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The candidates for the openers' slots are two firebrand attackers and three more conventional batsmen
November 23, 2009
Ask any selector and he will tell you that picking a pair of openers is one of the most difficult tasks. In their pre-Test years Sri Lanka (or All Ceylon as it was known then) had some famous pairs, among them MK Albert and LDS Gunasekera (who were called Sri Lanka's Hobbs and Sutcliffe), followed by Dr C Balakrishnan and Dr Nihal Gurusinghe, TCT Edwards and Mano Ponniah, and Sunil Wettimuny and Bandula Warnapura.
After the country's elevation to Test status in 1981, they initially struggled to find a suitable pair of openers who could provide a substantial platform for their array of middle-order stroke-makers to make capital use of. It was not until the nineties that Sri Lanka eventually found a reliable pair to provide good starts and enable the middle order to stabilise the innings, when Sanath Jayasuriya paired successfully with Marvan Atapattu. They have to date been the most successful pair of openers produced by the country in its short Test history, although individually there have been others who were impressive, but had to team up with several different partners.
Following closely in their footsteps is Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has taken modern cricket by storm with his improvised batting, which has fielding sides scratching their heads in search of answers to his mode of play.
We'll be publishing an all-time Sri Lanka XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your openers click here
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