Srilanka has a great top order, no doubt about it. But team always suffer if top order collapse, because of fragile middle order.
If India have virender sehwag and sachin tendulkar at top of the order, lankans enjoys the same kind of destructive batsman in form of tilakratne dilshan and upul tharanga at the same position. If gautam gambhir comes as a no. 3 batter for India, for srilanka, this position is being fulfilled by none other than the kumar sangakkara- evergreen and always reliable, even in toughest pitch conditions, as he showed during his innings of 75 runs at Tent Bridge in fourth one day international against England.
But similarities end here, straight away! While, India has enjoyed solid middle order as well, lankans falls flat to their feet in this department. For Indians, middle order is being fulfilled by yuvraj singh and virat kohli, later they also have yousuf pathan and caption cool mahendra singh dhoni as well. Andy why we look only towards Indians, we can also look towards Australia team, where mike hussey and michale Clarke somehow always managed to escape their team from the situation of crisis.
That’s the area, where srilanka lacks the quality player. And don’t forget, this problem is not new, but right after the retirement of great arjuna ranatunga and company, we are facing same situation again and again. Yes, you can say that mahela jayaweredne is currently one of the best batsman in world, but you cant say that he is a dependable batsman in middle order. With the one day average of mere 33 point something, Static shows and indicates, that even mahela is not as good in middle overs, as team demands. Since last few years, lankans selectors have done their level best to fulfill this weakness, but didn’t succeed. Russel Arnold, chamara silva, chamara kapugedera, thilan samarweera are amongst those players, who batted in middle order in last few years, but UN fortunately no one managed to established himself in this highly vacant gap in srilankan cricket.
So, obviously, this weakness hurt and hurt badly, even in present time! Take an example of just last match of team at Tent Bridge, where srilanka were struggling with the score card of 61/4. Demand of the situation was that, middle order must have been escape the team from that crisis. But sadly, neither thilana kandamby, nor jeevan mendis managed to do justifications to their roles, as middle order batsman. So, obviously srilanka collapsed on 175 helplessly, even after kumar sangakkara’s lone hands.
So, what kind of option srilanka have presently? Well its tricky question indeed. But…yaaa…some experiments should be done, in favor of team’s fortunes. One experiments is that, once upul tharang returns in to team, batting line up should be something like that-
1.tilakratne dilshan 2. upul tharanga 3. dinesh chandimal 4. mahela jayawerdene 5. kumar sangakkara 6. angelo mathews 7. thisara perera 8. suraj randiv 9. nuwan kulasekera 10. lasith malinga 11. surnga lakmal/dilhara Fernando.
Now, after a look towards this line up, you could ask that why kumar sangakkara is so lower down the order. But answer is quite simple actually- sanga has shown again and again that he can cope up with any kind of cricis, better than mahela. So, there is no harm if sanga bat at no. 5. then team will have stroke player like mathews, thisara around him, so automatically runs will flown fast.