Beating Australia in the decisive balance shifting third ODI to moving up 2-1 with two to go as the two sides flex their muscles for Tuesday’s fourth face off at the R. Premadasa International Stadium for once in a long time sees a change of fortunes in hosts Sri Lanka’s favour. The facile 6-wicket victory over one of world cricket’s super nations in the game has not only buoyed the Lankans in an insulation of strength, but seen the former 1995 world champions signal the expectant change sought for in a long struggle to reclaiming the might that made Sri Lanka world beaters.
In that perspective, skipper Dasun Shanaka and his charges find themselves looking to extending that winning formula from back to back successes to a series clinching thrust to long term fortunes. Thus, the fourth day-night will be a beckoning call to Shanaka and his team in the contemporary new generation to carry that flame through that the likes of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis have ignited.
That this new generation Lankan cricketers find themselves in a challenge to ascending that high road in pursuit of transcending the country’s one-day cricket to new vistas reminiscent of the Arjuna Ranatunga 1990s era of the likes of Aravinda, Jayasuriya and Jayasuriya super heroics will be the demanding clarion call to this young pack such as Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dushmantha Chameera, the baby of the side 19-year old Dinuth Wellalage and the skipper Shanaka himself.
That by those two straight wins the Lankans have thus forged a trail in quest of becoming world beaters pits them in that initial challenge of having to get past Aaron Finch’s Australians that remain in the status quo of world beaters. For, injury hit as they might be minus star performers Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith, the Aussies yet possess match winning playmakery. Replacement batter Travis Head nearly got them home on Sunday but for that extraordinary display by Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis that took the game away from Australia. Thus, Tuesday will be must win reality time for the Aussies. For the Lankans, victory would effectively seal the series and be the icing on the cake to be on their way to bigger things.