Sri Lanka is currently facing a very awful time in cricket specially, having lost last two test series against Pakistan and India at home.
Sri Lanka could have won the last test match against India and won the series, if they had a proper batting order. They made a mistake by doing so many changes to their batting order.
They opted to open with Upul Tharanga and demoted Dimuth Karunarathne to number three. I think it was a poor decision which had no sense at all. Dimuth and Silva did a fair job as openers in recent times. It is true that they are not having the greatest times as openers. But they have been very solid and know well how to cope up with the new ball which Tharanga had no clue.
Tharanga has done good things for Sri Lanka as an opener in one day cricket. As a stroke maker, he has been very successful in one day cricket. Test cricket is different to shorter formats where you are tested in various aspects. You need to be able to see off the new ball which is an important skill to have as an opener. Test opener should have more patience and fair technique as well. Tharanga has this issue of poking at deliveries just outside the off stump which needs to be sorted out quickly to improve as a batsman.
Considering all these aspects, it is better to settle with Dimuth and Silva, because they give more solidity to the side.
Then the number three position is very crucial for the side where a legend called Kumar Sangakkara dominated for so many years. It is evident that replacing that sort of player is so difficult. But someone has to take that responsibility and do some justice to that position. We have to groom someone like Thirimanne for that position. He is the best possible option to take that position for short term as well as for long term. He hasn’t shown lot of things yet, but more things to come from him in future.
Then we have to go for Chandimal at number four. He has been improving a lot as a batsman and shown lot of maturity when he played the match wining knock of 162 against India in first test at Galle. If we keep him as our wicket keeper batsman, he would have to bat low in the order possibly at number 6 or 7. I think it is a waste purely because he is much better batsman and Sri Lanka cricket has lot more to reap from him as a batsman in the future. So Chandimal should bat at number four.
Mathews should slot at number five and the others should bat around him. As the captain and Sri Lanka’s inform batsman currently, he can bat anywhere as he wishes, but for the sake of team best position to bat is number five. The knock he played against India in last test match would have been a historic and match wining innings if there were some one to bat with him.
I think most concerned position is number six. It is still a vacant position which no one has been able to cement. Mubarak was tried for this position by the selection committee but the results didn’t come as expected. One of the most promising and inform batsman like Milinda Siriwardene would be an option. He has scored so many runs in first class cricket and matured enough to take this opportunity. It is better if we can try him out with the form he is currently in.
Kusal Janith showed great promise in his first test match as a wicket keeper batsman. He got back to back half centuries in both innings and showed maturity as a batsman. His glove work wasn’t that great but it is to be improved in the future. So there is no question about him playing as the wicket keeper batsman at number seven.
Sri Lanka’s bowling has shown great promise especially in fast bowling department. Therefor it is not an area Sri Lanka should worry a lot. It is the batting that led Sri Lanka down in test cricket in recent times. I hope that Sri Lanka would settle down its batting order and win the test series against West Indies which is an important test series for our future.