Confident Lankans ready to take on the Indian challenge
Sri Lanka picked up a thrilling consolation win in the fifth and final game of their Twenty20 series against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday. Australia, the current T-20 world champions, won the series 4-1, but the most important factor is that Sri Lanka finished the series with a victory which always gave them good confidence before the game. next Indian series which will start from next Thursday (24).
In fact, Sri Lanka could have finished that series 2-3 as the second T-20 played in Sydney ended in a tie finally decided with a super over and that game Sri Lanka almost won as one field umpires has been much talked about among cricket pundits. . There are so many positives from this series of T-20 games that are still very important for the upcoming T-20 World Cup in Australia next October.
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka said the Sri Lankan team played very well throughout the series. In fact, when we come for the World Cup, we will be really prepared. Kusal Mendis was an exceptional player. We have to keep giving opportunities to good players, Shanaka added. The Sri Lanka team was full of more youngsters and they had real visibility during this tournament.
Sri Lankan fast bowling strategy coach Lasith Malinga has been very busy during this tournament and he has always been a big boost for the Sri Lankan fast bowlers. After the five-game series, Malinga said it was nice to end the series with a win. “Well done guys, I have really enjoyed working with the young generation of fast bowlers in Sri Lanka over the past three weeks. There is so much natural talent and potential to work with them and all the best for the upcoming Indian series, Malinga said. Lasith Malinga has worked with Sri Lankan bowlers and they were always happy to work with Malinga and he has a very easy way of guiding bowlers. At certain times during the game, Malinga walked around the pitch to help the players. He has always given advice and encouragement and his motivation has always been very important to Sri Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lankan bowlers improved during this series and Australia’s strong batting team could not get more than 165 points in any match of the tournament.
Their highest tally of 164 for 6 wickets in 20 overs, which was game two, ended in a decisive tie. Especially Wanidu Hasaranga was able to play the first two games due to Covid 19 and the pacemaker Binura Fernando was absent after the first game for the same reason and it was a blow to the Sri Lankan bowling department However, the setter Dushmantha Chameera was outstanding during this tournament adapting very well for the conditions and having the highest 7 wickets for the Sri Lankan team while pacemaker Lahiru Kumara made a good comeback taking 4 wickets during the last two games. Mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana has consistently lived up to expectations and his bowling during the power play has been tougher for Australia’s top hitters. Theekshana took 5 wickets including 3 for 24 best tricks.
The Sri Lankan team got a bit worried about their batting failure. However, fly-half Pathum Nissanaka was outstanding in this tournament scoring the highest 184 in five games with an average of 36.80 and his highest individual score of 73 while also scoring the most 19 limits in the during this tournament. The 23-year-old right-hander has always played his game more confidently in Australian conditions and his first Australian tour gave him a big boost. Kusal Mendis who played a game-winning 69 in the last game scoring 100 points in three games averaging 50.00 while skipper Shanaka was fourth top scorer with 116 points.
However, Dhanushka Gunathileka scored 27 points in 4 games, Charith Asalanka 64 points in five games and Dinesh Chandimal 71 points in 4 games were not up to expectations and that was the main reason behind the failure of the first order in this series. This is the main issue to focus on in the upcoming Indian series.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are looking to make a good challenge against India in their three rounds of T-20 matches and the only inclusion for the T-20 squad is spinner Ashian Daniel and spinner Ramesh Mendis already on the list of injured. Hard hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksa was not considered for the selections as he failed to pass the fitness test (skin record test) again to have a chance for the Indian series.