Home » Sri Lanka likely to face Pakistan under new captaincy

Sri Lanka likely to face Pakistan under new captaincy

by Gayan Abeykoon
September 14, 2023 1:30 am 0 comment
Dunith Wellalage in action

I have learned to trust my instincts and have confidence in my abilities which led to one of the important moments of my career, said Sri Lanka leg-spin all-rounder 20-year-old Dunith Wellalage after the Super Four India game which India won by 41 runs at the R. Premadasa International Stadium last Tuesday.

I use my basics and a simple theory when deciding what shot to play or bowling the right length, added former National Under 19 and Josephian skipper Wellalage.

I bowled wicket-to-wicket and really tried to bowl dots, especially from the other end Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana and Charith Asalanka gave good support.

I used my full effort to put pressure on the batsman which allowed me to claim my best figures of 5 for 40 in my 13th ODI International. Getting the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma gave me a much-needed boost, said Wellalage.

After finishing school, I continued playing cricket at Club and National level with seniors which gave me good exposure, he said.

After I joined the senior team, my ambition was to play with these national players for at least a year at a stretch. Then I could learn what they were doing, how they were handling match situations, and get the advice of the best coaches, so I could improve. If I’ve improved at all, it’s because I’ve been around the national team for more than a year, and have learned from them, said Wellalage.

Dunith Wellalage is the Sri Lanka team’s most promising all-rounder. He captained the Under 19 team at the 2019 World Cup in West Indies. Dilan Ramanayake was his school coach (St. Joseph’s), while his father Suranga Wellalage captained Prince of Wales’ College Moratuwa in 1992 and would later play first-class cricket.

His father’s vision was to see Dunith Wellalage on the National team. With his exceptional skills on the field, the energetic player mesmerized spectators with his exceptional batting, disciplined bowling, and brilliant fielding skills. When he plays well, no player can match him. The biggest question is why other seniors couldn’t perform at this level.

Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj gave a big challenge to Sri Lanka and young Wellalage was unmoved, collecting quick runs. He added 63 runs for the 7th wicket stand with Dhananjaya de Silva.

Sri Lanka look to make changes today

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will look to make a couple of changes in the playing 11 for today’s crucial game against Pakistan. If the match gets washed out due to rain, Sri Lanka will reach the final ahead of Pakistan having a superior NRR (Net Run Rate).

Pakistan team has injury issues with two key pacemen Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, It’s probably expected that these two players can play today.

Pakistan team management is worried about their top-order batsman failing to perform well. They had a training session yesterday and need to come back strongly.

Sri Lanka’s batting lineup failed to sail past India’s challenge.

The inconsistent batting performance is the biggest issue. Sadeera Samarawickrama played well against Bangladesh to take the Man of the Match award but how he got out in the India game was never expected. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne the most experienced player threw away his wicket almost immediately.

The most unfortunate factor is skipper Dasun Shanaka who looked out of touch with the bat and ball. He played confidently in the Bangladesh game to pick up three wickets and got valuable runs but his consistency is very poor and all of these problems must be fixed ahead of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Kusal Janith Perera who is fit to play in today’s and likely will replace Dimuth Karunaratne as the opener. In addition, there is a slight possibility that Kusal Mendis will captain the side today while Dasun Shanaka to be rested and return to the squad for the final.

The players should realize their duty to the National team and everyone is looking at their performance said a cricket expert. It was sad to see the Lankans fail to reach an easy 214-run target against India, this is a good eye-opener.

We have a good home advantage with a good crowd to support our players, said a cricket expert.

Dhammika Ratnaweera

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