Sri Lankan Cricket Coach Graham Ford expressed the importance of capping an innings off with the ball, and carrying momentum through to the batting innings, in the press briefing ahead of the National Cricket Team’s departure for the Champions Trophy in the UK.

Sri Lanka have been lacking  in their death bowling in the past series’, perhaps due to the current crop of Sri Lankan bowlers’ shortage of experience. Bowling in the death overs is not an easy job and it has shown as the Lankans have experienced many hiccups in the past couple of series’.

Bowling first in the last two series’, the Lankans have gone on to conceded a total of 417 runs in the final 10 overs of the past 4 ODI’s (3 against South Africa, 1 against Bangladesh).

Lasith and Nuwan

  • 90 runs against South Africa in the 2nd ODI
  • 106 runs against South Africa in the 4th ODI
  • 110 runs against South Africa in the 5th ODI
  • 109 runs against Bangladesh in the 1st ODI

However, Nuwan Kulasekara played just the 2 ODI’s out of the 4 while Lasith Malinga was not in the scene when all this mayhem took place.

With the return of spearhead paceman, Lasith Malinga and the experienced Nuwan Kulasekara, Sri Lanka coach Ford will be hoping that the stalwarts will be the difference between winning and losing.

Ford stressed about the return of the duo (Malinga & Kulasekara) saying, “If we can get the old heads of Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara firing with their skills at the end of the death overs, that probably takes 20-25 runs off the opposition score as well,”

Lasith MalingaMalinga played his final ODI way back in 2015 against the mighty West Indies and managed 2 wickets in 7 overs, giving away 43 runs; Sri Lanka conceded 71 runs in the final ten overs in that game but went on to win the game.

Lasith Malinga’s ODI record for the Lankan’s has been phenomenal. Playing in 191 ODI games, He has bagged 291 wickets at an economy of 5.26.

Nuwan Kulasekara

Malinga, together with Nuwan Kulasekara, joined forces and have won many matches for the Lankans. “Slinger” Malinga has not been in the form he would’ve wished of late however,  conceding 337 runs in 10 matches for the Mumbai Indians this season.

Nuwan Kulasekara was not selected for an IPL franchise but the swing bowler’s ODI record is one to savor. With the experience of playing 183 ODIS,  Kule has managed 199 wickets at an excellent economy rate of just 4.89.

Ford additionally mentioned the importance of successfully ending with the ball as it impacts the batting innings to follow, “It’s a combination of finishing the innings off really well with the ball, and of course, setting ourselves up well with the bat.”

Finally the Coach went on to stress about the importance of the tournament “The Champions Trophy is a big ask, and recent results will tell you that. But the guys have shown talent, and they’ve worked extremely hard trying to improve their cricket. I think with us being a team that’s improving all the time, we’ve certainly got a chance of upsetting one of the other nations. It is a huge challenge, but one that we’re looking forward to.”

Sri Lankan squad: Angelo Mathews (c), Upul Tharanga (vc), Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan and Seekkuge Prasanna
The fixtures: June 3 v South Africa, The Oval; June 8 v India, The Oval; June 12 v Pakistan, Cardiff