daunting task ahead for Lankans
Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from England
In the face of the crushing defeat at the hands of the England team
with a day to spare the task of saving their face against a depleted
English team seem a more daunting task for the young Sri Lankan
team who are still trying to come terms with the freezing conditions
and the moving ball.
this match their problems were compounded as both opener Michael
Vandort and generally reliable Thilan Samaraweera bagged pairs’.
Now the tour selectors have their hands full to fill in the blanks
for the first Test that is scheduled to begin at Lords on Thursday.
twenty-one-year old Tharanga injected confidence to the touring
party by scoring a hundred against the British Universities in the
tour opener at Fenners. That was his first appearance with the national
team on English soil and his tall partner at the other end, Michael
Vandort, too showed his mettle against Derbyshire by scoring a match
winning 90 in the second innings.
Teenager Chamara Kapugedara scored 151 runs in the first two matches
with a crucial 45 and 44 at Derby, where Sri Lanka came from behind
to beat the time and experienced set of pros.
is a ray of hope for Sri Lankans in this series. In other words,
it's the opener's duty to put the shine off from the new ball and
put a solid foundation for their innings. Mahela Jayawardane and
Kumar Sangakkara have much more important responsibilities as the
skipper and deputy, apart from the being the two most senior batsmen
of the team.
Coach Tom Moody very correctly said at the start of the tour: "The
door is open for a couple of youngsters who could be the future
of Sri Lankan cricket." However, this series is going to be
a test of character for Sri Lankan batsmen after their poor show
at New Road.
Muralitharan will fly back to England today to join his team mates
after paying the last respect to his beloved aunt. While Sri Lankans
enjoying the news that five of the top English players are down
with injuries, including regular skipper Michael Vaughan and the
top three fast bowlers, English chairman of selectors David Graveney
has had more than one sleepless nights.
Andrew Flintoff, who led England to a 1-1 series tie in India, is
tipped to captain.
Collingwood or Alistair Cook look to fill Vaughans’ gap as
a batsman. Collingwood stood in for Vaughan during last winter and
Alistair Cook hit a century on his debut in India. Without having
the service of top three pace-bowlers the English selectors look
for replacements. At such a time, John Lewis, who took 6 for 49
and two for 30 at New Road for England 'A' against Sri Lanka, is
pushing a very strong case?