If conceding the ODI series to Bangladesh by two wins to one, in their own backyard maximization that enhanced Tamim Iqbal’s charges standings as the top team in the ICC Super League, the 97-run atonement was the positivity of the new look cast handpicked for the future. In that maiden triumph from the dumps, that it is still early days in that questing for the new aura the country’s keepers of the game, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is all focused on courtesy the national selectors headed by Chief Selector, Pramodya Wickremasinghe, is reality time. That the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup is the summit aimed at by the Sri Lankan juggernaut is the challenge before the new skipper, Kusal Janith Perera and his men is a reflection of that cricket journey.
Indeed, it is a cast of mostly unpolished gold that to get the glitter on is the high road drive accentuated on all fours by the national coaching staff of a pulsating mix of latent talent thrust under the charge of a goliath in Kusal Janith Perera who has just into the job displayed the daredevil hallmarks of a torch bearer all keyed up to shed the sweat, blood and tears that go to go the distance. That high spoils are born from the depths of defeat is indeed what the game of cricket is all about where great names have been fronted from scratch, and Sri Lanka’s triumph over the high riding Bangladeshis coming from a holocaust was indeed tall stuff; tall stuff for the manner by which victory was achieved that totally decimated a side that had looked unbeatable given the downsizing of the Lankans in the first two ODIs. In that vein, the newly anointed Lankan skipper rising to the occasion from the dumps to leading from the front that victory thrust has raised his stocks to gladiator heights of an achiever unfazed by added responsibility of wearing the big mantle.
Overly, while the result in the final ODI revolved around the individual three figure brilliance of Kusal Janith Perera, the cushioning 82-run first wicket alliance with Danushka Gynathilaka who made 39 set the tone that was put to good effect by the unbeaten half century by Dhananjaya de Silva. However, maximization of the batting department would require for the top order half measure contributors to come good in translating those into sizable scores.
From a bowling perspective Dushmantha Chameera clicking with a telling 5 for 16 haul was high stuff from the team’s poor performances in the lost outings where they failed twice from a point of strength to get past the defence of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah who pulled Bangladesh from the rut to victory. The inability to translate the early breakthroughs to winning measure found the bowling attack wanting. The turnaround in the final match also had much to do in playing youth find Ramesh Mendis who claimed the prize wicket of Rahim early while also accounting for Hossain when on a threatening half century. Mendis did also imbibe his all-round potential with a lusty six remaining unbeaten in the late flourish to the innings. Pleasingly the lanky all-rounder has displayed the application of a bubbly innovative player unafraid to play his shots while also proving to be a wicket taking bowler.
For all the lowly table standings, the new look Lankan ODI outfit has the trimmings of potential talent to be groomed for the future.