Why Did The Sri Lankan’s Squander The Game Against Australia and the CB Tri Series? Some Reflections In Retrospect !
Posted on March 8th, 2012

Top Spin By Suni

March 9th 2012

Perhaps the eternal unanswerable question as far as Sri Lanka cricket goes is paradoxically a very simple one relative to the team selection although the final answer must hinge on burnout and fatigue as playing a series to this intensity practically every other day seems to have taken its toll on both Sri Lanka and Australia where the casualty list was quite indicative by sheer statistics. However it was a game once again squandered by Sri Lanka who seem to have a penchance for close calls throughout the series as having swept away India and beaten Australia thrice just did not make it in the ultimate final. Not simply the glorious uncertainties of cricket but a distinct predictability towards the incapacity for closure perhaps.

 Despite the toss won by Mahela and there are uncanny nudges that prompt the thought that they just might have batted first on this track which was flat albeit with some life and the Aussies probably tickled pink when put in as they seemed to be clinically aware of their own turf where even a sub par score of under 250 eventually paid dividends even by a meagre margin much to their delight. And it seems “fair dinkum!” ( to use the famous Aussie jargon) that they would probably have batted had they won the toss.

 The Lankan effort in the field was at time in tatters despite individual brilliamce and very indicative of the probable burnout suggested earlier and the overall effort did curb the Aussies to a very getable score by Sri Lanka or so they probably thought inasmuch as the vast throng of supporters their trumpets fanfare and all! but how wrong this thought proved to be at the end as the Lankans walked away dejected from a win that might have been.

 The top order failed as usual with the exception of the previous game where all engines fired and this time Dinesh Chandimal seemed to have bypassed the brilliance he showed previously, LasithMalinga seemed a tad disoriented and the usually nonchalant flamboyance of Mahela Jayawardena, Sangakkara and Dilshan a thing of the recent past.

 The Aussies defending their modest total of 231 did what was necessary in containing the Lankans with early strikes on the top order and despite flourishes by Tharanga, Kulasekera and Maharoof succumbed to the persistence of the Aussies, their varied pace and spin whilst pegging away with their quickies mostly and persistence paid off in the end. They had measured their opponents well and were justly rewarded with a bit of ineptitude on the part of some who could have raised Sri Lanka to glory which will now have to wait for the Asia Cup perhaps, even speculatively!

 Upul Tharanga batting lower in the order as opposed to his number one role seemd in a test match mode as he was overly cautious giving away more dot balls than the 77 he top scored with as the Aussies made it past the post perhaps to their relief as there was a time in the game where it appeared that the Sri Lankans were about walk away with the championship with a lower order fight back but crumpled as the relentless Aussies inched past them to secure the CB Trophy and all the glory that went with it. Well done Australia.

 In conclusion it might be said that the Lankans showed their fighting spirit and some brilliance throughout the series which was perhaps mainly a Mahela Jayawardena effort with brilliant Dilshan and at times Sangakkara and Chandimal the catalysts towards the games they secured magnificiently which in the end was a lost cause as it tantamounted to zilch beyond the prestige of winning! This was surely a series which the Sri Lankans should have walked away with after they came from behind to top the points table and firm favourites to win the overall championship as acknowledged even by the likes of Wasim Akram, Sanjay Manjrekar,Tom Moody and Ian Chappel in the commentary box so was it the commentators curse which prevailed? Hardly likely!

 There was also this nagging thought about what really motivates team selection by Sri Lanka as some of the choices and exclusions seemed more perplexing than appropriate towards the best interests of Sri Lanka but of course at times prompted by the injuries to the likes of Angelo Matthews and Thisara Perera whose absences were more than conspicuous in the final but what the heck was Kapugedera doing in the squad when there were better options bypassed and in the overall scheme of things why was Rangana Herath, easily Sri Lanka’s current best spinner, no mug with the bat at times and capable of brilliant fielding despite some lapses shown omitted from the squad for the Asia Cup?

 There still seems to be a few myopic selectors who regardless of the rhetoric from the powers that be towards “a new look Cricket Board ” that somehow manage to throw in a spoke or two it is assumed and often appear to be unable to put together the ultimate match winning combination as desrving players are sidelined or overlooked but the eloquence of some of the orators at the end of the matches never ceasing to be laced with excuses and whistful might have beens.

Perhaps the outspokenness at the recent Lord’s Cowdrey address by one of Lanka’s finest~ Mr Kumar Sangakkara himself should once again prevail to challenge what seems to be behind the scenes bungling that often costs the Lankans dearly and at Adelaide this surely seems to have been the case!

Certainly reason enough to let the coach, captain and vice captain be the only authorities over final selection and whom to request as replacements to injured players which is far from reality at the present.

11 Responses to “Why Did The Sri Lankan’s Squander The Game Against Australia and the CB Tri Series? Some Reflections In Retrospect !”

  1. aravinda Says:

    Rubbish. The pitch was of 3 days. It was wearing and 231 a good score. It’s tailor made for Australian bowlers. Last year, Nathan Lyons was the groundsman in Adelaide and he played this match. Sri Lankans did well. Their brand of cricket is loved and adored and lets respect them.

  2. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Ok Mr know it all so quick to trash realities, so why in your opinion did Mahela not bat first having won the toss? You think he overheard Nathan Lyon? Real Rubbish ! ~ if so! You sound a bit like your namesake who was a brilliant cricketer when he played for Sri Lanka but a somewhat tentative commentary maker struggling to come up with ideas when he did a brief stint in the commentary box!This was a pretty glaring Faux Pas on the part of the Lankans admit it!! They screwed up big time!

  3. Wickrama Says:

    BRILLIANT article written with TERRIFIC ADVANTAGE of HINDSIGHT and COMPLETE DISREGARD to GLORIOUS UNCERTAINTIES of Cricket !!

  4. Wickrama Says:

    Further to my comments on March 9th, 2012 at 9:36 am, read below for a very balanced article.
    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556726.html

  5. sena Says:

    Your comment on Kapugedera – he is the lamb to slaughter. How can one excel when dumped suddenly on an unfamiliar scenario. He was performing well few years ago but never given a long enough stint in the team to evaluate his capability. Another point why Dilshan is trying risky shots like the scoop? He got out many times after settling well trying those shots (ncluding in this match)

  6. wasantha Says:

    With all the excitement we had with our team in Australia, it is a shame that we couldn’t select the best team from the best and young available in the country.
    I cannot understand why Kapugedara was sent for injured players when he was a constant failure. Look at his average, only 20 it is grave injustice to the immense talent in the A team with very high batting average.
    Why Herath is in the team? He is old and lethafgic on the field though he took some freak catches. He hardly turns the ball. He is not the best spinner we have. Why this injustice to Mendis?
    Tharanga is most unskilled batsman we have. He can play only one shot and that is the one he always gets out. He low rate of scoring have put others under pressure and forced to make risky shots.
    Malings always had IPL in his mind was very careful not to make any injury to himself.
    We lucky because of young playerd we have intriduced. It is better bring the young talent we have before we meet the same fate as WI.

  7. cassandra Says:

    Thank you, Wickrama for drawing attention to that article at the espncricinfo website.

    I hope readers take the time to visit that ‘site and note for themselves what that piece has to say. The article shows just good the SL team was and how much Mahela and ‘the boys’ achieved in Australia – they were, by a significant margin, the best performed of the three teams taking part, and in all facets of the game. True, they lost the Third Final but they won the tournament. Not many teams, especially from the subcontinent, do as well as the SL team did.

    We ought also to not overlook the enormous amount of goodwill they earned for the country and the many friends they made, with the way they played and in the way they conducted themselves.

    Terry Alderman, the former Australian fast bowler was part of the ABC Radio commentary team in Adelaide and was staying at the same hotel as the SL team. He said that the SL team was so obviously popular that when it left for the ground, all the hotel staff provided it with a ‘guard of honour’.

  8. Marco Says:

    Cricinfo article was indeed a well informed and balanced article.

    Well done Sri Lanka it was a sterling performance one should be proud of, even though we missed the final hurdle.
    Mahela marshaled his troops very well even though he got hot under the collar and got fined. I loved the comment he made “If I get paid then I don’t mind paying 10%” A dig at the Sports Ministry? Why was it necessary for the Minister of Sport to fly at very short notice to attend the final? I fear the SL cricket team loses every time he attends an important match.

    Going forward, the Asia Cup next week is going to further drain the Lankans with possible injuries etc before a important Test Series (non of this pyjama cricket) against England.

    I noticed Andrew Straus and four of his batsmen are already in SL (3 weeks before the Test) acclimatising and getting used to the slow turning wickets whilst the rest of the party arrives today. Some of them even attended the Big Match at the SSC.
    I understand the ECB have made a monetary contributions towards practice sessions and matches.
    The SL team arrive back 48 hours before the Test match.

    The SL team always have difficulty in English conditions swinging, bouncy and seaming conditions and yet are not allowed? or is it financial reasons to climatise two weeks in advance.

    The forth coming Test series will be a hard fought series testing the stamina and fitness of the SL team

  9. Marco Says:

    It looks like Andy Flower has been given a advance copy of the “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields; War Crimes Unpunished”

    See the interview before he boarded the flight to Colombo on
    http://www.channel4.com/news/should-englands-cricket-team-tour-sri-lanka

    Did the Customs officer confiscate the DVD?

  10. Christie Says:

    I am no expert but Clint Mkay’s bowling did the job.

    Sri Lankans played a great game.

  11. cassandra Says:

    aMarco,

    I like your comments.

    I try not to be superstitious but cannot help feeling that the presence of SL VIPs at these games seems to bring some sort of bad luck. Why indeed was the Minister of Sport at the game? It isn’t as if he was able to take the place of the injured Mathews. I also remember how a VVIP ‘graced’ the last two World Cup Finals in which SL played. Alas, his presence did little for the team!

    I hope the cricket administrators take a leaf out of what Andrew Strauss and his team are doing in getting to Sri Lanka well ahead of the start of the matches, in order to get used to the local conditions, and make sure that when SL next plays abroad, it also gets to the host country well in time to get acclimatised to the conditions in that country. Part of the reason for India’s poor showing in the recent Tests in Australia was the fact that the Indian team arrived so late and gave itself no time to get used to the prevailing conditions which are so different from those in India. Flintoff’s team to play in the Ashes series in 2006 committed the same error. But the team Stauss led during the last Ashes series in Australia arrived in Australia well ahead of the Tests and got enough practice in Australian conditions. And the benefit of doing so was reflected in the team’s success in the Test series.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the international cricketing calendar is so crowded and is at the mercy of powerful business interests that international teams are compelled to conform with very demanding schedules. But the national cricketing authorities must be more mindful of the welfare of the players and make sure that they are not exposed to the danger of ‘burn out’ from too taxing a programme. Just consider for instance the number of games the SL team had to play during the last days of its stay in Australia while playing in the Commonwealth Bank series. On the Sunday the team played in Brisbane.(in the state of Queensland) Then it was on to Adelaide (in South Australia) to play on Tuesday and again on Friday. I hope those who are quick to blame the team when it fails, do not overlook this factor.

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