At the conclusion of the ODI and T20 series against South Africa, Sri Lanka will look back and think they have done rather well. They beat the Proteas 4-1 in the ODI series, and stumbled in the T20 series but somehow managed to hold on to their Number 1 ranking by the end.
Sangakkara, Mahela and Dilshan were in sublime form, so much so that towards the end of the series, it looked as if the three seniors were just playing for amusement, much like how you would play FIFA on easy mode to try out your trick moves. If Sangakkara wasn't dropped for the last T20, I would'nt have been surprised if he came in to bat with a golf stick, one hand tied to his back, with blind folds on. The ease at which the three seniors played were emphasized by the fact that all three tried and connected the reverse scoop at least once in the series.
The bowling really started to click too. Sri Lanka played two spinners in almost, if not every game. Herath, Sachithra, and Mendis all delivered the goods, while Sachi proved that he should be a permanent fixture on the one day side with exceptional bowling performances every time he was included. The pace had discipline. And depth. When Malinga had an off day, Thisara would come to the rescue. Or Lakmal. Or Kula. Sri Lanka had options. Good, solid options. Apart from maybe Jeewan Mendis, who looked like he didn't know what he was doing in the middle.
But Jeewan's approach of never knowing what to do in the middle is a trait not only he has developed in the past 15 months or so. It is a trend that spreads throughout the Sri Lankan junior batsmen. A trend they have come to embrace and worship to a point that I am convinced that Kusal Perera has a tattoo that says "Inconsistency is everything" on his left forearm. Chandimal and Thirimanne have shown us glimpses of the superior batsmen they could be, but the memory of a match winning knock from either is as distant as those photographs of "The Bridge by the River Kwai" in Kithulgala. A long forgotten memory, of a beautiful start to a tale that ends up in blowing everything to little pieces. Upul Tharanga sort of tried to differ, but he has backed up towards the same wall he fell over, 3 years ago.
They come. They impress. Is that it? Patience is key.
|If you need someone to take responsibility, let them|
be the only ones responsible.
But it must be remembered that the one who breaks the lamp is the one who tries to light it. Therefore, youth must be persisted with. With different combinations and better strategies. Starting with resting Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan, Malinga and Herath for the series in Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka might lose all the games, but they will know that this is the future. Take away the saving grace of the juniors, and let them save them selves. And hopefully, along with it, the future of Sri Lankan Cricket.
Patience is key.