Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Dambulla August 30, 2014

Thisara will be major part of World Cup squad - Mathews


Thisara Perera: 

"We planned before the match that some Pakistan players can't hit the short balls" © AFP

As teams gear up for the battle royale in Australia and New Zealand next year, penetrative quick bowlers are at a premium. For months Sri Lanka's selectors and captain have been speaking of developing pace stocks for the World Cup, and they appear to have lurched closer to that goal in the series against Pakistan.

Lasith Malinga was seemingly lower on pace, but even with a quieter series for their usual spearhead, Sri Lanka's seam bowlers took 17 wickets to the spinners' eight, in the series. 

Thisara Perera has been chief among the quick-bowling assets for Sri Lanka, in the first series since his differences with team selectors appear to have been ironed out. His nine wickets at an average of 10.66 were crucial to the series outcome, while his 65 from 36 balls helped seal the second ODI. A firing Perera adds balance and depth to the Sri Lanka side, giving Angelo Mathews the freedom to make changes to the XI depending on the conditions.

"Thisara has worked really hard with the coaches to get here in the past couple of months," Mathews said. "The support staff has been fantastic. Though he wasn't part of the team, he was working really hard and improving his fitness in batting and bowling. That's what we want, because going into the World Cup he is going to be a major part of our squad. We want him to improve day by day and he's been brilliant in this series."

Doubts over Perera's ability to accurately deliver his full quota of overs had seen him left out of the ODI side in recent months, but now visibly fitter, he has returned to batting and bowling form. Perera said the opportunity to bowl with the newer ball had also helped him pick up wickets, but credited the tough work put in with coaching staff.

"During the South Africa Test series, I practised alone with three coaches whom I have to thank. Anusha Samaranayake, Sumithra Warnakulasuriya and Ruwin Peiris worked with me for one month from morning till afternoon every day, practising bowling and batting. I am really indebted to them for helping me get back into the team."

Perera's 4 for 34 was instrumental to Sri Lanka's victory in the third ODI in Dambulla, where they dismissed Pakistan for 102. Three of Perera's wickets had come from the bouncer.

"We planned before the match that some Pakistan players can't hit the short balls, so we thought of using the short balls in this match," Perera said. "Umar Akmal's wicket was a big one because he is a dangerous player."

Although Nuwan Kulasekara has had a dip in form since the England tour, Sri Lanka have also seen the resurgence of Dhammika Prasad, who has been effective in the few Test opportunities he has been granted, and impressed in ODIs on Saturday, with his 2 for 25. Mathews said his opening spell set the tone for the victory in Dambulla.

"After the last win, the confidence had been really high in our camp," Mathews said. "After losing to Pakistan in the first game, we knew it was hard for us to come back into the series.

"But the boys showed a lot of character, especially Dhammika Prasad. He was given the opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands. The turning point of the match was at the start, when Prasad got those two early wickets. Malinga then chipped in, then Thisara came in and got us those wickets. Our bowlers in the first 16-20 overs were brilliant and that did the damage for the Pakistanis."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manoj on September 2, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    Thisara Perera is the best all rounder we have next to Mathews and i always felt Thisara was a must for 50 overs and also for test matches in countries like Australia/NZ/ ENG/SA. Also Chandimal is a must in the line up if we are to have any hopes in the WORLD CUP Dilshan/Perera/Sanga/Mahela/Chandimal/Mathews/Thisara/Malinga/(Herath/Senanayake/randiv/prassana)Kule and then we should have back ups such as Thirimanne/Prasad/I forget the batsman who had a night out recently should be in the squad for world cup. We have nothing to worry as long as Sanath is the Chief Selector as he will select the best squad and SL record in Australia in one dayers are the best especaillt MCG/SCG/Adelaide

  • Android on September 1, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    thisara is very dangerous batsman most of the time he comes to situation where he need to hit from the first ball. I saw 2 innings in this year . One against Bangladesh where sri lanka 70 for 8 wickets . He played sensibly then started to wack the spinners in the end took the total upto 180 and literally sri lanka won the match . similar against Pakistan he took time to get settle along with angelo then saw the moment to wack the ball. that's where he is more affective . probably he need to see the Ball for 3 overs once he got hold its hard to stop . because if he lift the ball most of the time it's out the ground just because he uses loads of power behind the shot. I have observed many times his single handed six .. that shows the iron man power and he is tall big in size all are advantages for him just need mind set to play sensible and then look for heap. He can make loads of difference in this world cup for sri lanka . specially with bat. bowling he still need to work it out

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Well Done Sri Lankan's and good luck for the next world cup

  • Steve on August 31, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Thisara should be managed carefully by the captain to be effective in the ODIs. Having watched him closely since he made international debut, I feel he is not an everyday player who is capable of consistency. He is either a hit or miss type of player much like Kapil Dev of Ind used to be in the past. Don't let him think too much. Send him with less than 10 overs if batting first and between overs 15-20, if chasing, to up the run rate with instructions to go after the bowling. If the plan comes off, he will win games most of the time with his bat. As a bowler, should be used in the 20 - 40/42 over period when consolidation is in effect. He is more of a restrictive type of bowler, not a strike bowler, this series being an exception.

  • Anthony on August 31, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Good article Andrew, rightfully dedicated to highlighting and promoting Thisara Perera's case for hopefully automatic selection - the others being Matthews, Sanga, Mahela, Malinga and Dilshan. SLC need to work to add one other to this list of automatic selections by having Senanayke's bowling action sorted out and cleared for participation in the World Cup well before the start. This should make up the nucleus of seven players, the other four being rotated on pitch and match conditions and additionally, the opponents on the day. It's looking good, I add, guardedly!

  • Steven on August 31, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    Sri Lanka I can't see doing to well at the World Cup cos they are a ageing team the seniors are past there best almost and there's no younger players being brought just a lot of journeyman players like thirimanne n tharanga I can't them doing to much for Sri Lanka I'm sure there is talent in Sri Lanka but the selectors are not picking them for some reason we all love the Sri Lankans just wish they blood some younger players just to see if there's any more Mahela n sanga type players are out there cos it won't be long before Angelo is the only class player in the Sri Lankan team my advice would be get some young players in so when the seniors go there will be some decent support for Angelo if they don't there team will look brittle for awhile when they are forced to rebuild and it will be harder if they have to do that it that way

  • Ted on August 31, 2014, 2:28 GMT

    Congratulations to SL.! Mathew's leadership is phenomenal..!! If we had the same playing XI for the SA ODI series, certainly we would have won it. Right combination of players is a must to win matches frequently!

    Thisara's capabilities as a seam bowler & a hard hitting batsmen were on display yet again! He is a REAL "master-blaster" who can whack the ball hard to all corners of the park... ! Unlike some miserably failed fake blasters, Thisara can make hefty blows facing pace & spin equally well.. in any condition on any deck! He is pretty consistent & won many matches for SL!

    He is a TRUE IMPACT-PLAYER, who deliver goods not hype..! Could be even promoted to the top, if EVER NEEDED such a short-term blast at the top!

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2014, 2:24 GMT

    Pak worldcup preparation is badly hurt needs to boost and play to wi the cup needs to make a captain to win the worldcup

  • shane on August 31, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    As a finisher T perera is the best option we have & even more valuable also proven over AB Mathews. If we are to have any hope in next World Cup we need to give consistent oppturnity to Tisara as well as A priyanjan. To strengthen middle order.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    Thisara has stood out for a long time as an all rounder with unique power. How we wasn't an automatic selection shows-up the incompetence of the selectors. It shouldn't be rocket science to accurately pick your best 11 for any Test, ODI or T20 match.

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