Sri Lanka will go in to the third Test against India starting tomorrow Saturday at Pallekelle having drafted into the 15-member squad fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage following the injury sidelining of Nuwan Pradeep. Chameera comes in for Pradeep, and Gamage for spin veteran Rangana Herath who is sidelined by a stiff back. Batsman Dhanushka Gunathilaka, who debuted at Galle for the indisposed captain Dinesh Chandimal.
Reflectively, Sri Lanka, who will play for a consolation win, will need to have an out of the box strategy to get the better of the high riding Indians. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal has aired that ‘beating the No.1 Test team would be a big boost to Sri Lanka lifting itself from a dented bad streak despite losing the series’.
For a team on the rebuilding curve, certainly new dimensional tactics would be imperative to match the high riding Indians. To match so many aces in the Indian batting pack, Sri Lanka needs to produce a Sanath Jayasuriya like mauler. Despite a pair in the second Test, Upul Tharanga still packs the fire power to do so up the order followed by the imaginative batting of Kusal Mendis. Angelo Mathews could well be the real destructor, but needs to get that old spring in his step that once made him a match winning batsman. Indeed, imaginative batting is the slogan word to match high scoring India to compensate for Sri Lanka’s sub standard bowling attack with Nuwan Pradeep, the only bowler to have reaped some success sidelined by injury. Opener Damith Karunaratne has proved to be the backbone stonewaller while Niroshan Dickwella too has shown appetite for runs. What it needed is the discipline and commitment to go the distance; a decisive combinative factor Sri Lanka has been found wanting.
The best lesson in example has been the aptitude displayed by the Indians, particularly the batsmen
intent on grinding down the Lankan bowlers. In effect, strategy is the name of the game to Sri Lanka’s way forward in getting its act together. Sri Lanka must necessarily arm itself to take on a well drilled pace-spin attack if Chandimal and company are to walk the talk.
By Srian Obeyesekere