I think what we’re desperately looking for is for our batting to click and leading up to the game against England our middle order hadn’t properly fired, even the mini collapse in the game against England was a seriously worrying sign so my strategy would be strengthen our batting – middle ti lower order, and here are my thoughts:
1. Opening combo will play more freely seeing as Kusal (came into a bit of form in the game against the Aussies) and along with Angie played themselves into some form, so that’s perfect!
2. Avishka coming in at 3 was a master stroke as the game had progressed to having more attacking dimension in the side and we had fallen back by not selecting the attacking players who we have at our disposal, remember targets are set close to or beyond 300. So Avishka, we all knew was a talent waiting to erupt and I’m glad that he was given a go.
3. Mendis & Angie retain there spots.
4. I would play Lahiru Thirimanne. He bats below Angie and can be used as a floater to give our batting some depth. If you look at Thiri’s role during Mahela and Sanga’s time he seldom came before them and thrived in batting at the lower order position holding the innings to a close. We tried Milinda Siriwardana, to be honest he’s a T20 sort of a player, and Jeewan Mendis isn’t providing the batting or bowling support that was expected of him and as fielder he’s a liability.
This is the only change I would think is required because what we have been lacking is batting depth and if you look at most times we’ve lost the game is in the middle overs where we have not played intelligently with our batting and digging deep to get the attacking batters to have a go in the last 10. Even in the practice matches when Thiri battered lower down he was able to hold the innings and also provided some attacking shots in the end, if I’m correct he scored 45 or something not out.
Therefore, what we have to remember is that the middle overs will have to be stretched and our batting will have to be like a test match, but with rotation of strike, minimum risk and at least 4/5 runs an over till we come to the last 10. Our target has to be close to 200 by 30 overs for the loss of 3 wickets Max.
So my team would be:
1. Dimuth Karunaratne.
2. Kusal Janith Perera.
3. Avishka Fernando.
4. Kusal Mendis.
5. Angelo Mathews.
6. Lahiru Thirimanne.
7. Dhananjaya De Silva.
8. Thisara Perera.
9. Isuru Udana.
10. Lasith Malinga.
11. Nuwan Pradeep.