Relentless — from the Caribbean to Rabada and company

By Champika Fernando


A brand new sequence, a brand new begin — in the absence of Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha, Batting Coach Tilan Samaraweera conducts a coaching session forward of the first Take a look at towards South Africa

When Chandika Hathurusingha took over as head coach in December, he set three priorities. In Take a look at cricket, he needed to be unbeatable at residence. He needed to win matches away from residence in several situations. And he needed to clinch the 2019 World Cup. Whereas Sri Lanka’s restricted over efficiency is much from fascinating in latest months, they’ve made regular progress in Take a look at cricket.

When Sri Lanka beat Pakistan 2-Zero, Hathurusingha was not but Sri Lanka coach. But it surely was the starting of an important journey below new skipper, Dinesh Chandimal. Since then, Sri Lanka have misplaced simply two matches—one to India in a three-match sequence and the different to West Indies in the latest Caribbean sequence. In between, they drew two matches in India, beat Bangladesh and drew 1-1 towards West Indies.

Drawing a sequence towards the world’s No. 9 staff–West Indies–doesn’t sound a ok achievement to problem a staff like South Africa even below beneficial residence situations. However the circumstances wherein they fought the battle in the Caribbean reveals that Sri Lanka has sufficient muscle to problem anybody in the event that they play to full potential. Having stated that, historical past has sometimes favoured the vacationers in Sri Lanka.

Throughout their earlier go to in 2014, the Hashim Amla-led South Africans humbled Sri Lanka to win the Galle Take a look at by 153 runs regardless of the star-studded hosts nonetheless having Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara of their ranks.

On a historically spin-friendly observe, South African seamers led by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel breathed hearth sharing 16 wickets of Sri Lanka’s two innings to finish the island’s dominance at the venue.

The second Take a look at led to a draw and South Africa clinched the sequence 1-Zero. Nevertheless, 4 years later, Sri Lanka will make use of the similar trick as they give the impression of being to win a Take a look at towards South Africa. Sri Lanka is but to beat them in a Take a look at since the Proteas’ final go to.

Despite the fact that Morkel is now not in the facet, South Africa has Kagiso Rabada—probably the world’s greatest seamer at current—and Dale Steyn. Batting coach Tilan Samaraweera admits that the South African seamers, notably Rabada, will pose the greatest menace to the Lankans.

“Our biggest challenge will be to negotiate the reverse swing during the series,” Samaraweera informed the Sunday Instances. “They have a very strong fast bowling unit and Rabada in my opinion is the world’s most skillful seamer at present. So it all depends on how we would bat in the first 20-30 overs in the match.”

With the ball tending to reverse swing in Sri Lankan situations, the South Africans have a four-pronged tempo assault. As well as to Rabada and Steyn, additionally they have Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi.

“We got pace, obviously, and the ball in these conditions tends to reverse so when you have pace on your side generally the guys can take wickets. We also must understand the pitches. That’s why we have brought three spinners. We want to try and make sure that we have all areas covered,” stated Fuf du Plessis, the South African skipper.

Sri Lanka is not any in need of tempo expertise. It was the tempo trio of Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha who stood out throughout the West Indies sequence.

Sri Lanka’s energy at house is their spinners and chief selector Graeme Labrooy stated they may play to their energy. “It’s not a secret,” he stated. “We want the batsmen to put runs on the board for the spinners to come and take those 20 wickets.”

Thus, Sri Lanka will supply a pitch tailored to its premier spin bowler Rangana Herath on whose shoulders they may relaxation their case. As a rule, Herath has been Sri Lanka’s sole match winner at residence and, even at 40, Sri Lanka needs Herath to drive the staff residence in the two-match sequence beginning on Thursday.

However Herath’s participation in the Galle Take a look at shouldn’t be sure as he’s recovering from a cut up webbing. If he’s absent, Malinda Pushpakumara will come into the facet.

So as to be the greatest in the recreation, Samaraweera believes cricketers want a variety of psychological preparation. “If you take all these cricketers in the side, they are all talented and skilled cricketers,” he stated. “But what makes you a better cricketer is how you adjust mentally to play under different conditions. So a lot will depend on how they prepare themselves mentally.”

Samaraweera additionally expects his misfiring batsmen to come good throughout the residence sequence: ‘I don’t suppose we should always choose a participant on his efficiency in the West Indies. We anticipated the situations to be robust however not a lot and,with the Duke ball, it was actually troublesome . However right here we’re taking part in in our personal situations and, like I stated, if they’ll hold their heads excessive, we are able to problem them and come on prime.”

Besides Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal, the remainder of the batting–notably Roshen Silva, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Mahela Udawatte–struggled to get runs. Whereas Udawatte bought the axed after one depressing maiden tour making means for Dimuth Karunaratne to return to the facet, the selectors have retained the different three in the 16-man squad.

Sri Lanka Take a look at squad

Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (topic to health), Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath (topic to health), Suranga Lakmal (vice capt), Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha

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