Possibly on the verge of imploding. 3rd coach in as many series. A captain who looks like that is the last thing he wants to do. A batting line up that has lost it’s way and an attack that doesn’t inspire much. Period. Dilshan’s latest statement about Sri Lankas future being with quick bowling does have some credence, but it’s a slap in the face and possible slamming of the door for guys like Randiv who actually bowled pretty well against the Australians. If this is the direction that he wants Sri Lanka to head in then the final Xi on Tuesday will be quite interesting.
At the end of the Australian series Dilshan insisted that he will bat at 5. Balls. That is quite clearly the wrong move and a negative one. The flat pitches in the UAE would have been ideal for Dilshan to stand and deliver. That job will now fall to Paranavitana and Thirimanne. Paranavitana needs runs and a poor series could be his last. Thirimanne gets a chance to prove himself. Sangakkara has been on the wane. He’s lost the ability to play the long innings he used to crave for. He’s become prone to brain farts and random shot selection. Even with that he and Mahela will still need to do the bulk of the scoring. Mathews – who was one of the very few people who shows some balls back home will once again be expected to play a critical role. It is obvious to us that he should bat higher than his no7 right now. At least above PJ. Of course he might not have to wait that long if PJ himself doesn’t score enough runs. His keeping was poor in the last tour, which was the main reason he was in the side for so long. How long can SL carry him ?
If Dilshan has his way, SL will most likely play 3 quicks and a spinner. Clearly Herath is SLs best bowler right now. And no matter what Dilshan says it is around him that the attack must be built. Losing Eranga is big loss because he showed a lot of potential and troubled Ponting. Bonus in our book. Lakmal bowled surprisingly well against the Australians. Welegedara did not. Whether Sri Lanka and Marsh go in with Pradeep, another Slinga remains to be seen. Sri Lankas always had some flavor to their bowling. Without Malinga the attack looks good as a limp dick. Could Pradeep be the Slinga in whites we all so deparately want ?
Alot of eyes will also be on Marsh. We think he is probably the best man for the job. A team that has lost its way, forgotten the basics and starting to show some dangerous trends. Marsh has a big job on his hands. A country is waiting for something to cling on to in the post-Murali era. A test and series win is expected but a solid performance in all games would mean a lot too.
Been rather low key. On the cricket front at least. Playing Ireland and Zimbabwe isn’t going to be the idea preparation to play a team that is hungry for a win. But Pakistan are their own team. No matter what is going on off the field, they generally turn in a good performance. Misbah has been in the job long enough to know his game. And with Younis Khan in the team he has another oldie to feel at home with. The rest of the team is made up of a bunch of kids with immence talent who haven’t really had the chance to show their wares. A series in the UAE, which will probably be like playing at home – with the crowd – should be a good start for them.
While Younis and Misbah add the experience, Pakistan will depend a lot on their openers. While Hafeez has not matched his average with his talent, Tawfiq Umar has had a pretty good start to his career. Asad Shafiq and Azar Ali complete the top order. A strong but inexperienced bunch who will all have points to prove. We are going to keep this short because frankly, we don’t know much about these guys. And we are secretly hoping we wont learn much about them during this series either.
Pakistans best chance with Sri Lanka is going to be with Umar Gul and co getting at the top order. We saw this happen with Australia, with Harris and Copeland just causing havoc amongst the big guns. Sri Lankas issue with offspin is also quite an interesting this to note. Saeed “Youtube” Ajmal is well suited to exploit this and to provide some hilarious accounts of the day. Along with pretty much the entire Pakistani line up who roll their arm over in some form or the other.