Sri Lanka, who emerged as runners up in the 2009 ICC T20 World cup in England, has not been impressive in the Caribbean this time around. Mahela Jayewardene has been the only player who has caught the eye of all international commentators, experts, pundits and even the general public. The rest of the players have not lived up to expectations so far.
The old cliché “Form is temporary class is permanent,” let’s hope this comes to pass, since most of the senior players barring Jayewardene look rusty, tired and out of sought. Let’s hope the toll of the recently concluded IPL is not playing her part with the players.
If Sri Lanka has to live up to her reputation, she needs a one hundred percent turn around in all three departments of the game. Jayewardene seems to be the sole bread winner in the batting department. He needs support not only at the top of the order but also in the middle and to some extent, extended support in the lower order as well. Living with past glories does not help at this level. The bowling must get tighter and the fielding must get disciplined both in catching and at ground level.
West Indies are an improved out fit with the likes of Chris Gayle, Chandrapaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Kiron Pollard looking in great nick. Darren Sammy has showed clear signs that he is a utility all rounder. Sri Lanka must take into account that Dwayne Bravo and Jerome Taylor put their hands up when it matters. The challenge for Sangakkara and his men this evening will be awesome.
Muttia Muralitheran bowled at the nets yesterday. This is good news from a Sri Lankan perspective. He, one reckons will be rested today, most probably the selectors on tour will play him in the next game against the mighty Aussies this Sunday. It is envisaged that Sanath Jayasuriya will open the batting, with Mahela Jayewardene. Jayasuriya will be given a free license to go after the bowling and this spells danger from a West Indian point of view.
Sanath has nothing to lose now; his mantle of being the sole run accumulator at very quick pace which he did so successfully in the yester year has changed hands now. It’s high time he goes out their bat with his instinct and enjoys the game that brought him so much glory. If Sanath succeeds he will not only quench the thirst of his countrymen, but also will silence those who were critical of him being selected for this tour.
Dilshan will need to get back to the drawing room. He had an excellent 2009, but 2010 has not been a bright beginning for this talented cricketer. “The darkest hours of the day are before dawn”, hope Dilshan will keep that in mind and not lose hope.
Sri Lanka will decide on the playing Eleven after looking at the pitch at Bridgetown Barbados today. Barbados has more bounce and carry, unlike rainforest Guyana where the wickets were sluggish and slow.