Sri Lanka’s let down has been the middle order. In the T20 opener the top three of Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunatilleka and Charith Asalanka were a perfect harmonisation like grease, and to see all that hard work in that rollicking 101 for 1 start ignited by Gunathilaka and drummed up by a fired up Asalanka sent asunder by the middle order was agony from the ecstasy.
If the right-left Nissanka-Gunathilaka pairing upfront was the perfect fronting with the latter carrying the attack to the Aussies, Nissanka was the ideal sedate cushioning to that rousing start. Gunathilaka had asserted himself in bringing to play the desired gumption that Asalanka stepped up with the type of clean hitting urgency to crossing the 100-mark. That calamity set in when the Lankans were well positioned for a big total was in the let down of the next top three of Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dasun Shanaka.
Though Nissanka and Gunathilaka fell cheaply in the lost next game, the openers had underlined their value input in the fast moving version. While Mendis came up with an atoning 36 in the second game, the successive failures of Rajapaksa and Shanaka put paid to Sri Lanka’s hopes. While the young left-hander Charith Asalanka signalled his arrival as a truly new star in the willow works, the lacking support leverage to translating his innings to bigger things.
If the Asalanka element to the Lankan batting to going after the mite of the world is a revelation, the Gunathilaka-Nissanka factor upfront is as much. But the Lankan camp needs to close the gap to deriving that extra zip of carrying an innings to sizable proportions. The bowling that was found wanting by Australia’s 10-wicket triumph in the opener, and in the 3-wicket loss in the next has signified the need to getting the right support for leggie Wanindu Hasaranga whose single 4-wicket effort wasn’t enough to get the better of the Aussies in the close contest.