Questions galore as Sri Lanka fail to live up to the expectations


Jason Holder (L) of West Indies and Suranga Lakmal (R) of Sri Lanka receive the trophy from David Hinds of Sandals at the conclusion of third Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, on June 26, 2018.

by Ishan Samaraweera

After weeks of controversy in the cricketing world, it was time to focus on Sri Lanka’s historic Test series against the West Indies. It was a historic series for the two teams as it was Sri Lanka’s first tour to the Caribbean islands in a decade. This tour was more significant as it was the first time that a day/night Test was played in the Caribbean.

Sri Lankans had the ideal preparation for the tour. They had the Super Provincial four day tournament where all the national team players had spent some invaluable time improving their game.

The Queens Park Oval pitch at Trinidad where the first Test was played was a batting paradise and had a bit of grass. The first two days were considered to be suitable for the batting team. The hosts chose to bat first.

Throughout the contest there were instances where Sri Lanka had the opportunity to capitalize but they failed to sustain the pressure for a long time. Only Kusal Mendis offered some resistance with the bat and scored a valiant century it was his fifth Test century.

Most of the dismissals of the Sri Lankan side were due to poor shot selections and the tourists were handed an embarrassing 226 run defeat.

On a brighter note Lahiru Kumara finished the Test with match figures of seven for 135

Cloudy skies treated the teams for the second Test in St. Lucia. The Sri Lankans were looking to bounce back after the loss in Trinidad. They went into the game with four changes to the playing eleven. Mahela Udawaththa, Akila Dananjaya, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kasun Rajitha were the inclusions in the team. The pitch was two paced and the batsmen struggled.

Only Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis showed some grit to the formidable West Indian duo of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.

While the wickets were tumbling Chandimal stood tall and led the Sri Lankan fight back. He scored an unbeaten century which propelled the Sri Lankan score to a respectable score of 253 runs.

This was Chandimal’s 11th Test century and it was his second century against the West Indians.

Shane Dowrich scored a half-century to propel the West Indians to a competitive score of 300 and they got a slender lead of 47 runs.

Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite took West Indies out of trouble waters. Their partnership helped the hosts to salvage a draw after the duo batted for 27.1 overs.

Ahead of the final Test in Barbados, the Sri Lankans faced a few days filled with disputes but it was time to focus on the historic day /night Test. It was a memorable day for all the West Indian fans.

On 23rd June 1979 the West Indians won the World Cup for the second time and it was also the day where they played their First ever Test match in the history of West Indies cricket.

It was a momentous occasion for Suranga Lakmal as he replaced Dinesh Chandimal who was suspended due to ball tampering. Lakmal became the 16th player to captain Sri Lanka.

It was a pleasing sight to see the Lankan lions playing with freedom and joy and they were able to end on a winning note.

This was the first time a country from Asia had defeated the West Indies in Barbados.

Jason Holder was the player of the match for his all-round performance while Shane Dowrich was named as the player of the Series. He aggregated 288 runs in six innings at an average of 57.6

This series had everything that a passionate cricket fan yearns for. Sri Lanka will be satisfied to a certain extent and at the same time they will know that they will have little breathing space as their impending series against the formidable South Africans that commences next week.

The tour of Caribbean will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Sri Lankan fans as their players didn’t live up to the expectations. But the performances of some young players in the absence of seniors were commendable.

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