The Bangladesh ODI tour in Sri Lanka is now done as dusted. Sri Lanka can finally savour the end to an almost 4-year drought of home ODI series wins. The last home win for Sri Lanka was in 2015 November, when they played West Indies.
What are the positives we can get out from this series?
A Drop of Rain on a Crusted Desert
Past few years have been a testing period for every Sri Lankan cricketer and cricket fan. The lions have faced tough challenges and managed to come out on the wrong side more often than not.
So, this win is significant, no question about it! One may try to dilute it by highlighting the fact that it was against Bangladesh. Let us remind you that Bangladesh is not one of those ‘minnows’ anymore. They have beaten South Africa and West Indies in the 2019 World Cup. They’ve won almost half of their tournaments since the last world cup (9 Won out of 19, 1 Drawn).
This is a much-required win that needs to be cherished. A win that should be regarded as a launchpad to voyage in better seas.
A Solid Middle Order
150/2, 160/1. Just some scoreboards we usually came across after 30 overs when Sri Lanka batted in the last few years. Then suddenly they turn into 160/7, 170/6. Ultimately, they lost matches.
In this series we saw some quite responsible innings from the middle order. Especially from so-far misfired Mendis and Mathews. It was good to see a counter-punch with a positive attitude.
A Fiery #7
Dasun Shanaka. A name that has wondered in the cricket arena for a long time. A name that did not feature as much as one would have liked in the final XI though. When he got a chance, he did not fail to show his potential.
He got an opportunity in the final match of the series also, and he did not disappoint. A quickfire 30 from 17 and add to that 3 wickets with the ball.
He showed positive signs. But we believe that he is a talent that needs further nurturing and care.
It was not only positives though. There were some aspects to improve also.
On the Field…
While compared to previous tournaments, the lions have done reasonably well in the field. But we must admit that the fielding performances were not great. In other words, they were not “1996 like.”
Sri Lanka was known as an excellent fielding unit. They will have to work hard to reach that level again.
True, we saw some brilliant batting displays. But we are still doubtful of the stability of the batting order.
In the world cup, we saw Dimuth and KJP proving to be a formidable opening pair. We wonder if the same can be said about Dimuth and Avishka. Early days still though. Having KJP at three did not look like a bad option either. His experience and attacking nature proved to be more than handy at #3.
We believe, Avishka can be groomed to play at #3, thinking ahead. Mendis can provide the stability at #4 perhaps.
A Match-winning Bowler?
Sri Lanka have had this problem for years now. With the Malinga no more, this void will be significantly visible.
We believe while the likes of Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, and Akhila Dhananjaya are promising, Sri Lanka still don’t have that match winning bowler.
A Final Word
This series was a morale booster, no question. But we feel it is way too early to make conclusions. Sri Lanka needs to build on the positives and eliminate the negatives. Hopefully, they will march as the lions they used to be.
What are your thoughts?