The Unimaginable Has Happened By Underestimating Opponents and Excluding Key Players At Pallekele
Posted on July 9th, 2015

Top Spin By Suni- 9th July 2015

If Sri Lanka did not imagine they could lose the match at lunch on day four, as expressed by skipper Angelo Mathews after Pakistan romped to a seven-wicket win in Pallekele, to complete a 2-1 series victory. It was wishful thinking on his part.
When he talks about  tactical decisions to exclude Rangana Herath Sri Lanka’s highest rate spinner in place of Kaushal a relatively unknown bowler it seems a bit naive on his part as the calibre of the likes of Herath always seen to deliver when most needed where Kaushal and the rest of the attack was overpowered by the  pair of Younis Khan and Shan Masood in one of the most humiliating defeats Sri Lanka has been subjected to in recent times.

It has to be pointed out that depite  Sri Lanka’s third-innings score of  313, which set up a lead of 376, Pakistan chased down this target with ease, inside four sessions of batting which points to bad decision making by the selectors and lacklustre captaincy by Mathews who should never have lost his grip on the game with no killer instinct showing but of course sans the weapons to kill with having relinquished them at the point of team selection where the new selection committee seems to be a bunch of greenhorns prone to whimsical choices leaning towards experimentation when for a crucial.rubber Test the team should have been fortified with the best players on offer. In short Sri Lanka should in retrospect have never lost thisTest had they gone with the right combination. apart from the glorious uncertainties of cricket which now seems like an overused cliche.

It seems almost apathetical that match winners like Herath,  Kulasekera, and  Senanayake were omitted where the choice of Mubarak is questionable although Thranga fully deserves his place but preferably as an opener.

Of course the void left by the absence of Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne Dilshan was very obviously and painfully visible and the time is perhaps nigh to find worthy successors to these prominent players but as daunting as the task seems there is no need to bungle through the inclusion of passengers when there is  ample talent around and as a result of which Sri Lanka has also fallen in the Test rankings to the dismay of the adoring fans who expect much better from their champions.
With the T-20 World Cup looming and the rest of the limited overs schedule with Pakistan to complete, it is hoped that key players will not be haphazardly cut ( once again on the whims of a few selectors) who have already made. the cardinal error of once again excluding Herath which hopefully will not come back to haunt them

Interestingly enough there is also the name of a young spinner – Van Der Saa who troubled the Pakistanis in a warm up game that  probably deserves consideration as he bowled brilliantly.

Sadly, the plethora of excuses Mathews has made to the Press  is not adequate compensation for this humiliating loss despite his own personal contributions needing applause!
Moral of the story:-

Never underestimate teams like Pakistan or exclude players who may have had a hand in defeating them as has been the case.

7 Responses to “The Unimaginable Has Happened By Underestimating Opponents and Excluding Key Players At Pallekele”

  1. mario_perera Says:

    Thank you Suni for this worthwhile article midst a plethora of irrealistic imaginative speculation.

    To my mind, this defeat puts our cricket face to face with real, genuine issues. It is quite possible that the condition of the pitch thwarted our bowlers, yet the sudden drop in quality of main spinner Kaushal leaves room for concern. The fast bowlers, whatever their pace, could get no seam movement as the match progressed, quite unlike what Imran Khan produced for Pakistan.

    Yet what is most glaring is the failure of our top batsmen. The very top order failed miserably. So did the bottom order. the 7 batsmen and four bowlers does not work for SL, so unpredictable are they. This match could have been saved if the batsmen contributed their part. The slight deviation Imrah Khan produced after hitting the deck baffled our batsmen which is a matter of faulty technique. One after the other edging the ball to the slip cordon surely indicates faulty technique. The other factor was our vulnerability to the top class leg spin of Yasir. Several were caught at short leg plodding at the turning ball. Had our batsmen been able to hold out until tea, we would have saved the game. So the batting debacle cost us the match.

    We have to reassess our habit of including a set of bowlers who cannot hold a bat. This is unthinkable that test players be totally devoid of batting skills. A main condition for inclusion in the team should be the ability to bat as well. In a team with no really reliable batsmen (with one or two exceptions), playing bowlers who cannot bat is the height of folly.

    Mario Perera

  2. Independent Says:

    “Sadly, the plethora of excuses Mathews has made to the Press is not adequate compensation for this humiliating loss despite his own personal contributions needing applause!”

    This is important. This is the 2nd time same thing happened. And he still has not learned. This guy need a brain surgery.
    It is his negativity that brought us defeat. It is the fear of failure.
    Last time he got Herath to ball outside the leg stump and we got happened.
    This time he did not attack when they were 2 wickets down for nothing.

    I blame captaincy, totally. There was no plan to create rough by bowling round the wicket ( right arm bowlers) for Kaushal. Zero plan and expect others to fail.

  3. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    What’s done is cone and hope we learn from our mistakes,Indeed so true Mario that test bowlers also need to be test batsmen. Prasad and Kulasekera surely fit this description but some others are in a blue funk when they walk out to bat and an issue needing correction.
    Mathews needs no brain surgery but a good look at his techniques and decision making including his role as selector. We have the ODIs to make amends.

  4. Independent Says:

    Look, Please leave “Kulasekara” out. He is not a test bowler at all, in that case Angelo is better. Remember someone tried him few years back and got hammered by Chris Gale until they had to delete him from “test” list altogether.

    If we had Chameera or old Malinga results would have been opposite. You need a fast bowler who can create doubts in batsman’s mind.

  5. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    The first ODI at Dambulla has once again proved that Sri Lanka has no strike bowler capable of troubling batsmen. If there are players with proven credentials they are better than ” speculative prospects ” whose domestic record is no criterion for national team selection really. Leaving Herath out of the squad was bad enough so hopefully some of the old experienced players will come through albeit not necessarily Kulasekera! The past selection committee was prone to many bad choices and hopefully the present one will be different.

  6. mario_perera Says:

    “The first ODI at Dambulla has once again proved that Sri Lanka has no strike bowler capable of troubling batsmen.” Sunil Mahattaya

    How true.

    I would even go farther and say that “Sri Lanka has no strike batsmen capable of troubling bowlers”!.

    Mario Perera

  7. Independent Says:

    Again the stupid captaincy !

    RAS Lakmal 5 overs @ 4.20
    NLTC Perera 8 overs @ 4.00
    AD Mathews 5 overs @ 4.40
    TM Dilshan 8.2 overs @ 5.40
    TAM Siriwardana give only 2 overs @ 5.00

    Malinga 8 vers @ 7 per over
    S Prasanna 9 overs @ 8.00 per over

    See how he kept S. Prasanna and Malinga despite getting hammered ?

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