Having already conceded the 3-match ODI series to Bangladesh following two straight defeats, tomorrow’s third and final one at Dhaka, for all its academic interest, it will be a pride salvaging contest for Sri Lanka. In that vein, skipper Kusal Janith Perera, the new experience of shouldering the big leadership mantle thrust on him, will face the crunch situation of tucking into the past the recent gloom as he seeks to atone for it banking on his new look outfit to come good.
Indeed, in this mix of the make or break throes the new Lankan skipper finds himself in, the ground reality by the recent defeats will certainly be not reassuring against an in their own backyard fired up Bangladesh whose standings have been further enhanced by their current reigning in as leaders of the ICC ODI Super League. In such a backdrop, it will be nothing short of a herculean going past the iceberg task Kusal Janith and his charges confront in the high riding Bangladeshis who will go all out for a clean sweep of the series.
Of course, the Lankan camp faces some critical areas to address both in the batting and bowling departments alike, the failure of which to deliver in the primary run making and wicket taking industry of the game at that level has failed to live up to expectations. While the top order batting was found badly wanting in both games buckling to the Bangladeshi pace attack, the bowling too flattered and faltered when it came to getting rid of the key opposition batsmen in Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah who pointedly took away both contests from the gasp of the Lankans from what were strikingly similar situations of having lost the top four, 4 for 99 in the first game, and 4 for 74 in the second. The bottom line of it was that the Sri Lankan bowling mechanism lacked the fire power to get past Mushtiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah that would have indeed put Sri Lanka on top had they succeeded.
As to the batting, that only No. 8 Wanindu Hasaranga’s cameo 74 was heady stuff in an otherwise blotched up show has certainly left the Lankan camp at wits end as to coming good in the tough rigours of international cricket at that level where no quarters are given or asked for and where only the tough get going when the going gets tough. Conspicuously, the frontline batting was scratchy and found badly wanting in the run rate. Pathum Nissanka fell far short of expectations in both innings and it raised a question mark as to the omission of pinch hitting Niroshan Dickwella.
All in all, it will be soul searching time for the Lankan camp to get the right outfit out there on Thursday and get their act right if they are to stop a rampaging Bangladesh from making it three in a row.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-