Sri Lanka enters SSC Test with a healthy headache
Published : 6:08 pm June 29, 2012 | 4 comments |
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Sri Lankafacing an absolute dilemma at the SSC grounds whether to go with experienced Dilhara Fernando or young and energetic Thisara Perera for the second cricket test against Pakistan, starting on Saturday. Sri Lankafacing a crunch game after winning the first test in Galle by 209 runs and looking forward for a series win after two years.
On several occasions during the last couple of years, Sri Lanka gained the upper hand in the series in Galle but failed to deliver in Colombo and Kandy, losing their opportunities to register a test series win since the retirement of ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Hence, Sri Lanka needs to re-think, not once but twice, on who will be sharing the new ball with Nuwan Kulasekara, who made a royal return to the team after a long lapse. Despite being in a dilemma, Mahela Jayawardene feels he has a healthy headache and not a bad one.
"Nuwan Kulasekara is definitely playing as he is bowling well. Whether we go with an experienced bowler, or whether we stick to what we had in Galle or bring Thisara into the fold are things that we can think and decide what combination to go with," Jayawardene told reporters on Friday.
Usually Sri Lanka has a habit of falling to experience on this kind of crunch situations over the years. Yet, the conditions here at the SSC seem to be somewhat different than previously. "In Test cricket, you like to think that experience counts a lot. We lack experience in bowling. But sometime the unknown quantity can give you a bit of surprise," said Jayawardene.
"A guy, who has not played that, much can come in and not get overwhelmed by the occasion and have a great game," he said. On this kind of a situation, Thisara Perera has a clear edge over experienced Dilhara Fernando. Sri Lankarecalled Dilhara Fernando to the squad for the second test after Chanaka Welagedara was ruled out with a shoulder injury. At the same time, the islanders had Thisara Perera already inside the dressing room.
Perera, who claimed 11 scalps in 5 ODI against Pakistan, a couple of weeks ago, was adjudged Man of the Series. Perera, a useful all-rounder in ODI cricket, played all his five test matches overseas and claimed seven wickets. Sri Lanka's South African coach, Graham Ford, recently said that the 23 year old Perera reminds him of Lance Klusener. In contrast, Fernando has claimed 97 wickets from his 39 test matches played since 2000. He claimed four wickets in an innings for the last time in 2006 and his last five-wicket haul in a test innings was against Bangladesh in 2005.
Statistics goes on to show that Fernando has a poor success rate of 15 wickets in 10 innings and he is one of those prone to injuries. In his last five test series, Fernando claimed 14 wickets in 8 tests. When it comes to batting, Sri Lanka has no problem whatsoever since Kumar Sangakkara has regained the second slot in ICC test batting rankings. The left-hander is keen to re-capture the top spot with better performance at the SSC, where he scored 274 to post the world record partnership with Mahela Jayawardene in 2006. Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv too are bowling well and Sri Lanka looks a finely tuned team.
Pakistan’s regular skipper, Misbah Ul Haq will return to the side after his one match ban and most probably, seamer, Mohammed Sami too will feature in the Pakistan line up. If that is the case, the tourists will be a better set than in Galle.
- By Daminda Wijesuriya