Sri Lanka News

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SL batsmen look to Aravinda for inspiration

Rex Clementine reporting from Wellington

After a disastrous batting performance in the first Test Match against New Zealand in Christchurch, Sri Lanka’s top order will look up to their former team-mate Aravinda de Silva, who entered the record books by hammering a sensational 267 in 1991 here in New Zealand. The Basin Reserve here in Wellington will be the venue for the second and final Test Match between the countries on Friday and it was here de Silva scored his epic double hundred 15 years ago.

De Silva’s 267 came pretty early in his Test career in unfamiliar conditions and knocks such as those instil hopes on younger players that they too could emulate the legendary batsman.

"It must have been a special effort in difficult conditions and it’s up to the individuals to look at what he did 15 years ago and come up with something special," captain Mahela Jayawardene told reporters at training yesterday.

"The batsmen left the whole team down. Since the first Test we have worked hard and we have had lot of discussions. I have confidence that the top order will come good in this Test," Jayawardene added.

Sri Lanka’s top order was disappointing in Christchurch and the only batsman to show resistance was Kumar Sangakkara who excelled with his first hundred against New Zealand. None of the other batsmen managed to get to 40 while four were out without scoring in the second innings.

Jayawardene expected the Wellington wicket to favour batsmen than the one at the Jade Stadium in Christchurch. "I feel that this is a good batting wicket. At Christchurch there was a bit of grass and the wicket was soft and produced tennis ball bounce. It looks as if there’s lot of runs on this wicket."

"Last time we played here was in April and the wicket was not ideal for batting. But that was a good learning experience for us and we learned how to make use of the wind here in Wellington that plays a vital part," Jayawardene said. Sri Lanka played a Test in Wellington last year and were beaten by an innings.

Chamara to play

The captain admitted that it was unfair to drop Chamara Silva after just one chance and the 27-year-old will get another opportunity at the Basin Reserve. Silva collected a pair in the first Test. "We’ve got to be fair by him. He’s done well with the ‘A’ team and scored runs in the warm up game as well. We know he’s got the talent and we’ll give him another opportunity. He faced just five balls in the last Test and that’s not good enough to judge a player," Jayawardene added.

If he plays, T.M. Dilshan will have to sit out of this Test too and that means more concerns for the tourists as the team’s middle order is inexperienced with Chamara Kapugedara, Chamara Silva and Prasanna Jayawardene occupying number five, six and seven followed by the bowlers.

That is a gamble the tour management is prepared to take considering their policy to give youngsters opportunities. The recent improved batting performances of Chaminda Vaas and Farveez Maharoof too is a reason to persist with an inexperienced middle order.

The other selection issue is to whether to play one of the seamers Dilhara Fernando or Akalanka Ganegama instead of Maharoof in order to strengthen the bowling department.

Jayawardene hinted that Sri Lanka could stick to Maharoof and will play an unchanged side.

"We have a couple of guys who can bowl against the wind. Vaasy of course can get the reverse bowling against the wind. We didn’t have Murali last time we played here as he was out with injury. Vaasy did well in that game too and here with the presence of Murali we have an advantage," Jayawardene said.

Muralitharan was the most successful bowler in the seamer friendly Christchurch wicket picking up seven wickets and five of those dismissals were lbws with the off-spinner’s new ploy of bowling round the wickets to right-handers giving him lot of success.

"Batsmen have changed tactics against Murali in recent times and he’s come up with innovations to counter that. One of that was coming round the wicket and Murali has now got the confidence to do that as it created a lot of opportunities. That was very effective and he was unfortunate to miss out on a couple of more lbws," Jayawardene said.

Sri Lanka (Probable XI)

Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedara, Chamara Silva, Prasanna Jayawardene, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan.

New Zealand (From)

Craig Cumming, Jamie How, Matthew Sinclair, Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, James Franklin, Shane Bond, Chris Martin, Ian O’Bryan.

Umpires: Simon Taufel (Aus) Brian Jerling (RSA)

Match Referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)

-The Island-

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December 14, 2006 - Posted by | South Asia, Sports, Sports News & Opinion, World News

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