Lankans looking for the right combinations
Though it may a dead rubber, the final ODI at the Pallekelle Stadium is vital for the young Lankans, when they take on the Australians this afternoon. Chandimal and his team will have to come up with an improved show this time around. It is vital to keep up the adrenaline at the right levels and not have any ill effects of the huge Australian batting tenacity of the last game. During the last game regular skipper Angelo Mathews was injured and the repercussions were more than evident. According to media Manager Rajitha Fernando, Angelo’s MRI and clinical symptoms are both consistent with a medial calf muscle injury. He is not expected to be available for the remainder of the Australian series.
His rehabilitation program will be aimed at having him ready for the start of Sri Lanka’s next series. However the crux of the matter was a case of miscalculation. The Lankans came with two seamers and with Mathews’ injury the whole plot turned sour and the Australians stamped a huge win. At the same time it was Mathews who described Thisara Perera as a ‘full package’, was out of the equation by the fifth ODI. We learn that the
inclusion of Upul Tharanga for the final game is part of the short term strategy of chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya. Yet, in all sincerity we hope the ploy should work and he could fit in as an opening partner to Dhananjaya de Silva who cracked a superb century in his first test as an opening batsman in the last game.
Also there is a likelihood of young Niroshan Dickwella being drafted into one of the opening slots. However, even if the Tharanga ploy works otherwise it may have a two pronged effect. First is the filling of the blank created by the Dilshan retirement and the second is the presence of a senior campaigner in the midst of the rank-less Chandimal’s army. With 187 ODIs under his belt, Tharanga’s selection could be justified if the selectors consider him to be a cover for injured Mathews in the middle order in the short term. Lankan Manager Charith Senanayake speaking to the Sunday Times said that the most important point is to build the right combination.
He said “This whole exercise is so driven that we travel up to the next World Cup. So the story will be coming up with the right combinations and building on it. “This is why we believe that Upul Tharanga was brought in and left out, his experience is needed to strengthen our efforts now that he is back in the saddle. “We should not treat this is as a one-off test. It is an ongoing process, and you will see faces being shifted till the think-tank feels that we have come with the right combination to form the real Lankan nucleus for the future. So, we must not get disheartened by one or two reversals”.
enanayake added. Going out along with Thisara Perera for today’s game will be Sandakan along with injured Mathews. It is very likely that Dasun Shanaka who did reasonably well during the England tour would be included for this game as he too has almost the same skills as the now deposed Thisara Perera. He is likely to share the new-ball with Suranga Lakmal for today’s game. Skipper Chandimal failed in the last game after scoring five
consecutive half centuries – a run that began during the England tour. However another worthwhile contribution by the skipper could be of immense help to the fledgling Lankans.
Chandimal has led the Sri Lanka ODI team successfully only on two occasions, in 2013 against South Africa recording victories in both games. Sri Lanka squad for the 5th ODI – Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilake, Dhananjaya De Silva, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Perera, Kusal Janith Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachith Pathirana, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso.