By Srian Obeyesekere reporting from Sharjah
The challenge cannot loom any thornier for Sri Lanka badly in need of a win to break a straight eleven losses barren run going in to the fifth and final ODI at the Sharjah Stadium on Monday against a highly rampant Pakistan leading 4-nil. The bottom line to the ailing cricket of Upul Tharanga’s charges has been largely due to lack of wholehearted commitment in analytical perspective. Lacking has been a workable game plan phasing in all three departments of the game. Cricket’s gospel truth like in any sport is the need for cohesion, and in cricket the knitting combinative factor to come on top is necessarily cohesion in the batting, bowling and fielding. That the formula to achieve success has fallen apart has to put in a nutshell been the failure for all three units to click in one accord.
The batting has lacked the commitment of phasing out 50 overs in the ideally instant cricket formula; an instant cricket formula that calls for disciplined batting of the cool composure of run grafting in getting in to the initial curve of a sound start. Therein, Sri Lanka’s downfall has been that batsmen have not been able to execute patience of laying the right foundation where the first 25 overs should be playing a waiting game in getting the right run balance to put the top gear to run accumulation. That the Sri Lankan have lacked that purpose and gone about in bits and pieces sans the concentrated application that comes with disciplined batting has been the cause for the lack of enough runs on the drawing board to stretch Pakistan.
The bowling has been markedly improved, but lacked the finishing power of going for the kill from a point of having decimated Pakistan early in the innings. Meanwhile, the fielding has also lacked the elastic tightness of holding on to the catches that win matches. Several straightforward catches being grasped has shown a skeleton in the cupboard while run curbing has not seen the desired spring in their steps.
For the fifth game, Sri Lanka has wrung two changes in fast bowlers Vishwa Fernando and Dushmantha Chameera for Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage while continuing with utlity player Milinda Siriwardena who had come a cropper with the bat and ball in all four matches. In that perspective, the continued discarding of batsman Kusal Mendis must be interpreted as awry. For, in comparison of the two Mendis certainly possesses that element of turning a game despite his poor form in recent outings that triggered his axing.
Sri Lanka: 1 Niroshan Dickwella, (wk), 2 Upul Tharanga (capt.), 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Lahiru Thirimanne, 5 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 6 Milinda Siriwardana, 7 Seekkuge Prasanna, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Vishwa Fernando. 11 Jeffrey Vandersay.
Pakistan: 1 Fakhar Zaman, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk) 7 Faheem Ashraf, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Shadab Khan, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Usman Khan
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-