A missed opportunity for Sri Lanka

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So it's a drawn series across all formats. That's the final result in the series between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Whilst it's a massive achievement for the visitors, the hosts will have much to look at to understand the major flaws in their game. We have attempted to analyze the Test series and the One Day series in our past columns though we hadn't taken a closer look at the T20 games which was the last leg of the series.

As for the series itself and speaking to some of the senior players in the Bangladeshi line up, it was clear that Sri Lanka were the clear favourites going in to the Tests and the T20's, though they felt they had a more than better chance in the ODI's. If one were to conclude the results from that perspective, then despite a drawn series in all formats, Sri Lanka should consider themselves as the actual losers or more like the ones who lost the opportunity. If one tries to understand this situation in a business sense then it's a case of being loss of profit than a real loss though both situations are unhealthy. Sadly at the moment the health of Sri Lanka can't be anything other than unhealthy judging by their performances against Bangladesh.

In the T20's and more directly in the second game, the hosts can only blame themselves for their defeat. I definitely don't think that the set target of one hundred and seventy six was beyond them.

To begin with the spell of Lasith Malinga when the Bangladesh batsmen were running away with the game, was magnificent. When the visitors reached the three figure mark with just two wickets down and in the first 10 overs, Bangladesh in the ideal world would have reached a score of around one hundred and ninety to two hundred. The combination of Malinga and Kulasekara ensured that it wasn't the case which gave the Lankans the opening they wanted.

And what Sri Lanka needed was the solid base in the batting where the final assault if needed could have been launched by the power hitters of the calibre of Thisara Perera and Seekkuge Prasanna. But the outcome of the innings turned out to be something completely different. I still debate as to whether the credit of the dismissals of the Sri Lankan openers should go to Shakib or to bad batting.

Munaweera on the other hand after his cracking drive for four attempted a slog sweep which was completely uncalled for.

Tharanga batting at three surprised me with his approach. Rather than adopting a measured approach, he was like an express train looking to dominate the bowling without ever getting in to a proper batting rhythm. Then the Lankan's situation was compounded by Gunaratne and Siriwardane getting out to consecutive balls.

On the positive side, it is my view that Chamara Kapugedera is now matured sufficiently to shoulder a greater responsibility in the Lankan batting. His knock which gave him his first half century in T20 cricket was of immense value and had there been some help, could have got Sri Lanka closer: May be its time for him to play the fifty over format too. Another player who has definitely come through leaps and bounds is all rounder Thisara Perera. His batting in this series boarded a specialist batsman, judging by his stroke play. He has supplemented his power hitting which used to be generally over long off and long on with a greater range of strokes and the return he has had in the limited over series bears testimony to the fact.

Overall as I said before, Sri Lanka should be disappointed with their returns in the series against Bangladesh, especially having played it in their own backyard. With greater challenges in tougher conditions in store for them next, the Lankans definitely have plenty of work to do and I am sure they know it.




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