Sri Lanka: A Chance to Shine Against Australia

Dasun Shanaka in T20 action for Sri Lanka.
Spread the love

‘All rise. Court is now in session,’ says the bailiff. ‘Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,’ says the judge. ‘Calling the case of the Australia Cricket Team versus Sri Lanka into session. Are both sides ready?’

‘Yes your honour,’ answers Dasun Shanaka, while checking to see if Suranga Lakmal can get on a flight to Australia and call off his early retirement. ‘Yes your honour,’ repeats Aaron Finch, all the while thinking the T20 side don’t need a coach when they have him around the team.

The prosecution believes it should be an easy win for Australia. After all, they’re T20 world champions, embarrassed England recently in the Ashes and whitewashed the Sri Lankans three years ago when these sides last met in a bilateral series. However, the defence argues they have the #1 T20I bowler on their side and no Nuwan Pradeep to gift the opposition healthy full tosses at the death and perfect-paced half volleys at the start.

If you’re not after an episode of court-room drama, then we have an interesting cricketing battle starting in Sydney on Friday. Last time Sri Lanka toured Australia for a three-match series, saying they were obliterated would be an understatement. It was so bad, one of the Sri Lankan bowlers Kasun Rajitha ended up registering the most expensive bowling figures in T20I history (4-0-75-0) during the series as the Australian batters hammered the Sri Lankan attack into the ground.

But there are perhaps reasons to be confident in Sri Lanka’s chances this time around. Of the squad that toured Australia three years before, only six players have returned for this trip and the current Sri Lankan side has a bit more zest about them. That makes a whitewash seem comparatively unlikely. In fact, if anything, a window of opportunity has presented itself for Sri Lanka to make some waves and build momentum towards the next limited overs World Cup.

Australia are without a coach. They are also without their T20 pillars, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh, who have both been rested. Could that be a case of overconfidence in the Australian camp? It is still a strong side, but Marsh in particular was the lynchpin of their World Cup success. The legends that dominated the last successful era of Sri Lankan cricket have long-since retired and this side has had enough time to build an identity of its own. They can no longer excuse their failures by claiming they are a team in transition.  If they want to break the cycle of rebuilds, this is their opportunity. The question now is: can they take it?

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images