The Sri Lanka v Pakistan match a couple of nights back really did give our "Tournament Favorites" alot to think about. Sangakara and co will really have to re-think their batting strategy if they want to make a deep impact going into this World Cup.
Lets face it, Sri Lanka has always been a top heavy team. Not very often do the Lankans find themselves in a situation where the batting spreads well through to no. 8 or 9. Rewind back 15 years, and I truely believe the ’96 team had a better line up than what SL has now.
Dilshan, Tharanga & Sanga at 1, 2 & 3 stand out great in this current line up. But its the 4 – 7 or 8 that is the big worry.
Mahela needs to come down the order. He is SL’s best batsmen. The other night he was just out, done by a really good delivery, but more often than not, he does come into his own and contributes a match winning knock.
The question is, what happens if the top 4 fail? who is going to take up that match winning role?
Silva proved that he is capable of holding an innings together. I think its good that this was exposed at the Pakistan game, but he needs to pick up the pace. The way Silva batted proved that like Matthews, he needs to come in higher up the order. Preferably at no. 4. This makes the Lankan squad look alot better. Want to add more stability? Put Samaraweera at 5, and change his role to be more of an aggresor. Mahela at no. 6 with Matthews & Perera to follow will push that level of uncertainty down the lower order out of the way.
The question is, will Mahela drop down and forget scoring big hundreds at the cost of Sri Lanka becoming a more balanced batting lineup? Its not easy to go up to a person like Mahela and ask him to come in at no. 6. I know i would’nt. But if SL need to progress to the Semi’s without anymore bating hicups, this change needs to be made.
Malinga should start his worldcup against Kenya on the 1st. There really isn’t a point wondering why he didn’t play against Pakistan. The fact remains, He shoudl play!. I remember De Silva saying, Dilhara was picked to shoulder if anything happened to Malinga during this tournament. Then why didn’t he play? Is he just a waste of space in this team? So you get my point when I say, "There really isn’t any point talking about why Malinga didn’t play". With the Slinga back in the squad, I think SL really will add the final touches of what really will make this team tick.
Im looking forward to the Kenya game. I hope the batting changes are made. Im also curious to see how the Slinga makes a come back. SL needs to bat first. Expose the middle order. Lets see what happens.
The Lineup I am talking about: