When Sri lanka began this series the odds of them reaching the finals were very slim, they were expected to make-way for the much hyped indian and Australian teams. But throughout the series, the Sri Lankan team has won the respect and adoration of the Australian cricketing fraternity through their no fear, never give up brand of playing. One can say that playing in Australia can bring out the best or the worst in visiting teams. Indians can probably testify for the latter.
The most positive aspect of the tour was Sri Lanka going back to there usual batting style, maximizing the power play overs by going hard at the bowlers and playing shots over the infield while keeping wickets in hand from 20-35 overs and trying to accelerate in the last ten overs. It’s great to see Tillakaratne Dilshan back to his best with the bat after being released of the burden of captaincy. Mahela Jayawardena finally made the long overdue move to the opening slot with which the fortunes of Sri Lanka began to change. The captaincy of Mahela was refreshing to see. Keeping the field up until he had to push the field back was excellent, he broke pattern from the usual monotonous field placings where most captains were allowing the game to drift until the 35th over.
Attack is the best defense as they say, and here’s a captain who firmly believes this strategy. Mahela reads the game like a chess master which sets his captaincy apart from the likes of Dilshan and he dares to take risks trusting his instincts rather than cricketing logic which separates him from the likes of Sangakkara.
It’s always enjoyable to see Sanga bat in Australia it’s like he’s batting in his backyard. He’s the best Sri Lankan batsmen I’ve seen in Australian conditions.The only concern I have about his batting is he doesn’t make enough centuries for all the starts he gets in matches. He’s got 61 fifties and 10 hundreds not a very good conversion ratio by sanga’s standards.I think chandimal has finally found a spot for himself at No 4 making runs in England,South Africa and Australia should make him a mainstay in the batting order.It’s great to see a young batsmen do so well in australia the experience should allow him to reach greater goals in the future.I am still not convinced with the middle order of thirimanne ,matthews,and perera we could only rely on matthews on a consistent basis also I think matthews should give up bowling for a long while and concentrate on just batting.thirimanne is a throwback to the early 90’s style batting a real grafter who looks for singals. He doesn’t seem to to be able to change gears and hit sixes and fours.Perera is the exact opposite of thirimanne the guy needs to hold back a little and push some singals get himself used to the bowling before going for those big sixes (He doesn’t seem to be interested in hitting 4’s).It’s a shame we lost both matthews and perera two players who contributed heavily to our success in the early rounds.
The bowling unit had their good days and bad days.The worst was at horbart where india managed 320 in forty overs.I think we need to look after Lasith Malinga better he seems to have lost his confidence which is reflected in his fielding he is a better fielder than was on show in this series.The new ball rule seemed to have hampered him in delivering those toe crushing yorkers the yorkers worked because of the reverse swing of the old ball. Because there’s no swing on offer the batsmen find in easier to keep the yorkers out.To compensate he seems to be over relying on slower balls and good length deliveries .Swing or no swing it’s hard for batsmen to hit yorkers on off stump I hope he gets back to what has worked for him in the past.I think kulasekara was our best bowler in the series he bowled a good line and length consistently the whole tournament.I think thisara perera has a lot going for him as a bowler at times he bowled 140 kmph + a little more dedication to line and length he will be a great addition to the bowling unit.It was also great to see maharoof back in the fold as well he bowled intelligently .Because of the new ball rules we need as many fast bowling all rounders as we can get.In the spinning department I think we need to find some wicket taking bowlers rangana herath is tidy but lacks wickets taking ability. Senanayake darted the ball in every game he played, his domestic stats are impressive hopefully in spinning conditions he will be a threat.A leg spinner could be useful under the current playing rules as it’ hard for a traditional off spinner to spin a ball that gets only 25 overs old.
After 11 exciting and grueling matches sri lanka have shown positive signs for the future.This series has shown that chandimal and matthews can be relied upon to make meaningful contributions with the bat.Thisara perera again showed glimpses of what he can become with the right attitude.If we can rotate some of the older guys like dilshan,sanga and mahela with new players when possible we could build new batting for the future.The same should be done with the bowling it is highly doubtful if malinga can make it to the next world cup it is imperative we find a new strike bowler for the future.The most promising part as a sri lankan fan is the team has found there fighting spirit win or lose it’s always good to see that the team gave it all they got on the field.