As Sri Lanka begin their training at Chester-Le-Street in Durham today (Monday), where they will be resided for the next week with two games coming up in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, they will be brimming with confidence after an inspiring win over the hosts, England last Friday in Headingley.
Read More : Smells like team spirit – Headingly 2019
One of the catalysts who contributed to their win in Headingley – off-spinning all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva reckons that another slow pitch in Durham would work in their favour against the Proteas, who have no chance of qualifying for the top four.
A chase of 400+ beckoned if England batted first. Headingly provided the perfect pitch for it, or so we thought.
“The pitch in Headingley was the slowest pitch we have had in England so far,” De Silva said. “We like these pitches and on them we can beat any team in the world. We are looking forward to the good weather and similar pitches.”
While speedster Lasith Malinga took the honours for scything through the England top order, De Silva turned the game towards Sri Lanka with the wickets of Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid in a crucial nine-ball burst and ended with career-best figures of 3 for 32 from 8 overs.
“The game was slipping away from us and I am glad I was able to take three wickets in two overs and contribute to the win.” De Silva said on his contribution with the ball against England.
De Silva also stated that England skipper Eoin Morgan’s ‘surprise package’ comment was an added motivation to do well against the hosts. During the start of the tournament, Morgan was asked if Jofra Archer was the surprise pick of the torunament, but he responded that the Sri Lankan team is quite surprising for him with 10 newplayers, who he hasn’t faced before.
“A few things had been said by him [Morgan] about us. We all knew it and it motivated us. We came here not to just take part but to compete and win well.” He said.
De Silva has picked up 5 wickets with the ball in the tournament so far and sits in joint-fifth position amongst the spinners in the wicket-takers’ tally. With an economy rate of 4.64 in four matches, De Silva is also the second-best spinner in terms of best economy rates in the ongoing World Cup.
Generally known to be a fluent, stylish batsman, De Silva has now completely transformed into a bowling all-rounder. After a stellar debut Test series against Australia in 2016, where he was the top run-scorer, he has batted everywhere from opening to number nine in limited-overs cricket. In this World Cup, he has already batted in four different positions in four games.
Both, the Chief Selector Asantha De Mel and Captain Dimuth Karunaratne, strongly believed that De Silva has a major role to play more with the ball than the bat, which he has done so far. But, he suggests that his floating batting position is done purely to contribute best to the team’s cause.
“I am focused on batting. However, I am supposed to bat at number seven usually, sometimes I have to bat lower than that,” He said. “I am glad to be doing my job with the ball, but I am always ready to contribute with the bat whenever I am given an opportunity.”
Sri Lanka will need to win at least two games of their remaining three to remain in the semi-final race. However, the team is determined to take it game by game as they play South Africa next, on Friday.
“The momentum has been good for us. All of us want to win the next two games. If we keep fighting and keep working hard we will progress.” He concluded.