Sri lanka are fast garnering a reputation for being a team that falls apart at the big moments,in a bellerive oval pitch that resembled a pitch from the premadasa, sri lanka mentally capitulated to a attack that was decent rather than world class. Had they won this match they would have been one of the very few teams that had won back to back bi-lateral series against Australia in Australia.
The team must be commended for their efforts to bounce back from the loss from the first ODI at the MCG.The team put in exceptional performances in the next three odi’s although the SCG match abandonment was dubious and duck worth and lewis would have put sri lanka firmly on the winning path and that would have been the win they required in the penultimate game without the pressure of a final like scenario.
It is important for sri lanka to get over their mental block in pressure situations, I believe the team lacks a bit of professionalism when it comes to these situations they either try too hard or they completely go into their shell. Although this is a problem for sri lanka they still get themselves into positions where they are one good performance away from achieving their ultimate goal. I believe once they win one final they will get over their mental block in big games. In cricket only the winners are remembered the losers are only a statistic in the history books.
On the positive side the team has built into their system a great fighting spirit which was not there a decade ago. We should also be glad that the young core of the team seems to be stepping up at the right time just as the seniors seems to be on the downward trajectory. In the first match Chandimal showed what he is capable with a well compiled half century. Second game thirimanne scored a match winning century. It’s about time thirimanne bats at number three permanently. Both these batsmen have shown they are ready for more responsibility and could possibly be the pillars of the next batting generation. Kusal janith was another batsmen who has shown promise there is definitely shades of sanath jayasuriya in his batting, and he is a better wicket keeper than chandimal and sangakkara.
It has been a disappointing tour for the captain in waiting Mathews although he did well with the ball when conditions suited his type of bowling. But he has failed with the bat he’s been batting at no5 but shows very little intensity at the crease unless sri lanka is in serious trouble. When he gets the captaincy with more accountability his performances will increase. The biggest disappointment this series was thisara perera who seems to have gone backwards in his development. His bowling has gotten more erratic and when he comes to bat he swings the bat like a madman with an axe. This behavior can be attributed to the lack of competition for his place. Dropping him for a while might make him work harder because sri lanka absolutely need him to balance the team and for the next world cup.
Although the ODI series was drawn sri lanka has a lot of areas they should look to improve . The fielding standards have definitely dropped the Australians have been given too many easy runs.Sri lankan batsmen need to hit singles when they can’t get fours and sixers too many times they have allowed the pressure to increase and made matters difficult for themselves.Sri lanka needs to settle on an opening pair. Most importantly sri lanka needs to be more professional in all aspects of their cricket.