One-nil down, Sri Lanka will strive hard to revive its ODI fortunes when they take on Pakistan in the second ODI here in Abu Dhabi 3 pm Abu Dhabi time. It has been really hard testing times for the island nation in the biff bang game in its rebuilding journey on the back of new blood. The experienced campaigner Tharanga will seek to improve on its one day record of 4 wins and 17 ODI losses this year. The new look team will of course take courage from the 2-nil Test series drubbing handed to Pakistan that is still fresh in the nostrils.
Sri Lanka’s immediate quest would be to forge ahead of ODI series losses to Zimbabwe, South Africa and India. Sri Lanka drew the home series against Bangladesh. While the batting department has seen several youngsters on the blocks getting the feel of things by way of international exposure, the bowling is an area the support staff headed by Head Coach Nic Pothas, and batting and bowling coaches Hashan Tillekeratne and Rumesh Ratnayake have been working on hard to put the young pack on course. Tillekeratne and Ratnayake are two of the best brains in their areas with a fantastic track record for their country during their heyday, and with their advent not so long ago the Sri Lankan cricket authorities have indeed put things in perspective to set things in motion. While the results would realistically revolve on the time factor to get the desired leverage, the Sri Lankan camp can take heart that the expert in the job are gelling them which raises hopes in the ongoing series of reviving Sri Lanka’s ODI image that once made the island nation world champions in 1995-96. The side batting first would benefit due to the dew condition that sets in later on where a 300-plus total would be on the cards.
The likely Sri Lankan composition for today’s game would be Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga (capt.), Kusal Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage with the final berth decided between Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera or Jeffrey Vandersay.
By Srian Obeyesekere reporting from Abu Dhabi
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-