Dasun Shanaka – New Whiz Kid on the blocks

Badly bruised in the Test series, Sri Lanka could well be pleased that there are a couple of candidates for the whiz kid job to bleed England come the 5-match ODI series that kicks off tomorrow June 21 at Trent Bridge. That this fermenting hope to Sri Lankans comes from the young larder the national selectors have pinned faith on is indeed a morale boosting factor to the island  nation questing for the ideal gel in a team rebuilding voyage. With several freshers on the line of duty in the lost test series, seemingly  the Sri Lankan juggernaut of raw talent found the harsh cold English climes too much to cope with. It has been a gradual acclimatization that has seen some of the colts play some firebrand cricket against Ireland in romping home in the two ODIs.

For a team on a rediscovery trail of bashers for which Sri Lanka is renowned for in breathing the pinch hitting new dimension of hitting over the top, the arrival of young utility player Dasun Shanaka who smashed 42 off 19 balls in the first game against Ireland inclusive of 5 fours and 3 sixes is great reading for Sri Lankans. That was in the wake of a blistering century against Leicestershire in a 3-day warm-up game against Leicestershire ahead of the first test. Besides, the 24-year old has in a short time displayed qualities of an all-rounder. The right arm seamer’s fiery 3 wicket burst of England’s frontline for just 1 run when handed the ball in his debut Test at Leeds was another plus mark for the Sri Lankan camp. Incidentally, Shanaka cut his teeth in the game at Negombo’s Maris Stella College before branching to the city metropolis’ elite school St. Peter’s to fine tune his game.

While the presence of Shanaka therefore, must be a huge tonic for the ODI opener, the form of 21-year old Kusal Mendis who took two fifties off Ireland in the pivotal No.3 slot in virtually cementing the position in the team, and the murderous return to form by opener Kusal Janith Perera who mauled the Irish attack for 135 off 128 balls in the second ODI is tremendous reassuring stuff for skipper Angelo Mathews. The other plus marks have been left hander Danushka Gunatilleke’s 78-ball 63 in posting 148 for the first wicket with Kusal Janith Perera. The growing form of vice captain Dinesh Chandimal who followed up his century in the second Test with an unbeaten three figure score against Ireland in the opener is as much bolstering.   Also staking a strong claim for selection was Seekkuge Prasanna whose 46-ball 96 brought him on the threshold of bettering Sanath Jayasuriya’s 48-ball fastest ODI ton in 1996 in Singapore versus Pakistan. Prasanna, the specialist spinner could well make the eleven against England.

The showings against Ireland certainly cannot be taken lightly by the English for the Irish have made a name as a fighting outfit in instant cricket and do have quite some experienced players in the ranks.  From a Sri Lankan point of view, the camp has got the ideal run-up in getting to the crunch line of battling the English to defend the historic 3-2 series triumph Mathew’s charges registered in 2014. It would be a somewhat rejuvenated England that Sri Lanka face. Under Eoin Morgan the home team has atoned for its 2015 World Cup debacle having registered a few series wins. Thus, the series exchanges hold out some interesting fare with of course, the Sri Lankans, ranked No.5 one digit ahead of England in ICC rankings, having the type of ammunition to down the English in their own den despite retirement setbacks.


Tue 21 June – 1st Royal London ODI D/N – Trent Bridge

Fri 24 June – 2nd Royal London ODI D/N – Edgbaston

Sun 26 June – 3rd Royal London ODI – Bristol

Wed 29 June – 4th Royal London ODI D/N – Kia Oval

Sat 2 July – 5th Royal London ODI – SWALEC, Cardiff

By Srian Obeyesekere

-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-cheap nike air max 90