Sub-continent cricket teams don’t play well in New Zealand, as Sri Lanka have proven once again so far on their current tour there. Some would say that this claim is flawed, and in the case of Sri Lankan cricket, there is still a long rebuilding process ahead.
But long rebuilding process or not, the argument surrounding the sudden drops in form that sub-continent sides show playing cricket in Oceania suffer is a heated one. It’s not like Sri Lanka don’t tour countries like New Zealand and Australia often either; every other summer it seems like the blue army are descending on these shores over the Christmas period.
Sri Lanka Must Battle Against Woes In New Zealand
The departure of Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakarra was always going to leave a gaping hole in the Sri Lankan batting attack. In fact, if you look at the stats, those two batsmen alone have been two of the more successful on New Zealand soil.
In the opening two matches of the ODI series against New Zealand, the performance with the bat has been beyond poor for Sri Lanka, but this cannot be blamed on either the adjustment to conditions or the loss of the two batting legends. Sri Lanka have been in New Zealand for a month now and the basics are just not being done on a consistent level out on the oval.
Batting first in both matches, early wickets have fallen in bunches early with key players such as Tillakaratene Dilshan and Angelo Matthews failing to fire on good batting pitches and in the hot sun.
On the bowling front, much has been made about the form of young fast bowler, Dushmantha Chameera. During the second Test in Hamilton, Chameera put Sri Lanka into a winning position on day two with figures of 5/47, only for a spectacular batting collapse the next day to turn the match on its head. Chameera hasn’t fired in the ODI series thus far, but with that said, no one has for Sri Lanka, be it with bat or ball.
Superstar seamer Lasith Malinga departed the Test arena back in 2011 and now only plays for Sri Lanka in One Day cricket, leaving a big loss of leadership and experience for the bowling stocks in Tests. Currently, the Sri Lankan bowling attack is led by the likes of the popular Nuwan Kulasekara and Suranga Lakmal, but Chameera is quickly joining the senior ranks.
Sri Lanka go into Thursday’s match against New Zealand needing victory to keep the series alive, but as Blackcaps batting coach and former player Craig McMillan said, Sri Lanka are hurting right now but realise that they have the capability to turn their fortunes around. Experienced players in the side have to step up, or another disappointing tour to New Zealand is on the cards for one of cricket’s most beloved nations.