Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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Good to see Bandara back in the frame

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2011
  • Aruntha Kanagaratnam
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  • It is nice to be back after a two-month tour of England covering the Sri Lanka- England cricket series which on balance gave the Sri Lankans valuable experience besides of course putting up a performance that still kept the flag flying inspite of some losses.

    And as we prepare for what will surely be an interesting cricket expedition against the Australians who will be here by the end of the month, there is a sense of anticipation that Sri Lanka will, with the English tour’s experience, put up a good fight.

    Cricket selectors

    The Sri Lankan cricket selectors have named a promising squad for the two Twenty and five One Day Internationals against the Australians. It is encouraging to note the inclusion of leg spinning all rounder Malinga Bandara in the squad.

    When in England we had every reason to question the continued non inclusion of this brilliant leg spinner. To relegate his talents to the land of the forgotten was a big mistake. Leg spinners don’t come dime a dozen and when they do come they are often like uncut gems, they must be cut and polished and are worthy of display.

    We hope the selectors will endeavour to give Bandara the opportunities to make his presence felt. One omission in the sqaud is Thilana Kandamby he failed in England, he has much potential.

    Sudden dip

    The Australians, after a sudden dip in their game in recent times are determined to use the Sri Lanakan tour to make amends . After all it was not too long ago that the Aussies, when they ruled the game, dished out dazzling fare.

    One major handicap that the Aussies have is that they have lost several of their stars who quit the game and have not found adeqauate replacements : Mathew Hayden, Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist, Damian Martyn, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne.

    But reports reaching us indicate the Aussie tour squad has been hard at training under the guidance of their coaches and new captain Michael Clarke.. Whether the Sri Lankans will frustrate the ambitions of the Aussies to make a gallant come back is left to be seen.

    Heads examined

    There had been moves made to stall the Aussie tour to Sri Lanka. Politics is at play. One cannot grudge that peace is now in full bloom in Sri Lanka after a protracted 30-year war and the conditions are ideal for any kind of sport to be played here.

    There will always be the frustrated and those with axes to grind who will go that extra mile to see that their hidden agendas are successful. But saner counsel will prevail.

    Thanks to Cricket Australia who drove these critics out of the ground where they rightly belong, the tour will go on without a hitch and Sri Lanka Cricket is making elaborate arrangements to successfully conduct the series.

    Aussie cricketers

    The Aussie cricketers, who have always been welcome visitors, need not have any qualms because they will be well treated with the best of security provided them.

    The good news is also that Abans have teamed up with LG Electronics of Korea and agreed to partner Sri Lanka at the wicket and sponsor the cricket series between Australia and Sri Lanka.

    Abans have always been in the forefront of sports sponsorship not only in Sri Lanka, but the world over in many sports, and Sri Lanka Cricket will certainly welcome this sponsorship.

    England on top

    After beating Sri Lanka in the Test and one-day series, England is now taking on the number one cricket team in the world—- India. England is hoping to grab the title of world’s best after the Four Test series against India.

    For this to happen, England must beat India by two Test matches. It is not an easy ask given the form that the Indians are in. But this is a contest that will bring out the best from both teams and has the promise of lifting the standard of world cricket to a new level.

    The cynosure of all eyes on this tour is, of course, the master batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar who was looking to score his 100th hundred at the holy land of cricket Lord’s in the First Test failed being out after making 34. Whether he could achieve this milestone in the second innings remains to be seen.

    However there are Three more Tests and all his suppiorters are praying for him to achieve this in one of the Tests. It will be a memorable moment had he got it at Lord’s.

    Unpredictable weather

    The unpredictable weather that went to spoil the Sri Lankan tour, is still prevailing in England as the first day of the First Test at proved with only 49 overs being bowled with the rain and bad light calling halt to play.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni beat Andrew Strauss to the toss in this 2000th Test match in cricket history and quite rightly put England in to bat in overcast conditions ideal for seam and swing bowling which is a nightmare to batsmen.

    But it was a pity that the Indian seam and swing bowlers, especially Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma failed to make merry in these conditions and skittle out the English batsmen.

    Other than for left armer Zaheer Khan, who unfortunately had to leave the field with a hamstring muscle strain after capturing two wickets, Kumar and Sharma were too short and wide and squandered the ideal conditions.

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