Sri Lanka face one face saving final fling of getting a victory mark on a blot of a disastrous month long tour of England when they take on a highly rampant Eoin Morgan’s outfit in the final ODI tomorrow at Bristol. Comprehensively beaten in both the 3-match T20s and ODIs it will be about whether a wracked Sri Lankan outfit could put behind the ghost of defeat Kusal Janith Perera’s charges have been haunted by to stopping England’s ominous march towards a clean sweep of the ODI series.
In effect, wholly it is all about reclaiming a golden past that Sri Lanka basked in for a nation that ascended from the unknown to transcending a natural flair seeped in exciting stroke play from the unpolished to polished gold. Today, by a stroke of the rash all that radiance of a generation gone by that went into that success has been undone. It is the burning harsh realism of rising from such a holocaust to reclaiming the magic of a glorious past when Sri Lanka brought down the might of world cricket to ruling the roost as kings of cricket. That ascendancy was in the magical to turning cricket on its head by ushering in pinch hitting to becoming world champions of one-day cricket in by thrashing the daylight out of mighty Australia. Such a fascinating aura to batting was transcended by a rural find from Matara where cricket was not a luxury unlike a Lords setting in the citadel of cricket or a Melbourne in Australia. The champion to emerge from the unknown to conquering the world like a mighty colossus was Sanath Jayasuriya who teamed up with his opening partner Romesh Kaluvitharana in that 1996 world cup conquering success. It was to set the tone for the rest of the world to follow including current world champions England.
In such a sword edged finery showcased by the likes of Jayasuriya that has dictated the decisive power play that has teethed instant modern cricket that today Sri Lanka has become the whipping boys of the game is a sad story It is a lamentable state of our cricket of reclaiming the magic that others stand benefitted from Sri Lankan stock that once pulverized opposing bowling attacks. That such a golden past has diminished to finding itself at the mercy of England whose one-day cricket was in yet a cocoon of the outdated conventional type when Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva and company called the shots marks a sad reversal of Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes. Therein it is significant that England has wriggled out of a conventional past dictating terms in the insulation of reigning world champions a good 23 years after Sri Lanka scaled that Everest.
In effect, it is in such a harsh backdrop that Kusal janith Perera finds himself carrying the torch for Sri Lanka to meeting the herculean challenge of leading his country out of the dark tunnel of a black chapter. To coming out of such a pathetic of the agony from a once ecstatic past also regrettably sees the country’s cricket having to overcome the ill effects of player indiscipline as experienced during the current tour of England where three of its frontline ranks were recalled is as much a setback. What is tragic in that element is that players who had arrived as quality batsmen for the future have preferred to sacrifice their abundant skills for benefits outside the game. In that situation it is relevant that such heroes have preferred to kick at their cricket careers.