In all the gloom of defeat and player discipline breakdown going into the ODI opener against England minus three frontline players, skipper Kusal Janith Perera’s resolute knock of 73 and Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva’s positive swashbuckling half century taking strike at No.5 from a long customary lower order No.8 in living up to expectations does augur strongly for the future. Hasaranga’s 65-ball 54 did serve as the answer to plugging a long running vacuum in the batting. In a makeshift batting line-up drawn of mainly freshers. The cameo right-hander pairing with the skipper in packing meat in lifting the side from shambles by that 99-run alliance against a professionally clinical England bowling attack was indeed a statement to Sri Lanka’s rebuilding curve.
Indeed, Hasaranga, who broke into international cricket with a bang not very long ago, has strikingly infused a hype of a mauler of the ball in the Sanath Jayasuriya mould and given the backing does portray the makings of a destructive batsman like the Master Blaster who hit bowlers out of the attack. In that vein, his half century against England in a lost cause does stir the blood of the advent of another trail blazing stroke maker to the fore. Significantly, Hasaranga has displayed the traits of coming good against any bowling attack. While his holing up was his undoing as the partnership was blossoming is of early days to learn from which is the job of coaching expertise guidance.
If Hasaranga did bring to measure worth to look to, similarly skipper Kusal Janith Perera’s upfront 73-run knock was a positive captain performing against the odds blackened by a string of losses with his frontline batsmen disappointing. This knock marked in effect the first real pick up to run making against the English during the tour with two outings more on the cards. Since Dasun Shanaka’s 50 in the second T20 was the only worthwhile individual score, the Lankan skipper’s battling innings was praiseworthy in the circumstances as the batting fell apart bar Hasaranga’s effort. The skipper thus did bring to play the gall of a willing leader to carrying the torch in matching his promise to cricket fans back home in the wake of the T20 defeat to bear up and give time to rebuilding his team to winning measure.
Meanwhile, the absence of Dhananjaya de Silva in the starting line-up was a missing link given a steady backdrop of ODI contributions.