There was a lot of talk in Sri Lanka ahead of this West Indies series about clean sweeps and whitewashes. But after the third day’s play in Galle, there is no doubt about which team is under the cosh; Sri Lanka will do well not to lose the first Test now that they are 165/3 in their first innings in reply to the Windies’ 580/9.
The writing was pretty much on the wall even before a ball was bowled.
What were the selectors thinking when they went in with Dammika Prasad, Thilan Thushara, Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis? It’s ridiculous when Mendis is your highest wicket taker going into a Test match. There is no doubt that the selectors felt these four had enough to dismiss the Windies not once, but twice!
Aravinda de Silva’s selection panel has made some pretty shocking decision since they were appointed earlier this year. For the Test series in July against India, they dropped Ajantha Mendis and claimed it was for "tactical reasons".
Mendis may have had a poor run after his brilliant start, but we always knew that would happen. What did we do instead of backing him? We discarded Mendis for several tours just because a handful of Indian batsmen managed to score a few runs.
There was no explanation provided on why he was left out of the tour to Australia either.
Just a few weeks ago, we were told Angelo Mathews can’t bowl as he is injured and he would play purely as a batsman. But after the Gayle onslaught and after the Windies had piled on over 500 runs, guess who ends up bowling? Mathews!
Such is the ridiculous manner in which our cricket is currently operating at; don’t let the recent performance against a weak Australian side mask any of what is really going.
Sri Lanka cannot afford to leave out Lasith Malinga or Rangana Herath now that Muttiah Muralitharan has retired. We are told that Malinga is being preserved for the World Cup, which is a ridiculous theory. If he is prone to aggravate his injury, it can happen at any time. It could’ve happened in Australia and it can happen in the ODI series against the Windies next month.
There is little or no chance of winning this Test in Galle; we trail the Windies by 415 runs, and who knows what the wicket at the Premadasa stadium and Pallekele will hold? After recent renovations, both surfaces are unknown entities.
The Windies have wiped the smirks off many faces in Galle with a spirited performance and even though I’m a Sri Lankan, I enjoy seeing the underdog do well. Especially when our selectors and our captain were cocky enough to leave out bowlers of the calibre of Malinga and Herath, assuming incorrectly that the Windies were nothing more than mere pushovers.
This is not the kind of attitude we need going into a World Cup. Perhaps the series win in Australia has done more harm than good.