Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 5th day

Sri Lanka's skill demands they do better

While some of the fighting individual performances in Hobart were consolations for Sri Lanka, many in the team did not reach their full potential; they must strive for more in the two remaining Tests

Andrew Fernando in Hobart

December 18, 2012

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

As Sri Lanka's Nos. 10 and 11 trudged off the Bellerive square just after 6pm, their expressions conveyed no pleasure at having held off the juggernaut until the final hour, only disappointment. There will be temptation to cast Sri Lanka's loss as a moral victory - the runt that had more scrap than expected, but that was always going to be too weak to roll with the big dog - but Sri Lanka owe themselves a more honest evaluation than that. They were outplayed consistently across all disciplines in this Test, and their talent demands better than their showing in Hobart.

From a purely statistical perspective Sri Lanka may have edged out sessions on day four and five but, in truth, their only really dominant period in the match was the morning of day three, in which Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews made rapid runs and suffered no setbacks. There was much to admire about Sri Lanka's grit on the final day, and the welts they will wear as they recover from the match will remind them that they were at least in a fight on a fiendish, fissured pitch. Mahela Jayawardene even described each chunk of clay amid the cracks as "plates" - and it was not hard to imagine the surface as a tectonic map. But Sri Lanka should never have fallen so far as to be clawing at their opponents so desperately on the fifth day.

Before the Test Jayawardene had called on his experienced batsmen to rally, and though they were given a golden chance to conceal a blemished bowling performance through an adventurous declaration from Michael Clarke, they spurned that opportunity by clattering to 87 for 4. Dimuth Karunaratne, playing his second Test, and having received a fine ball from Ben Hilfenhaus, might be forgiven. But the other three who fell on the second evening cannot allow themselves so generous an assessment.

Kumar Sangakkara is contending for greatness, not only in Sri Lanka's pantheon - where he is deservedly hailed by some as the country's best-ever batsman - but on a global scale as well. Notoriously hard-working, the many hours he would have spent in preparation for this Test were not done justice in his second innings fifty when hopes of victory seemed remote. Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera also showed some ticker in the fourth innings, but Sri Lanka had the best of the batting conditions on days two and three, and yet did not convert that advantage into a more competitive total.

Sri Lanka have escaped the least likely venue of the tour to have suited their strengths with a bruised but unbroken spirit. They cannot, however, allow such small successes to overshadow the opportunities missed.

"We were a little loose with the bat in the first innings and we need to tighten things up a bit more," Jayawardene said after the match. "In the first innings we need to consolidate a bit better. When you put runs on the board in the first innings of the Test, that's where you take control of a match."

Sri Lanka's fielding was also lacklustre during the Test. For years they have prided themselves on being the best fielding side in the subcontinent, but the dropped catches and misfields served mostly to further deflate a faltering bowling effort in the first innings. If they are to take 20 wickets in either of the remaining Tests, Sri Lanka's energy in the field must make up for what they lack with the ball.

There are signs the bowlers can learn to be effective however and perhaps, even more than Dilshan's hundred, that is the most reassuring thought with which they leave Hobart. Rangana Herath's five-wicket haul will give Sri Lanka hope that they can at least hope for penetration in the second innings and on a better pitch for spin, maybe even in the first. Chanaka Welegedara's improved performance in the second innings also suggests that his long road back from injury is coming to an end, and he may once again be ready to don the pace spearhead's mantle that he carried creditably in 2011.

"There were glimpses of Chanaka's form coming back," Jayawardene said. "After eight months away, he showed a lot of improvement.

"We can take positives out of the way Dilshan batted. It was a very controlled innings the way he dominated the attack. Angelo batted really well in a tough situation as well when we were four down. Even in the second innings, even though we knew the pitch was going to be tough, everyone buckled down and batted really well. We were getting a few blows on the body, but everyone stuck to their task. Very proud of the way the boys fought."

These are consolations; perhaps, considering the supposed chasm in quality between the teams, Sri Lanka deserve to linger on happy notes as well. They may be facing a series deficit, but at least Sri Lanka have escaped the least likely venue of the tour to have suited their strengths with a bruised but unbroken spirit.

They cannot, however, allow such small successes to overshadow the opportunities missed. There are plenty in the visiting side who know they did not realise their potential in Hobart, and they will hope to turn disappointment into desperation in the matches to come.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 21, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

@Meety, comments for this section will shortly close. My prediction for tests is 2-0 Australia, but for ODIs may well be 4-1 or 3-2 Sri Lanka looking at our recent record and also the fact that our bowlers excel as run stoppers.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 21, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

@Meety, thanks a lot. By the way, last 2 instances when Australia lost at the MCG, which was in Dec 2008 and 2010 to South Africa and England respectively, Australia went on to lose the test series. SL does not have the pace bowling attack to make an impact at the SCG. I better lower my hopes for MCG. But should we lose at the MCG, we will be rather deflated by the time we play at the SCG, when conditions will favor us.

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2012, 0:58 GMT)

@Sinhaya on (December 20 2012, 07:21 AM GMT) - bearing in mind, that sometimes the MCG is tough to bat on first day. I think the 2nd innings is often the better one for batting. So if you bat first & get 400, you'll have done well.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 20, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

@Meety yes I agree we could be a little deflated but the level of deflatedness will be less than it was after the Cardiff and Pretoria debacles. MCG will definitely produce a result as all Boxing Day tests from year 1999 have produced results. Since 1999 till today England won 2 tests and SA once at the MCG. Well so hope we bat first and post 400 to be safe. Starc and Siddle will really fire at us.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

id say last innings was totally okay it was hard to bat n we batted well bt first innings well other than dilshan n mathews there's nothing to talk about nah ? if we had scored over 400 in the first innings it would hv been great :) anywy great captaincy by clack just great he was so positive n prevent lots of singles while lankans batting witch mahela did not mahela let aussy;s to get away n take singles n two's i think that played a big part in the match, bt in the last day it was really hard to bat so we did well hv some good hopes for the next games well this is what i think aussy;s without clack means a great chance for sri lanka :) n think its the time to give a run to nuwan pradeep a guy who can bwl over 150kph why hez sitting out side, in aussy soil ?? anywy congratulations for aussys they played batter cricket n won having said that love ma Lions :) good luck sri lanka :) :)

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (December 20, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

I love Oz / Sri Lankan series, the posts are always thoughtful, knowledgable and friendly rather than parochial and venomous. I was watching Starc bowling yorkers and thinking how much all genuine cricket lovers would love to have Malinga still able to last an entire test match. He has been a joy to watch in the 20/20 Big Bash over here, the younger batsmen and even some of the more experienced ones, have no idea what he is bowling. It's wonderful to watch. On to the test, I agree that Clarke made the game with his declaration but I also think that events overshadowed just how well Matthews batted. It is a shame he has the Watson disease at the moment, the ability to look totally in command then get out to odd shots. Or maybe we should call it the Mark Waugh - Sanath Jayasuraya disease in honor of past glories?

Posted by Meety on (December 20, 2012, 0:47 GMT)

@Sinhaya on (December 19 2012, 14:36 PM GMT) - IMO, those wickets that fell on Day 2, were a by-product of Oz's 1st innings, & you often get a few top order wickets in a 2nd innings that starts late in a day. Clarke has made several declarations around Tea time in his short captaincy career. I was more dissappointed that SLs tail did not show more fight, considering that even their worst tailender is not a real bunny. In the WIndies, some good fight by Oz's tail helped pilfer an unlikely win. I thought SL were a strong chance of a draw until I saw the reckless way Hearth batted. To blame them for the loss is a bit too much, but as I said previously an extra 8 balls per partnership for the last 4 wickets in BOTH innings would of JUST saved the match. Now Oz head to the Boxing Day clash full of confidence, & SL must be a little deflated.

Posted by Jojygeorge on (December 19, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

Mate Sinhaya, what i meant was that SL batsman should look to win more test matches in Eng,SA and Aus instead of just trying to put up some fight. I know that SL have won test matches in Eng and SA, but they should be winning more often to be considered a decent test side. Just look at the difference in experience between Aus and SL top 5 batsmen in terms of the number of test matches, SL should be winning the series hands down.....but instead, they are just fighting to stay in the match and series!

Posted by Independencechoice1 on (December 19, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Well fought Sri Lanka to draw the match.But almost no fight to win the match.That's because we had to play according to Clarke's schedule.He is the architect of the match. Better do not have excuses like pitch,toss etc.Pitch was up and down true,but both teams played on it.They just utilized it better than us.We lost the toss and got to ball first which is not bad because Australian pitches have more life in the first day.We didn't had enough venom in the attack.Where were those short stuffs to break the concentration of batsmen.SL fast bowlers develop more and this is a good opportunity. Hats off to Oz for fighting one bowler short and still winning the match.

Posted by Independencechoice1 on (December 19, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

@Sugath on (December 19 2012, 04:24 AM GMT) can't understand your theory about refusing 4 pacies.A spinner for Kulasekara is ok but not a big deal,unless to lower the run rate more.These matches are played in Australia not in sub-continent. Which spinner would you choose? Randiv?He is not effective in SL either against Kiwis.But he might get some bounce there. Mendis?Herath is struggling to turn the ball so what of Mendis?His balls might come dead-straight for the most parts of the match.He has the variations but wont be able to execute them properly.

Posted by Independencechoice1 on (December 19, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

Mahela please use Shaminda more with new ball.He is the likely one to penetrate with new ball.And if we want to win here we should risk being defeated.So better drop Kulasekara and go for extra aggresion either with Prasd or Pradeep.They might not able to held Oz run rate,but you want to strike hard to win a match.Going for win makes a sporting mind not like trying to save skin.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 19, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

@Jojygeorge, I respect your opinion on Sri Lanka and that is fine. You are wrong in telling we have not won tests in England and South Africa as we have registered 2 test wins in England including a 1-1 draw in 2006 and a win in SA alst year. This Hobart pitch was the toughest of 3 we will get and I am sure we will do better at the MCG and SCG. I know Aussies are tough and we have to be at our best. I have all my respect for Aussie cricketers. Regarding Alastair Cook, well I will leave it for your boys to deal with him in England next year. Just as much I am sure England will come out with a plan to tackle Australia's test run machine Clarke and Hussey. I am absolutely sure Australia's pace bowling for the next decade is perfectly set, but batting lineup is the worry. Looking forward to a great Ashes next year.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 19, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

@SamRoy, Meety and Chris_P, in test cricket one bad session costs you a match and it is the batsmen who lose you test matches. Our top order failing late towards day 2 was the root cause behind our loss. Our tail cannot be expected to do much in Hobart. I know Aussies will be having a high morale, but still I feel our defeat here will leave us less worried in contrast to our worries which prevailed after our Cardiff and Pretoria defeats last year. Melbourne and Sydney will be better for us due to the large Lankan fan base, but still the pitch wont help us like how the Durban Kingsmead helped us last year. Turn at the Kingsmead is perhaps 80% of Galle. I also think Nathan Lyon is very good. Just that our batsmen like Sanga and Mahela are fantastic against spin bowling. Lyon bowled very well and would have been nice if he too took a wicket or 2. We must tackle Lyon by getting singles off him as hitting him will backfire big time.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 19, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@bravetigersmustwin, you must take gambles in cricket and that is the greatness of Michael Clarke. He was brave to declare against Windies in Barbados this year when trailing by 40 runs and won by 3 wickets. Well he has the bowlers to bank hopes on unlike us. But still, this last day pitch was daunting that Bangladesh bowlers too would have taken wickets. We tried our best but Aussies were too good so congratulations Australia!

Posted by dsig3 on (December 19, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

@Charindra Chandrasena if you want to know about hurt, try beating the number 1 team for 10 days straight without landing a knockout punch, only to lose the series after a bad session in the last test. Losing the first game in foreign conditions is no shame. I was physically ill after Aus could not beat SA in Adelaide, beating SL 2 more times will do little to change that unfortunately.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

This loss hurt me. Maybe it was that Aus were a bowler short, or that umpire Nigel Llong seemed intent on helping out the Aussies with some dodgy decisions, or that SL never thought of winning the game once Dilshan got out, or that the opposition was Australia, but this loss really hurt. It's the most hurt I've been since the 2011 world cup. Now we have to come from behind and win at least 1 more game. I really hope we win the toss and bat in MCG. Otherwise it's a really tough task.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

@Jojygeorge - I think you might have got up from the wrong side of the bed? we are not talking about A Cook it's about our team...tyipical.....

Posted by bravetigersmustwin on (December 19, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

@Sinhaya i partially agree with your opinion that SL would have won if they batted first provided if SL declared at 450(big gamble) and SL bowlers backing that decision.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Totally agreed . We need someone who can get under their skin...otherwise they will continue their ugly sledging and all and will be on the top of the game from the start

Posted by randikaayya on (December 19, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

MCG is a different pitch and different climate, rather more akin to SL than Hobart. Hopefully Mahela will win the toss and harness whatever advantage that may bring cos SL can do with some luck. Aussies played well and dominated the game so they deserve to go 1 up. Sl must rally like they did in England and South Africa to come back strongly after losing the first game. DO NOT capitulate like the Indian team did and concede the series limply.. Looking forward to a keen contest on 26th!

Posted by SamRoy on (December 19, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

@Sinhaya I think SL deserve a lot of credit for the way they fought in the 4th innings batting almost 120 overs. The reason they lost was bad shot selection in their first innings to get reduced to 87-4. I think it is time to give Chandimal a game in place of Prasanna so that he gets some experiance for future. I like Chandimal and Mathews. Both are good young cricketers. Starc and Pattinson will be two stars for Australia in the future and I like them a lot. Actually, even though I am an Indian I like good cricket and there is nothing better than watching good, young talents coming up the ranks.

Posted by Dulm on (December 19, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Sri Lanka's approach on 5th day was very negative,having their best two at the wickets, should have played more positively in order to upset the Aussies plans. Mahela should have played his natural game,there was a time that he played a rank fulltoss of Warner just for a single. finally he couldn't survive or not scored any runs.Anyway in recent years Sri Lanka's approach to the game is very negative, remember a instance where we could have easily chased the target in a recent Pakistan game.and if you are planning to save a match in that way, fine .. you should stay until the end like AB de Villiers and Faf Du Plessis during the 1st and 2nd test matches with Aussies.

Posted by Viraj_Hewage on (December 19, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

I consider this a terrible loss , because Sri Lanka did not lose in pursuit of victory. Pitch was bad , 4th inning total too big , rain interventions +++ are all excuses. Truth is Sri Lanka started the 4th inning hoping to draw. So the objective of the captain was to draw the game ( remember the objective of the captain should always be to win). If Sri lanka scored half a run more per over Sri Lanka would have lost by 68 runs. With a bit of luck had 8,9,10th wickets could have scored those runs. Less said the better. Here is what I would do for the next match : 1 - drop the captain for negative leadership 2 - drop Kulasekara till he learns to bowl well in all conditons ( it will also be a bonus if Kulasekara learns to bowl consistently faster than Australian wicket keeper WADE 3 - Teach Managal Herath not to be a joke of a batsman , remind him everytime he swings the bat senselessly he is letting down every passionate Sri Lankan supporter. With seniority comes responsibility.

Posted by Sugath on (December 19, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Totally agreed. Sri Lanka other than day three first session for no reason got in to a shell in both innings, which the likes of Aravinda, jayasuriya, Ranathunga or Mahanama would not have done. By becoming pedestrian in their batting approach ther gave the match away, and it was not a case of Aussies winning but Sri Lanka handing it to them. One must remember how the South African spinner Peterson outfoxed the Aussies, and with so much talent in spin department Sri Lanka went to match with four pacies, wrong strategy

Posted by Jojygeorge on (December 19, 2012, 2:36 GMT)

Sinhaya, just read some of your comments about umpiring howlers against Alastair Cook (tip of the iceberg....uh!!) in India. What rubbish.....Mate, did you see the umpiring howlers in favour of Alastair Cook in the first two tests, did you have one of your eyes shut when the Englishmen were batting? The Poms would have struggled like us Aussies to beat Ind in Ind without considerable help to A Cook from the umpires. Just wait until the Ashes begin and see how the Aussies will get rid of A Cook within the first hour!!

Posted by Ozcarlton on (December 19, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

Mate, with such an experienced batting line-up that should have been a draw.....SL fans, you are kidding yourselves into thinking that SL put up a good fight against the average Aussie bowling attack minus Hilfy......SL will not win a single test in the current series. As usual a poor performance from the SL test team like they have been in the past many years.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 19, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

If you consider the match won by South Africans, they had two players going really well against Aussies, namely Amla and AB. If a Sri Lankan pair can deliver that, we can win. We really need the good batsmen to step in, and play sensible cricket against Aussie bowling. If that happens, we can at least stop a defeat. I personally believe Thisara and Jeevan Mendis should be included in the squad. It's true that they are ODI players. But Jeevan is a fighter, and he will not give up. Thisara is useful to make the new ball old.

Posted by Jojygeorge on (December 19, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

Sinhaya mate, SL could not survive against such a mediocre bowling attack (especially without Hilfenhaus) will be 3-0 or 2-0 for Aus. With such an experience batting line-up the SL batsmen should have held out for a draw....the weather also helped in delaying the inevitable.... I think the experienced SL batsmen are just looking to put up some fight and delay the inevitable instead of trying to win matches in Eng,SA and Aus.....this is what results in them losing all the overseas series. It is the negative mindset of the SL batsmen which put us Aussies off (Dilshan is an exception to this)

Posted by Meety on (December 19, 2012, 1:29 GMT)

@Sinhaya on (December 18 2012, 17:27 PM GMT) - I felt Oz were a shade better than SL everywhere except MAYBE catching/keeping. That said it was not much. The ONE area where SL really let themselves down, was the batsmen #8 to #11. I respect Herath's bowling - but really he could of been out about 10 times in his 25 ball stay. He never looked like he really wanted to guts things out. As it turned out - IF, Sri Lanka's last 4 wickets in BOTH innings had gutsed it out for an extra 8 balls per wicket, Sri Lanka would of drawn the match - JUST! IF, Sri Lanka had drawn this match, they would of taken a massive mental edge over Oz. It is often the little things that decie a Test & a series, I think Sri Lanka - although out-gunned, missed an opportunity. That said I think it was a great fight, which if it wasn't for the fight Sth Africa showed recently - I would of said it was one of the toughest rearguard performances in Oz by a touring team in decades.

Posted by MH19 on (December 19, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

SL tried hard but was not good enough as they could have neither won it or drawn it. Aussie pace attack is hostile to SL tail as the top bats failed.The possitive of the first test is Dilshan,Mathews,Karunaratne,Welagedara and of course our ever reliable Herath.SL needs to now win the second test at MCG and they can do it.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 19, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

Sri Lanka can certainly take some positives out of this match. .. that was a very good effort in the 2nd dig and I, for one, was starting to get a bit worried when we still had 6 to get in the final session. .. I remember thinking that Starc simply had to step up and take some of the pressure off Pete. .. if he didn't, neither Lyon or Watto looked likely to take wickets, even though neither was bowling badly, so the Lankans were going to do a South Africa. .. his final session spell had to be good, and thank God it was. .. I can tell you I'm liking Starc (as a cricketer) a hell of a lot more today than I did yesterday. .. Heraths innings was a bit of a strange one. Does he always play that way? .. I guess for some batsmen defense is the best form of attack, but the guy looks like a compulsive puller/hooker based on that innings. .. I didn't think your bowling was anywhere near as bad as I'd heard.. Sure there aren't any genuinely fast bowlers but they look like they know their job.

Posted by Crictragic1 on (December 18, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Good article Andrew; thanks for it. If I may add my bit: I thought we played reasonably well overall, but am unable to accept that Aussies outplayed us totally. No. However, Lankans did pretty poorly on several key areas, and should learn a lot more from high-class Australian professionalism. The Captain looking grumpy, all the time, does not really help! When there was so much short-pitched bowling, which were contemptuously treated, no one moved to support the two young fast bowlers! They showed definite potential. Dilshan did his best, as he always does; Angelo too, to some extent. Needless to say, the others could have done a bit more. No time for vacillation; Lankan Lions re-group!! Never-say-die!!

Posted by Chris_P on (December 18, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

@Sinhaya. Your team put up a solid effort on a tricky pitch the last day. I understand losing hurts, as it should for all of us, but it is always somewhat reassuring when you see a team dig in & fight so hard, such as Sri Lanka on the 5th day. Boxing day will be a huge day, crowd wise, with plenty of support for Sri Lanka due to the large local population. Although out to a careless shot, Matthews should take a lot from this experience, I said it before but bears repeating, he is a very impressive young cricketer, hopefully he will get some support in future when the legends retire.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 22:50 GMT)

Not winning the toss isn't really a good excuse. We (SL) let ourselves down in the first innings batting and fielding. Our bowling isn't our main strength as AF put it and I didn't expect anything more than what we did in the AUS 1st innings. Our fielding let us down bar Mahela's stunner. We gave away too many easy singles, mis fields and dropped catches will always hurt. However what put us down was the batting in the first innings (In llast 2 years) Our test batting in the first match of the series has been unforgivable. And at 87/4 we were down on the mat and were playing catch up. We re-grouped really well to bat for 119.2 overs in the 2nd innings on an extremely testing wicket. A loss was always on the cards and if we walked away with a draw that would have been as good as a win plus it would have demoralised AUS. Our performance definitely needs to improve but we showed great fighting spirit in our 2nd innings batting on a tester and brought the game to the last 45 mins

Posted by shanepe2003 on (December 18, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

S/L problem is with AB mathews he's in prime form yet he cant convert his innings in to big ones Specially first inning after scoring 75 he should ve convert in to a hundred. Also in second inning poor shot in a critical stage of the match proves his inability to cope up with pressure and pursuit in a big inning. Cant expect sri Lankan trio to deliver all the time. he needs to kick on if he,s gona be the future captain.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

Sri Lankans fought very well after losing the first test in England and South Africa last year. Hope the same happens at the MCG. Congratulations and well played Australia. Mitchell Starc will be one heck of a bowler in the years ahead.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Aussies were the better side and deserved to win. If Sri Lanka won the toss we may have won too as no team would have survived on the last day of the Bellerive pitch. Aussie bowling and first innings lead meant Aussies were dominant. Hope Sri Lanka can re group in the next 6 days and play an exciting game at the MCG. Aussies will fight till the last gasp and we just cant give them any room. Hope we win the toss at the MCG and bat first.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 18, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

SL did well to take the game to 5th day and beyond but should have been good enough to save the game against a 3 man bowling attack. Mahela had no impact with the bat which was most dissappointing specially on the 5th day. The SL bowling is seldom going to win them games away from home but the batting, the supposed strength, was once simply not good enough. Dilshan and Mathews did enough to avoid the follow on but not mcuh else beyond that to save the game. SL would be pleased at bowling out Aus in the second innings but the batting let them down. A loss was the expected outcome for this game and SL did enough to show some fight but in the end it was inevitable outcome.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 18, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

Chanaka Welagedara is our Test match "Malinga". He can do it! I always believed that he will do well. He had won many battles in his life to come to the national side. I'm pretty sure that he will deliver the best for the country. The only thing I worry is that it is possible to get injuries with the long spells as he didn't bowl for too long since childhood. I cite this from Champaka Ramanayaka (as far as I remember).

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 18, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

It's ok Sri Lankans... Do well next time... Come back strongly... You did more than I personally expected. I was expecting something like the first innings of Aussies to be repeated in the entire match, but we did well. Dilshan could not only survive, but also beat them back. That's a huge plus for us. And Mathews did equally well. Our bowling in the second innings was exceptional. So, don't worry. If you tried to hide yourself (as you did today), you will end up losing. Just play your natural game. Beat them back. Try to win. You can do it! We are with you.

Posted by Gloryof96 on (December 18, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

Only skill we lack is genuine pace bowlers who can move a bit in the air or off the pitch at about 140kmph. I don't see issues with other areas.

One factor I did manage to see .... did our guys go up-country and have a practice session to acclimatise to the cold weather situation before they went? I did feel really sorry for our guys with all ten fingers in the pocket (even the Aussies at times)!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Dhammika Prasad should play instead of Kulasekara for The Boxing Day Test. We dearly need some raw pace and a little bit of aggressiveness!!!!!

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