Where is Sri Lankan Test cricket heading?

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As the new year dawns many of you will look ahead to the year with renewed optimism and determination .But if you are a sri lanka cricket fan I feel sorry for you. The current team, like a good movie con artist gives you just enough evidence and hope to drag you along and ultimately leaves you shattered and confused in the end. The biggest problem we have at the moment is we are miles behind other top teams in every aspect of the game from fitness to in - game decision making. So let’s look at some areas the team can improve upon.

BATTING

For us who still follow test cricket it is guaranteed that one of the openers will  be gone before the first hour is over in the SL batting innings  that’s a guarantee you can take to the bank . It’s fair to say the Lankans opening  pair has failed individually and as a partnership. Every  bowling attack knows that karunarathna can’t drive because he play s too far away from the body and he tends to fall over when balls are on the stumps so that’s plan A and B and karunarathna falls for the trap every time .Silva is more compact in his technique but the problem is silva’s strike rate is so low that while watching him bat sometimes it feels like time has stopped altogether . If he gets out without getting  at least 70+ runs SL will be stuck with a low run rate and will hand the opposition the advantage. It is also important to remember that these two don’t play ODI cricket so they have a lot of time to prepare, one has to wonder why there is no improvement .Both these guys have now played 30 plus test matches and have struggled for consistency. The problem for the selectors is good openers are a endangered species in the domestic level, currently no one is putting their hands up for selection .The selectors need to be brave here and pick two guys they believe in and back them to perform .

Another problem area for the batting is no 3 it seems SL has no idea who to play at 3 the kusal janith experiment was the proof of them having no clue. Usually no 3 is where your best batsmen plays currently our best batsmen is Anjelo Matthews and he should be batting at 3.It will do well for sri lanka if their leader, leads from a position where he can dictate terms. Chandimal should bat at 4 and give up keeping in tests. The best example for chandimal should be sanga who moved to another level after giving up keeping. I always believe your best players should handle the tough moments currently these two are hiding at 5,6. It will do a world of difference to the team if their two most experienced players start performing at the level expected of them.5,6 should be mendis and de silva both guys still finding  their way in test cricket both players have a good technique and all the shots to dominate bowling attacks. Currently  they lack the know how to build an innings especially in mendis case he tries to dominate without establishing a platform .Both these guys will benefit greatly from talking to someone like mahela jayawardena abot constructing and test innings .At 7 SL should play the best wicket keeper batsmen they have in domestic  cricket which they will have no problem finding due to the sangakkara effect.

As a whole SL has a good batting unit the failure of the batsmen is mainly down to mentality and poor shot selection. You can see that every time the opposition bowlers built up pressure the answer is to attack and get out of trouble . This is a strategy with a low percentage of success as SL has found out repeatedly over the last two years .Surely if the batsmen learned to rotate the strike picking up singles on offer, they can break the opposition bowlers game plans. It seems like the current team is looking for superficial answers to their problems sometimes the easiest  answer is the best answer.

BOWLING

SL bowling unit has done well even though most of them break down more often than an old car. It always amazes that most SL bowlers cannot seam or swing the ball given the pitch conditions in SL you would think the fast bowlers would develop this skill just for the sake of surviving. Look at how well chaminda vaas did and how well Dhammika Prasad does when he’s fit.Suranga Lakmal reaped the benefits of developing this skill  against SA imagine what chameera would do if he ever bowled with an upright seam.

MENTALITY AND FITNESS

There’s been lots of criticism about Matthews captaincy, in a sense you could sort of sympathize with him. Sometimes SL players look so amateurish that it would drive any sane cricket watcher crazy. But the problem is he’s the on field leader and the decisions he makes and the body language he portrays has a ripple effect on the entire playing 11.Matthews needs to be more optimistic with his field settings rather than waiting for things to happen he needs set attacking fields gamble on his players ability. A general positive attitude from the captain will go a long way into moving SL forward.

And finally the biggest flaw in our system the fitness the aspect everyone talks about but never takes seriously .It’s a big concern that we can’t  keep our fast bowlers fit if they play continuously in tests and odi’s  they quickly pick up injuries .Our  fielding is far below the current international levels it’s amazing that players don’t understand the link between fitness and fielding.

In conclusion sri lanka has a lot of hard work ahead of them to atleast become competitive in test cricket let’s hope the players can turn the corner in the coming year.

Comments

samjay's picture

Srilankan test cricket is heading towards the HELL.

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
16 hours 1 min

Good read and some valid issues raised. The batting order is a no brainer, Chandi must give up the gloves and the wickey must bat at #7. I thought trying KJP at #3 was a worthwhile punt but not at the cost of dropping him if he fails! I cant get over what is with shot selection. If you get out to good bowling you just have to say well bowled and moved on. But it you keep playing bad shots and getting out how do you move forward. We have lost 28 wickets of the top 7 in the first 2 tests and I reckon 24 of them were for poor shots.

The fitness and fielding is just hard work and we have been struggling with this aspect for over 3 years now. It is said fielding is the culture of the team and look no further as to why we are struggling with fielding.

We need to make the change and now. Losing the SA series was always the most likely outcome but lose in this manner is most disturbing. The strange thing is we won 5 t

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
16 hours 1 min

Good read and some valid issues raised. The batting order is a no brainer, Chandi must give up the gloves and the wickey must bat at #7. I thought trying KJP at #3 was a worthwhile punt but not at the cost of dropping him if he fails! I cant get over what is with shot selection. If you get out to good bowling you just have to say well bowled and moved on. But it you keep playing bad shots and getting out how do you move forward. We have lost 28 wickets of the top 7 in the first 2 tests and I reckon 24 of them were for poor shots.

The fitness and fielding is just hard work and we have been struggling with this aspect for over 3 years now. It is said fielding is the culture of the team and look no further as to why we are struggling with fielding.

We need to make the change and now. Losing the SA series was always the most likely outcome but lose in this manner is most disturbing. The strange thing is we won 5 tests in a row this year including beating the then #1 team in a whitewash.

(Last edited by Stormy on January 7, 2017 - 07:53)
Last Man Out's picture
Member since:
7 November 2010
Last activity:
1 week 4 days

Thanks for the comment stormy.Do you know who SL are playing this year except the champions trophy. It seems our crack administration forgot about scheduling for 2017.

Sunny's picture

Bangladesh in March. We are also paying Zimbabwe, hosting India and then playing against Pakistan. We were supposed to go back to South Africa at the end of the year but that is looking very much unlikely since they seem to be inviting India instead.

Jeewantha's picture
Member since:
7 March 2016
Last activity:
3 hours 20 min

I dont think Mathews should bat at 3.He is most suited to bat at 5 or 6.He also have that tendency of poking at outswingers.I think We should back Kusal Mendis at 3 he is doing a good job up there but as you have mentioned he always trys to dominate regardless of the situation.He and the coaching staff should work on it.

If we have a solid opening Mendis @3 Dhanajaya @4 could work very well.For that to happen they should be coming in at 75/1, 100/2 rather than @ 5/1, 10/2.
Even if Chandi & Angie occupy those 2 spots there will be a huge pressure on them as well if our openers keep going like this.

First of all we should find a solid opening combination.I wish these 2 cursed openers would get dropped after the 3rd test.

Then we should bring in a brand new opening combination for the Bangladesh series.2 out of Dickwella Weerakkody Milantha Jayasundara Bhanuka Udawatte.......

Then we can have Mendis @3 Chandi @4 Mathews @5 Dhananjaya @6.With a huge posibility of all the top 4 being keepers we can use it as an advantage by playing an allrounder @7 according to the conditions.

Bowling is ok as long as seamers stay fit and Herath is around.Lakmal is finally up to his duties as a senior.Pradeep had 2 good years in 2015/16 and doing well.Kumara would clock 150 soon.If Chameera can return to form quickly and find his rythem it will futher strengthen our attack.There ara guys like Asitha can bowl at 140+,Rajitha Binura & Vishwa good at swinging.
At 34 and with his history of injuries we cant expect a lot from Prasad.This is where youngsters should step up.

In the spin department there are the likes of Sandakan Vandersay Kaushal Aponso.Ofcourse unsung Pushpakumara.

As far as captaincy is concerned We've been waiting waiting waiting & waiting for Mathews to learn and improve, to play positive cricket, to be energetic.
But he never learns from his mistakes, does the same miss take time and time again.
Now it really is time to look for someone else.

Jeewantha's picture
Member since:
7 March 2016
Last activity:
3 hours 20 min

This year we are hosting Bangladesh in March April
2 Tests 3 ODIs 2T20s

Champions Trophy in June

Hosting Zimbabwe in Jul
2 Tests 3 ODIs

Hosting India in Aug Sep
3 Tests 5 ODIs 1T20

Touring UAE for Pakistan series OCT NOV
3Tests 5ODIs 2 or3 T20s

Was due to tour SA again in Dec which is all but certain to be scrapped

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