Embuldeniya’s lone fight goes in vain

England tour of Sri Lanka 2021


England clinched away a series win while Sri Lanka were left to lick their wounds – the visitors recorded a 6 wicket victory with a day left in the Test match. 

Sri Lanka was weighed down by having too many passengers on board. They had 5 players who supported the team with just 105 runs and 1 wicket altogether across 2 innings, with the wicket being Jack Leach. When it was a six-vs-eleven contest, it was obvious that Sri Lanka lost it. 

Taking a look at the batting, it is ridiculous how Kusal Perera and Oshada Fernando went about in this Test match. Despite it being a home venue, they had no understanding about the surface and were awful in shot selection. This asks the question of whether Sri Lanka is playing enough domestic Cricket at their fortress of Test Cricket, Galle.

Root rescues England after Embuldeniya’s double-strike

The hosts were ahead in this Test for more sessions than the English, but one thing the visitors did right throughout was not falling too far behind. Come lunch today, the tables turned. 

England started the day on 339 for 9 and wrapped up quickly with the scoreboard showing 344 runs. It was yet again a Joe “Fantastic” Root show that saw England to safety. Root scored a classy 186 runs while he was duly aided by 55 runs from his deputy, Jos Buttler. 

It was a dream game for the young left-arm spinner, Lasith Embuldeniya, though the result did not go in his team’s favour. He fought a valiant battle all by himself with not just the ball, but also with the bat. He picked a career-best 7 for 137 to have Sri Lanka still in the lead. 

The senior spinner of the team, Dilruwan Perera, had the perfect conditions to put up a show of his own, yet he only managed 1 wicket for the entire game. The sole reason he was held in the team was that the other spinners were all still young. However with this nature of a performance – not just in this Test but in the entire series – it is questionable if players should still be considered based on experience. 

It must be acknowledged that Dilruwan did score a valuable 67 runs in the first-innings, but that was just a cover up for Sri Lanka’s sloppy batting and was not the optimum usage of that player.

The debutant Ramesh Mendis was fine with his act, but was quite all over the place with his line and length. 

Embuldeniya produces a wonder; Root resists

Furthermore there were the 2 seamers, Asitha Fernando and Suranga Lakmal, who didn’t make it to the scorecard with at least a run out or a catch. The visiting seamers picked 10 wickets in the game.

Sri Lankan batting in the second innings was particularly disgusting. All the batsmen looked to be in an unreasonable rush where they kept playing rash shots one after the other without even trying to settle down a bit. 

Again, thanks to Embuldeniya’s surprising knock of 40 runs, Sri Lanka had 164 to defend. 

On the other hand, the visitors were ice cool on their ride to victory. It was the seamers who grabbed the limelight in the first innings, and to make it even this time, it was the spinner who picked all 10 wickets for England. The lead spin duo of the team, Jack Leach and Dom Bess, picked 4 wickets each while the Skipper – who seemed to have everything that he touched turning into gold – picked up 2 wickets on the trot. 

Dom Sibley, who struggled in all his previous outings in the series, stood up for the occasion when England started to lose wickets. He anchored one end and scored a 144-ball 56 runs to ensure that the English sealed their 6th consecutive win in Sri Lanka, 2nd consecutive series win in Sri Lanka, and their 5th consecutive away win. The Vice Captain of the team, Jos Buttler, also scored an unbeaten 46 for his merits. 

This win also made Joe Root the most successful English Captain in Asia with 5 wins of the 5 games he has led the team in in the sub-continent. 

Embuldeniya kicked in once again with 3 wickets to his name in the second innings which brought up his first 10-wicket haul in Test match Cricket, along with a promise to pick many more in the years to come. 

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