Sri Lanka enters its summer of minnow trumping with 5 ODIs against the Zimbabweans.
We followed the progress of the Lankans in the warm up game leading up to the series here.
If ever there was a one sided contest this would beat the crap out of that series and then stamp on its throat until its jugular split open and left it tasting its own blood.
I will chastise Sri Lanka if we do not win this series with thumping performances in every game.
Sri Lanka– Strong
The absence of the great Sanath will not be missed as Sri Lanka are in the able hands of Mahela and Sangakkara to lead the charges.
The one good thing about this series is that its given the selectors a chance to blood some of the youngster who were making a name for themselves in the A team to show their wares in the international game.
Comeback kid Upul Tharanga will be looking to seal his spot in the team with some good performances.
Partnering him will be young Mahela Udawatte.
A fine stroke maker who tends to loose the plot when the ball moves around a bit. Udawatte will be fighting for the openers slot with Upul when Sanath does return so this will be a mini battle that will keep me interested.
The middle order is where the Sri Lankans are at their strongest. Sangakkara and Mahela have been under immense pressure in the media back home. This will give them a chance to put those things aside and rattle up the runs. It will be interesting to see if these two have been mentally affected by any of these issues.
Thilina Kandamby makes a welcome return to the team. Currently captaining the SL A team, Kandamby has been in devastating form with the bat for the A team as well as his club.
A consistent performance through out the series will do his claims for a test spot as well as securing a permanent spot in the ODI team no end of good. Specially now that Chamara Silva and Dilshan cant hit the ball off the square if their life depended on it.
Zimbabwe– Like a knife through butter.
The burden fell on Chikinbura, Matsikenyeri and Masakadza when things fell apart in Zimbabwe.
Young and inexperienced it will be a very tough task for these young players to make any sort of impact against a formidable Sri Lankan attack.
With talisman Taibu in doubt for most of the series, the Zimbabwe batsmen are up against an almighty battle.
Sri Lanka– Its all about Splendid.
Yes, Flyslips own Ajantha Mendis will be looking to break all sorts of records when he gets the ball in his hands, or should we say fingers.
I had to contain my self from not making this another post entirely about him, but having had a look in at the warm up game where he picked up 8 wickets, with his eyes closed, Splendid will be the main threat to the Zimbabweans.
How many wickets will he get. I’m going with 25+,
Provided they get past- Dammika Prasad and Thilan Thushara. Thushara has been quite the revelation with bat and ball. With Chaminda Vass not playing this gives these young quicks a rare opportunity to give the selectors a headache.
Oh and then there some guy called Murali who some say is quite useful.
Elton Chikinburas off spin will be an important part of how well the Zimbabweans tame the Sri Lankan firepower.
The new ball should fall to Mupariwa, who has been impressive in his short ODI career to date. If he can nip out a few Sri Lankans early then things might get a little interesting in Harare.
One to Watch
21, bursting with talent and raring to go in the national team. Its funny how the Asian teams blood their youngsters so early in their careers. But Matthews has been in the big leagues since 16 when he played for the U19 team.
Following a magnificent time in SA. Matthews will look to seal his spot in the middle order with some good performances. As an added advantage he can bowl some medium pacers as well.
-In a side with next to no hope of winning, Elton stands out as a promising off spinner who can deliver the goods against the big teams.
Zimbabwe will depend on him quite a bit if they are to avoid a drubbing.
To Sri Lanka.(In case anyone is confused)