One month ago as i sat in front of a high profile stockbroker we broke into a conversation of sports leaving behind stock markets. As we discussed along, cricket came up and he and I discussed about an Sri Lankan whitewash. Well yes, even he and I didn’t believe a single win against the Worlds No.1 Test nation would be a probability given the recent dismal performance shown by our boys in England. Fast forward today and what a turnaround it has been, an annihilation towards the Australians of been beaten and outplayed in all departments by a young developing group of players and some even making there debuts. When firstly the Sri Lankan squad was about to be announced with inside sources predicaments it was to be like selecting a bunch of under 13 boys to play some cricket in white clothing and with the chief selector echoing with every match they will take in to account whats happening and then select the team with so many injury concerns, since then it has been a remarkable regeneration.
You wouldn’t for a moment look at Kusal Mendis and seeing his toddler face that this boy would play in a different tier when the cricketing fraternity is discussing about giving context to test cricket, which by the end of this series here as well as in England with wins by Pakistan one would argue having four day cricket or preserve some of the traditions in test cricket going forward in an expressively evolving world.
Then comes a rear gem unearthed by the selectors, to have a go at the Aussies, boy didn’t he rip through them in Pallekele. Like a child finishing his home work to get an ice cream from the ice cream vendor that had arrived near his house.
After that comes the star who shined so brightly it is being awhile since a De Silva lit up Sri Lankan cricket. From skipper Mathews talking about partnership breaking bowling to chipping in with the bat both in the hill capital and in down south with worthy contributions and to a stellar performance at SSC it has been a tremendous contribution from the nonchalance player and by the time this historic test series has ended he’s probably within the records as one of the most runs scored for a debut three test series.
Make no mistake it wasn’t the pitches, it wasn’t sheer luck, but a cohesive group of players with continuous belief to deliver excellent results through out the series with contributions coming in from all corners of the team.
And as for the modest man, he is so innocuous, having played alongside the shadow of the World’s highest wicket taker for more than a decade, the last of the 20th century surviving cricketers, well the oldest in this young regenerated team “Rangaaiya” known by his boys in this Lankan side well the applause keeps on getting louder and louder for the commitment, dedication and hard work this man has put to help this team win it’s first Warne-Murali trophy to go with thoroughly deserved win whitewashing the Australians only for the fifth time in history.
Right at beginning when both the captains posed with the trophy, it some what depicts from Angelo’s point of view a determined assured man who knows he’s going to clinch it while Smith just smiles, who wouldn’t have thought he in the coming weeks would endure such humiliation.
As Sun-Tzu says some wars are won even before the battle, he had thoroughly assessed the conditions
Moral Influence – The vision and mission to seal the series.
Weather – Weather was to be an integral part with showers expected and taken into account light conditions(Pallekele)
Terrain – The first ground was located in the hill country with a past good win percentage, the second ground though in recent times haven’t yielded intended results it use to be a ground in the past for local players to enhance their records. (Herath hat-trick, and as a 21 year old success bowling against Aussie right handers). And lastly the third was a batsman’s paradise and anyone with experience would know at SSC within the first one hour there is always something to the bowlers at SSC (Sri Lanka were in tatters at 26/5) but later it comes to the bat easily and as always it’s a turner and for the team batting last there is always pressure no matter how strong you maybe.
Command – Leadership of Mathews from England to this series was proactive within six weeks he redefined his way of DRS reviews, sent attacking and aggressive batsman(Kusal Perera) early in the innings to give context to the Sri Lankan batting line up and to get the score card moving and to make it easier to the later batsman.
Doctrine – Core Beliefs the single most vital ingredient to whitewash the opponent, though the Australian preparation was good and well planned Mathews coming after a series losses in England, and in his home country he innately would have known it is going to be a different ball game and though the Australians are high and mighty he invited them to the Sri Lankan shores, kept the Smith and his boys in a high pedestal and surely but shrewdly made sure he would end on the right side with the tosses also going his way he would have known the winds of change and luck has dawn upon him to create history.
Lalindra De Silva is an occasional contributor on various topics from sports to stock markets, who has played the sport and is a full time investor with the CSE.