Monday, April 3, 2017

Sri Lanka look to maintain impressive run in T20s

Sri Lanka are perhaps going through their toughest phase in cricket since being granted full member status of the International Cricket Council in 1981. Several high profile retirements over the last two years has seen a steady decline of the Sri Lankan team. They were whitewashed 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in the One-Day Internationals when they toured South Africa in December. Then Bangladesh recorded their maiden Test win over them with a stunning four-wicket victory in Colombo. The hosts could only square the three-match ODI series 1-1 after the second game was washed out. However, in T20s, the Sri Lankans have some momentum with series wins in Australia and South Africa in the last two months.

Bangladesh have had fewer opportunities in T20 cricket. Since the ICC World Twenty20 in India last year, they only played one series in the shortest form of the game. The Sri Lankans, meanwhile, played four series in that period. The highly successful Bangladesh Premier League has given the Bangladeshi players much needed exposure in T20s with an opportunity rub shoulders with some of the finest players in the game. Lack of a solid domestic T20 competition has hurt the Sri Lankans, but there are efforts to identify players who are suited for this fast-paced game.

Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, batsmen who were part of the squad that won the series in South Africa, have been left out while Shehan Jayasuriya, Danushka Gunathilaka and Thisara Perera, perhaps players with a better T20 mindset have been included.

Both games will be played at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The Sri Lankans have a horrendous record at the ground; ten losses in the 11 games they have played there, including a World T20 final in 2012. Often the hosts have cracked under pressure here with massive numbers turning up for the game. A sell-out crowd is expected on Tuesday (April 4).

No comments:

Post a Comment