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The Lions need to take fresh guard and compete

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The Sri Lankans are going through a troubled phase with regard to their game. They have really failed to impress on Indian soil, and even as I write this post, it seems that they are down and out. Marvan Atapattu talked about carrying the psychological advantage from Chennai, but was evident was real mental scars of the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of India a month back.

As a keen follower of Sri Lankan cricket since 1996, I have several complaints. Starting from the omission of Sanath Jayasuriya to the playing eleven. It was really baffling to see Sanath ayya being dropped out of the Test team. Maybe the selectors forgot his single-handed effort last year in Pakistan, where his 250 odd runs sealed the fate of the Pakistanis. I would be joking if the Indians do not suffer from Sanathophobia considering the amount of success he has had against India in both forms of the game. According to me, his presence in the field was badly missed by the visitors, and although they have one eye on the future, they cannot afford to compromise on experience. Secondly, the Lankan bowling attack seems toothless. This makes me pose a question to the selectors “On what grounds was Dilhara Fernando selected into this team ? And why is Lasith Malinga left out of the side ?” Perhaps, I may never manage to get answers, but if I had a choice to recommend some moves, I would inject some variety and aggression into the unit by bringing in Malinga. That guy has some serious pace and can really run through batsmen. I hope Lalith Kaluperuma is taking notes from this post.

Another concern I have regarding this team is the batting order. In all fairness to my good pal Avishka Gunawardena, the man doesn’t belong to Test Cricket. He and his colleagues, barring a few good men lack basic techniques and need to go back to the drawing board and work on them, if they have to sustain at this level. The middle-order seems too brittle for my liking. The players are not playing as per the team situation, but there are blokes in that eleven who are playing for their own future. It is not good to be in such situations, as it doubles the burden on the player. Guys like Jehan Mubarak should be given a longer dig at the level to really understand if they deserve the place. It would be really unfair on him, if he is dropped after the series.

As I see it, they will surely make changes in the playing XI at Ahmedabad. Thilan Samaraweera could end up opening the batting with Kumara Sangakkara and Atapattu shifting down the order. As for the bowlers, I have a sneaky suspicion about Lasith Malinga replacing Dilhara Fernando, and maybe young Sanjeewa Weerakoon, the left-armer from Chilaw could be given a go.

The series might have lost interest from the Indian perspective, as they have already laid one hand on the trophy, firmer it might seem from this heavy 188-run victory at Delhi, but the match in Ahmedabad should be an interesting one. The Lankans will have good memories of Motera, as their solitary win on Indian soil in the tour came there in the 5th ODI. One hopes that the Lankans will take fresh guard, in literal terms and look to compete and not succumb as meekly as they did in Delhi.