Confronting the Windies in ODIs at Home

Michael Roberts

Sri Lanka play three 50-over ODIs against the West Indies over the next few days, one at the SSC this coming Saturday 22nd February, the second  at Hambantota on Monday the 24th and the third at Pallekeley on the 1st March. With Danushka Gunathilake injured, Shehan Jayasuriya has been added to the squad of 15 (see below for details).

Apart from Jayasuriya, a notable inclusion is Thisara Perera; while Isuru Udana returns after his injury saw him miss some games in India. Notable exclusions are Dinesh Chandimal and Bhanuka Rajapaksa.

As I have not undertaken a close analysis of the recent statistics and not watched the recent ODI matches, I can hardly claim expertise in reviewing these choices – though, obviously, spin will be more of a factor in the island than in Lanka’s recent matches. This suggests that Hasaranga and Sandakan should play central roles in the bowling department.

I have no quarrels with the omission of Chandimal and Rajapaksa; but have serious questions about Shanaka’s performances in the recent past (much though I admire his demeanour). I am thrilled to see Asela Gunaratne back on the field in the warm-up matches. …. AND doing well with scores of  64 (in 75) and 47 runs (in 56 balls). He may not be in the classical mould, but he produces results as a batsman and can bowl a few overs usefully.

He can be regarded as competing for a spot with Jayasuriya, Shanaka and Perera in the near future. In the meanwhile Avishka and Kusal Perea will be in competition for an opening spot from within the XV while Oshada Fernando will be a ghost looming in trhe background.

That means that Chandimal will have to climb mountains in the local cricket competition if he is to break back into the squad.

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II: Saveen Tharinda: “Dickwella, Thisara return to Sri Lanka ODI squad,” in The Island, 20 February 2020 …………….

Fast-bowler Thisara Perera returns to the white-ball setup, while Niroshan Dickwella makes the ODI squad after nearly a year as Sri Lanka announced their 15-member squad for the three-match series against West Indies, which starts on Saturday at the SSC Grounds, Colombo.

Perera was dropped from the squad last August for the New Zealand T20Is and since then has not featured in any of the Sri Lankan limited-overs teams. He is one of the six players who returns to the squad having withdrawn from the Pakistan series. Dickwella, who has been the premier wicket-keeper batsman for Sri Lanka in Tests, last played ODI cricket in March 2019.

Dimuth Karunaratne returns to the side as captain for his third assignment in ODI cricket, having led the team in the World Cup and Bangladesh series last year.  “We are hoping to give opportunities to all the players in the squad. In the Last few months, we have done plenty of work with the new coaching setup. The West Indies team is a very strong side. With some of the seniors returning, they will be a tough team to beat, so we’re looking forward to an exciting series.” Karunaratne said during the pre-series press briefing yesterday.

With Angelo Mathews returning to full fitness, he is expected to fill in some overs along with either Thisara Perera or Dasun Shanaka, who’re both fighting for one place in the playing XI. The hosts are expected to field two frontline wrist spinners in Lakshan Sandakan and Wanindu Hasaranga with Dhananjaya De Silva providing cover.

Isuru Udana has successfully recovered from the back injury he sustained in India. The all-rounder was forced to miss the third T20I against India in Pune after he picked up the injury during the second game in Indore. Udana will have two more seamers in Nuwan Pradeep or Lahiru Kumara as seam bowling options in the squad.

However, Danushka Gunathilaka, who cracked a century against Pakistan in Sri Lanka’s last ODI assignment has been ruled out of the side due to a back injury and has been replaced by Shehan Jayasuriya. Avishka Fernando is set to open the batting with captain Dimuth Karunaratne.


Sri Lanka ODI Squad:

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain ), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Kumara


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Filed under Angelo Mathews, performance, player selections, spinning art

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