As another 5-0 whitewash looms : Sri Lanka looking down the gun barrel | Sunday Observer

As another 5-0 whitewash looms : Sri Lanka looking down the gun barrel

A struggling Sri Lankan one-day team on the brink of another 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.
A struggling Sri Lankan one-day team on the brink of another 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.

SHARJAH, Saturday - Sri Lanka’s one-day cricket is at such low ebb that the word “whitewash” has now become a common trait in the team dressing room.

Everyone thought that Sri Lanka had got out of the losing trend when they beat Pakistan 2-0 in the two-match Test series and were looking to a good contest between the two sides in the ongoing five-match one-day international series.

But what has taken place so far is a far cry from the team’s Test achievements which by the number of ODI defeats is fast fading into history.

Sri Lanka find themselves 4-0 down in the ODI series and from the way they have batted so far another 5-0 bashing is in the reckoning. The fifth and final match is scheduled to be played at Sharjah on Monday.

The biggest problem confronting the team is the inability by the batsmen to form partnerships that would give them a decent total to bowl at the Pakistanis.

Totals of 209, 187, 208 and 173 are hardly going to bring you a win, let alone against a confident Pakistan team who are currently the ICC Champions Trophy champs.

The lack of support from batsmen is really having an overall effect on the team’s performance and why it is happening and why they cannot address this trend has placed the support staff and the players in an embarrassing position where they don’t seem to have any answers when they turn up at press conferences.

Lahiru Thirimanne who addressed the press conference on Friday after Sri Lanka had lost the fourth ODI to Pakistan by seven wickets said, “It’s very disappointing the way we have played. We have spoken a lot and chatted about how to go about things, rotating the strike and hitting boundaries and stuff like that but none is working for us at the moment. One more game left and we can’t let that game go. Somehow we have to win it.”

Where the Lankan batsmen have faltered is against the variations of fast bowler Hasan Ali and against the right-arm leg spin and googlies of Shadab Khan who between them have taken 20 wickets.

“Throughout the series we have struggled against them – both rotating the strike and hitting boundaries. Like I said earlier, we had discussions among the batting group as to what they do as a bowling unit,” said Thirimanne who scored his second fifty of the series and his fourth since his return to international cricket in August.

“Slow balls they bowl and tactics they follow. The reason is that we are struggling against their spinners that is why we are giving away wickets to Hasan. We can’t give up we have to play hard. I don’t think it is technical problem, but more to do with mental stuff. We have to overcome that. We have talent no doubt and we have won matches earlier.

This team is a good team. But these things keep on happening. We can’t let things drift.

“The batting has been disappointing especially in the middle overs. When you have good wickets against good attacks you should know how to score runs. Each batsman is different from the other. Players have a responsibility and as a batting group we have to be responsible for our mistakes. We all do make mistakes,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s has so far put together only three half-century partnerships in the series - two of them involve the eighth wicket and the other by the openers, but none from the middle order where the heart of the problem lies.