SURANGA LAKMAL IN FAREWELL APPEARANCE
Literally up against a giant sized India basking in a virtual own backyard unbeatable reputation, Sri Lanka, trailing 1-nil, will require an out of the box herculean performance to square up in the second and final test at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium in what will be a historic pink ball day-night face off in the long version of the game between the two sides at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. What is more, carrying the handicap of not having the services of the injured Pathum Nissanka, the one batsman who stood up to the Indians scoring 61 in the first innings will be a denting factor to the Lankan camp while star pacie Dushmantha Chameera will once again be a non starter with him resting.
That it will be a virtual all-aces Indian outfit led by new skipper Rohit Sharma with superstar batsman Virat Kohli hungry to get into the big run getting act, the captaincy behind him.
Of course, Kohli will be looking to break a lean drought to rediscovering the form that made him a phenomenon. On a similar note, Rohit Sharma will be keen to atone for a poor showing in the firrt test when the Lankans nailed him early. Nonetheless, that India possesses the batting depth on which a 500-plus total was mounted is what lends that awesomely invincible sheen to the host country’s impregnable standing to dictating terms to the opposition in a contest that will adorn a fiesta outlook robed in the usually instant cricket pink ball day-night settings. For the record, in their own den India has not lost a series since losing 2-1 to England in 2012.
From a Sri Lankan standpoint, this test as much as it will be a testing play out to evening up things in the wake of the innings and 222-run humiliation, be a parting send off to fast bowler Suranga Lakmal who will be bidding adieu to the game.
Decisively for Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and his frontline batsmen it will be a test of believing in themselves to delivering where they do not lack in ability. Karunaratne stands in the century glow performer with the bat and the onus will be on him as never before to lead by example from the front pairing with the long experienced Lahiru Thirimanne while the beckoning call will be as much on veteran batsman and former captain Angelo Mathews to come good with a big score. It will be the ground for the test veteran to meet that challenge of standing up to the Indians in reviving a flagging career also dogged by injury. He could well be the motivator to a young cast. As much young left-hander Charith Asalanka is the much looked to new discovery to produce the form that has fast propelled him to prominence slotted in the pivotal No.3 slot in a selector faith elevation to the vice captaincy.
Similarly, Dhananjaya de Silva has proved to be a middle order reveller who has willed himself to century heroics against the Indians in the past with the flair to come good. Also, there is an opening for Dinesh Chandimal to fill in for the sidelined Pathum Nissanka. Moreover, the onus will be on the bowlers for a more disciplined showing if Sri Lanka is to make an impact.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-