Imagine a strange world around the 18th or 19th of December in the small city of Hobart, where Sri Lanka have battled hard to stay within touching distance of Australia. It then boils down to need a last throw of the body and mind to either win or save the game.
We’ve all been there in some form or the other. You come home spent from a day of dealing with a pile of dung at work and you see your dishes from last night are still in the sink. And if you are anal about a clean kitchen like us then you will find that extra gear to power through a wash up. Sometimes you are not even doing it because you want to. It’s because you absolutely have to. You give in to the greater need and take yourself to the breaking limit or you remember you have a dishwasher.
Peter Siddle and Faf Duplesis exhibited just this quality today. Siddle had to be carried off in the end. He is a workhorse at the best of times but today he just kept going, looking like he would break down, a sip of water, and going again. It was a remarble show of endurance and probably a touch insanity over matter in the end.
Duplesis may have been on his test debut but has been around long enough to know how handle a situation like this. But even he woudlnt have counted on having to bat for seemed like an absolute eternity. Duplesis was wavering at the end but something drove him on.
It occured to us that if Sri Lanka ever end up in a situation like this during the Australian summer, there is no one that we would feel comfortable casting in these roles.
Kulesekara, Eranga, Welegedara and Pradeep are all bowlers who’ve never put in an effort like Siddle did today. These are bowlers who bowl within themselves and are happy to get through the day as a matter of fact. Watching them bowl to the Kiwi tail with the field spread was diabolically uninspiring.
Then the Sri Lankan top order got swept away by some decent test bowling. Hardly anything that would warrant 15-3. It was callous, unthoughtful batting in a situation where Sri Lanka needed to grind and build a platform for the next day.
It’s easy to characterise this as something that seperates a good test side from a half decent one. But at the end of the day a test side needs players who are willing to go above and beyond their average when it’s required. And if a day like this does roll around later in the Summer Sri Lanka need have a long way to go if they are to inspire a performance worthy of Siddle and Faf today.