Sri Lanka went into the first two one-dayers against Zimbabwe with a bowling-heavy side. Or so they said. Still, the visitors managed to post 296 & 302 on the board.
With only 5 specialist batters and the tail being exposed as early as No.8, it is a big ask from a top-order that consists of two cricketers who are making their comebacks into the team, an opener who just scored his maiden ODI fifty with 11 games to show and a middle-order bat with just 10 ODI games under his belt.
All this, on a surface which was a paradise to bat on.
It seems as if the failure to assess the conditions and grave decisions in team selection may have been the cause for Sri Lanka’s struggle.
Dasun Shanaka brought up his maiden international hundred in the 2nd one-dayer.
Shanaka batted at No. 6 in the game and after him, Sri Lanka only had Chamika Karunaratne – who is yet to prove his worth as a genuine batter for Sri Lanka in international cricket.
On the other hand, the Zimbabweans are employing Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl in those positions. Both playing as specialist batters and barely bowled in this series although they can roll their arms over.
Raza has played 110 ODIs with 3 centuries to his name and also has an immense amount of experience playing in various leagues around the world.
Yet, the interim head coach, Rumesh Rathnayake, discarded any idea that Sri Lanka played the 1st two games a batsman short.
“I don’t think we are a batsman short, we are considering Dasun as a specialist batsman too. The blame should go to the bowlers.” said Rathnayake.
With as many as 8 bowling options available at their disposal, Sri Lanka still ended up being awfully expensive.
“As a bowling unit we can’t give away 300 runs.” said Rathnayake addressing the blunder in the bowling front.
Sri Lanka will walk into the third one-dayer with the threat of suffering back-to-back series defeats at home to the Zimbabweans. And to avoid that Sri Lanka has to bring their A game on.
Prior to the game Rathnayake hinted that “We might see a change in the team” owing to the need to counter the left-handers in the Zimbabwe team – Sean Williams & Craig Ervine.
When asked if the option could be Ramesh Mendis, Rumesh simply said, “good idea, isn’t it?”