Sri Lanka needs to rebuild | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka needs to rebuild

17 January, 2021

When the chips are down, it’s time to step back and take stock and embark on corrective action. The South Africans made mincemeat of the Sri Lanka team with a clean sweep of the two Test series. Embarrassing as this is it is also an opportunity to rebuild from the ruins we see.

Accepted that one team must win and one team must lose. But to lose without being competitive and not proving worthy opponents at the highest level is disgraceful and a shame not only on the players and the cricket fans but the country at large that has a great record.

Watching the cricketers in action before they were injured and taken out with more than two days to spare was most shameful and disgusting and unacceptable to say the least.

We took with us 21 of the best available players who were as good as the best or even better. To make excuses that it was a second string that played in the final Test cannot be accepted.

It was laughable to hear the players making a lot of noise and in an attempt to inspire the team on the field and shouting – Ender Lamai – come on children! Those watching and listening in addition to laughing their sides out would have been wondering how –Lamai- children could play at this level. It was a mockery.

In the past skipper Arjuna Ranatunga when interviewed would say the boys –Kollo- did well etc which was also laughable but had better meaning and better acceptance.

The two Tests that were over with more than two days to spare, caused losses all around. With no spectator money coming in with matches played to closed doors because of the dreaded corona virus, cricket boards, sponsors, advertisers and the TV sponsors would have suffered big losses.

For the players it would not have mattered because they earn their match fees and benefits.

A point to ponder would be to reduce the players’ match fees when they fail to take the Test to the final day. A penalty like this should spur the players into putting better efforts than crumbling like novices and shaming themselves and the country.

Another joke doing the rounds is this. Kusal Mendis who has a lot of batting talent kept failing not scoring. It made a wag comment – ‘Mendis is failing because the accident when driving on the wrong side of the road and killing a cyclist is haunting him’. Again he was out without scoring against England on the first day. It will be interesting to see for how long the selectors will persist with him.

It is hoped that Mendis would shed this curse and score the heaps of runs expected from him in the future and add muscle to the batting that is fragile.

The two Fernandos, Vishva and Asitha impressed as new ball bowlers. Visha seems to have improved tremendously after being coached by former expert left arm champion opening bowler Chaminda Vaas. But how come Vishva did not play in this Test? Leg spinning all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga will lead the spin attack with either Embuldeniya or off spinning all rounder Dilruwan Perera for support against England.

This was written at the end of the first day’s play in the first of two Tests against England and what one saw was another gutless batting display after winning the toss and batting first to make a beggarly 135. Sri Lankan schoolboys would have batted better. Captain Root 66 and Bairstow 47 batted sensibly and took England to 127 for 2 by the end of the first day.

With playing at home and on pitches and conditions to lose the series to England would be a calamity.

Although it is not a written law, home curators are expected to prepare pitches friendly for the home team. And it was no different this time around and it was simply very poor batting by the Lankans.

As for England led by batting ace Joe Root they will want to add to their victories. Root has given the necessary strength to the batting with the experienced Johnny Bairstow also being among the runs.

But England will certainly miss the punishing all rounder Ben Stokes. Stokes can turn a game around with his destructive hitting in the middle order and his ability to move the ball both ways and trouble batsmen when called on to bowl. He would have been the main draw and an all rounder the Lankans would have feared.

England played two fast men in Broad and Wood and left out Anderson. Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are two fearsome bowlers. However Wood is the fastest and Sri Lanka’s early batsmen will find him difficult to negotiate. But it was Broad who dented the early Lankan batting with off spinner Dom Bess capturing his first five wicket haul in Test cricket.

However it is hoped that the two Tests would be keenly contested without being hampered by bad weather. Let the side playing the better attacking cricket be the winners of the series. Playing two Tests like the Lankans did in South Africa would be no big deal. Three Tests would have made better sense.

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