for another feather in the cap
By Marlon Fernandopulle
Riding on the crest of a wave of success Sri Lanka led by Marvan
Atapattu will come out to the Premadasa Stadium once again eager
to keep the momentum going and deliver the knock-out punch to Graeme
Smith's South Africans when the two teams meet in the second one
day International today.
by the success in the test series and the thrilling victory on Friday
night the Lankans are on a high after winning twelve of their last
thirteen games. However the Lankans are aware that their opponents
are capable of bouncing back. They will be all out to go two up
in the five match one day series which moves to Dambulla this week
for two more games. One of the plus factors in Marvan Atapattu's
team lately has been the team effort that has featured in their
recent run of success. As admitted by the skipper it has been a
collective effort by the boys where at least one of the players
have come good. This was very evident in their victory in the first
one dayer when none of the big guns came up with big contributions.
Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene failed
with the bat but fifties from Avishka Gunawardene and Atapattu and
some invaluable cameos from Dilshan and Vaas saw the Lankans chasing
264 successfully on a docile Premadasa wicket.
the absence of their champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan,
medium pacer Chaminda Vaas has taken over the responsibility. Playing
in the shadow of Muralitharan, Vaas has been one cricketer who can
be described as the back street boy of Sri Lanka Cricket. There
is hardly a match that is played without Vaas getting that all important
breakthrough and later adding a couple of crucial wickets in the
middle to upset the opposition. Bowling at the death has today become
his forte. Even if he does not get a couple of wickets his ability
to contain the batsmen in the last few overs has been a tremendous
boost for the Lankans.
he proved it on Friday night the left arm medium pacer picked up
Hershelle Gibbs before he opened scoring and later added three more
wickets that saw the Lankans restrict their opponents to 264. Later
with the bat the allrounder hit 18 runs and struck a crucial 33-run
partnership for the 6th wicket that saw the Lankans home. His effort
was rewarded when he was adjudged the man of the match.
Lankans are very unlikely to make any changes to their winning combination.
However one factor that the Lankans will be contemplating is the
playing of three medium pacers on a Premadsa wicket which does not
offer anything to such bowlers. With the ball not swinging as expected
under the lights on Friday, Sri Lanka may look at including another
batsman instead of a medium pacer.
Africa will be smarting after their defeats in the tests and the
first one dayer. They did everything right in the first game, winning
the toss, putting up a challenging total and even seeing the back
of Sri Lanka’s top order batsmen. However as skipper Smith
admitted they were unable to contain the singles midway in the Sri
Lankan innings that eventually led to their defeat.
they will be looking at a few changes to their line up. It's strange
that the South Africans have only one specialist spinner Nicky Boje
in their line up. While the Lankans went in with two specialist
spinners and two more part time spinners the South Africans had
only Boje as a spinner. With the wicket at Premadasa not going to
be any different today Graeme Smith will certainly be looking at
adding another specialist spinner to their line up.