Since the CB series in Australia and beyond Sri Lanka’s batting has continued to hit new lows. A month ago in Zimbabwe the lankans struggled to reach 250 with ease, the 5-0 outcome doesn’t tell the full story, just merely the brilliance of Mendis and Murali.
If not for a single moment of sheer brilliance from Sanath Jayasuriya or Kumar Sangakkara the past year has exposed our weak and fragile batting line up. The Asia cup final victory was all thanks to two blokes and the rest of the team were mere by standers. The fact that we have to rely on 39 year old Sanath or any single batsman in our line up is worrying. The sport has always been about eleven blokes on the team and not two.
Sri Lanka boasts of abundance of talent but when it comes to batting, but the last 2 years have been full of ups and downs. In order to be competitive consistently the entire batting order needs to take on the responsibility of taking the team close to a minimum of 250 runs in 50 overs. Sri Lanka’s batsman need to understand their role within the team and make good every opportunity that arises.
The1996 world cup winning squad suited our style of play to the hilt batsman like Roshan Mahanama, Hashan Tillakaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga and even the lower order batsman Kumar Dharmasena saw to it that the middle order held through to see the end of 50 overs, thus ensuring the team would end up with a respectable score when stroke makers like Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana, De Silva and Gurusingha failed.
The middle order requires the services of more Workman like batsman who know how to graft runs. TM Dilshan was once well suited for the very purpose but being labeled a ‘dasher’ has left him more confused that consistent. Chamara Silva’s loss of form has also poked more holes in the weak batting.
It would be silly to leave out Mahela’s recent contributions with the bat. The truth is he has made no contributions with the bat that’s worthy a mention. In the last 12 months in the ODI format Mahela averages 28.04 in 27 matches with a best of 94. During the same period he played 6 test matches and averages 54.33 with two test hundreds. One of those hundreds came at home at his home ground the SSC and the other on a flat dead track in Providence, Guyana. In all honesty his test record cannot and should not be belittled. It is the lack of consistency that irks his fans.
At the end of day 1 of the 1st test against Bangladesh Sri Lanka are reeling at 172 for 6. Left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed the wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. The two top scorers were Vandort(44) and Sangakkara(43) both struggled. Vandort was lucky to be out there for as long as he was. He looked plumb LBW in the very first over. Unless Sri Lanka’s batsman realise the task at hand and play within their limitations it seems more and more likely that the lankans will be returning home red faced in defeat. That would mean that Bangladesh would have won it’s first test match against an established Test playing nation.
Mahela Jayawardena at the toss stated that Mendis will arrive in Bangladesh in the course of the next few days, and he will most likely be in the 2nd test line up. That still wont solve the batting crisis on hand.