Sri Lanka are a proud cricketing nation who have not had a lot of success in cricket in recent years. The loss of some of their superstars, politics from the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SCB) and the bickering within the team has seen Sri Lankan cricket decline significantly much to the disappointment of Sri Lankan fans.
Must Turn Things Around Quickly
Sri Lanka would have loved to have started their New Year with a victory. Instead, they witnessed the first T20 being abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain. The second T20 was a chance to change their cricketing fortunes in the New Year but it wasn’t to be.
Sri Lanka were outplayed in all departments. India strolled to a comfortable win to secure a 1-0 lead in what is now be a 2 match series. Losing is a part of the game but the manner in which Sri Lanka lost is what will hurt most. The Lankan Lions came across as toothless lions as they struggled to find the boundary after being sent into bat.
Sri Lanka had no answers for the pace of Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur who captured 5 wickets between them. The Sri Lankan think tank have exactly two days to come up with a better strategy. The third and final T20 will take place in Pune on Jan 10.
It’s not just batting issues that Sri Lanka will have to address. Their bowling was well below par and posed no threat to the Indian batsmen. There is not much Sri Lanka can do here as they will most likely field the same bowlers.
Sri Lanka Mull Strategy
Mickey Arthur is currently the head coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team and he knows that he needs to get the team winning again, if he is going to keep his job. It is a difficult challenge to beat India at home but Arthur will want to put together a strategy that his players will be able to executive on the day.
It would help Sri Lanka if their captain Malinga can win the toss and get India to bat first. That’s a 50/50 percent chance and nothing Arthur or Malinga can do about it. What they can address is the line and length of their bowlers – Malinga in particular.
The Sri Lankan captain went for 41 runs of his 4 overs at Indore and took no wickets. Not the kind of performance you want to have when you are the captain. Malinga does look like a shadow of his former self but still believes he has a few more years of cricket left in him and can still contribute to the team.
If Malinga has another bad game, it might be time for Arthur to show him the door. Till then, Sri Lanka and Arthur will depend on Malinga to lift the spirits of the team and get them to put up a better performance in Pune.
Whether Sri Lanka bat first or bat second, they should ask their top three batsmen to be more aggressive. If you allow India’s seamers to settle in and find their line and length, it is going to be difficult for Sri Lanka to get past 160. The game plan should be to attack at the top of the order, let the middle order consolidate and keep wickets in hand for a final charge in the last 5 overs.
In the bowling department, Malinga needs to find form quick or else the Indian batsmen will take the game away!