to the notion of them knowing everything and they couldn't put a finger wrong theory, which can be a massive detriment! Let's hope we will see progress at least in the school cricket front!
I thought of a continuation of the last week's topic and that is about the development of a school cricketer in Sri Lanka. The development I have meant here is in the area of thinking and captaincy. In response to my column last week I did have a few interesting calls and one particular call from a highly respected former Sri Lanka Cricket Official and ex Sri Lanka Air Force and Cambrian cricketer, interested me very much, as he did suggest a very novel method to develop thinking.
The Sri Lanka tour of England is almost at its end, and sadly, the visitors have nothing to show at the time of writing other than a few glimpses which were visible. Reading through the reports and the social media, it's clear that we hear plenty of rumblings in the background and also the blame game has commenced. For the Test debacle quite a few players were personally targeted, and now the pendulum seems to have stopped with skipper Mathews.
If the average Sri Lankan fan was buoyant by the performance of the Sri Lankan's in the three limited over games played up to Friday, i.e in Ireland and at Nottingham, sadly the fourth and the second in the five match series against England should go down as a truly forgettable effort! To be thumped by ten wickets surely doesn't reflect the difference between the two sides, though I must admit that the win was convincing and comprehensive for England.
CT Sports: Sri Lanka has started off their campaign for the One day series and the T20's on a good footing with their convincing win over Ireland. Though encountering the English could be an entirely different proposition, winning is always a good thing. At the time this column is read the series against the Irish would have been decided with the Lankans crossing the channel to be back in England for the curtain raiser on 21 June.
Writing about the Lords test match at the end of day two is not an easy task. However, one can make an assumption based on what is in front of them! My guess is that the test match will be a high scoring draw or Sri Lanka has an excellent chance of pulling it off. By the time you read this, one will be able to safely understand where the game is heading as it would be day four and a day to go!
Lord’s here we come!
Sri Lanka goes to Lord's with renewed confidence and self -belief than Leeds to Durham when they were beaten inside three days by innings with plenty to spare. At Leeds they were wounded and blown away and the confidence level at an all-time low and not sure of what to expect at Durham. And when they turned up in the North of England the weather that greeted them which was one of the coldest for a very long time didn't help them either.
Sri Lanka should perform better at Chester Le Street in the second Test match simply due to the conditions not being as dangerous as Headingley. If we revisit the first Test where the Lankans were annihilated, one has to concede that the batting conditions weren't the best, and Anderson and Broad were in a league of their own! Whilst it's easy to criticize the Sri Lankan batsmen, which I don't hesitate to do, there is very little doubt about the quality of the bowling and the conditions of the pitch! One has to accept that Anderson is easily the best fast bowler in the world and this is very true especially in English conditions, and he with Broad are the most potent new ball opening partnership in Test cricket today. And when a young and inexperienced side is up against such an attack the results could be one sided.
Hero's could be born for Sri Lanka. By the time this column is read, and unless a hero or two appears for the visitors in their batting department, the Test match should be over!
May be the only other factor that could prevent a victory by England is the fickle weather prevailing at Headingly! Sadly for Sri Lanka its worst fears were confirmed and England's decision to start the series in the North of England fully justified. It was clear from the outset that England's plan was to bring Sri Lanka to Lords during June with possibly one or two down and fighting with their backs to the wall! The performance so far, especially in the batting department, appears to be hastening the process in the opening Test.
Kusal saga resolved
Kusal Perera, the much spoken off puzzle, has finally been resolved. Thankfully he is back and ready to take on the mantle of batting at the top of the order for Sri Lanka. One hopes that the ODI and T20 series against England will be the returning point of the exciting Kusal. Whilst the entire nation badly needing a hero for its cricket is rejoicing at the return of Kusal, one needs to really understand and also applaud the hard work that was carried out behind the scene.
Sri Lanka will just be eleven days from the first Test by the time you read this article. Judging from what we have heard and seen about the weather it's cold, and also in some parts of the country it's snowing. It isn't ideal if you are a touring party from the subcontinent which is exactly what the Sri Lankans are.
The squad to England has been named and I am sure there were a few eyebrows that were raised by the names in it. It's interesting to find out the participation of the members of the selection panel who were instrumental in picking the final squad, as I am sure the input of Aravinda De Silva and Kumar Sangakkara too were sought when the final decision was made.
CT Sports: We did discuss the Sri Lanka tour of England in our last column, and also suggested a few names that have to be included going forward. It's most encouraging to note that the provisional squad of twenty named for the tour for the Test series has some of them and appears to be near certainties for the tour.
CT Sports: With the month of May approaching which is when the Sri Lanka tour to England happens the National Team is once again in for some exciting and interesting times ahead.
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