How to beat Australia?
- By Farhan Uvais
- Updated: July 12, 2016
I definitely feel we’ve improved and are in a better place for the Australia series. This was a learning curve for all our players – we are a really young team, inexperienced, but the way guys fought facing Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad in challenging conditions, the way they batted and way they showed their guts was brilliant. Last time at home the Australians beat us back in 2011 and we are looking forward to the series. We definitely can make a massive difference if we play together as a unit and we believe we can do it.
Followed by an absurd series against England, this piece may sound a little irrational but nothing is impossible if the right determination is shown in the middle. Almost everything from decisions to lazy runouts went in favour of England in the recently concluded series. Luck certainly did favour the brave.
However, it was pretty obvious as we were able to witness the difference between the two teams after the 1st Test. Together with the negatives, there were plenty of positives as well. We were able to understand the potential in the youngsters but it ideally did not take us anywhere in the series.
Dasun Shanaka and Dhanushka Gunathilaka batted well but made way too many mistakes in the middle. Shanaka was pretty poor with his running while Gunathilaka failed to remain consistent. Kusal Mendis was exceptional in the middle. However, he has to convert those half centuries into massive hundreds very soon.
Australians are mighty opponents but we possess the home advantage. We’ve always been brilliant at home with good support in all formats of the game. However, it’s important that the selectors pick the right set of players for the upcoming tour.
Injuries may not be in our hands but the fast bowling department needs a little more enthusiasm. In the absence of Chameera, Prasad and Eranga, Vishwa Fernando is one player we could recall from the Sri Lanka A team.
Rangana Herath’s inclusion is not a doubt. However, it would be a tremendous advantage for Sri Lanka if young Jeffrey Vandersay is fit. Alternatively, Sachith Pathirana is an option we could look at.
The batting seems solid but it’s just a matter of converting starts into big partnerships. Fifties and sixties are not going to do us favours, especially on home soil. The senior will have to make it big by tiring the Aussie bowlers as much as they could. The hot conditions may ideally do the rest for us.
The Sri Lankans were once known as Asia’s best fielding side with dedicated players who’d do anything to stop the ball from reaching the boundary rope. Unfortunately, that’s not the case now. Our fitness levels are pretty low and the boys rarely make an effort to stop the ball.
If the fielding doesn’t improve in a few weeks, we might as well forget the series.
On the other hand, the Aussies themselves are pretty good fielders. We may not be able to reach their standards but it’s important that we make an effort.
The only Test series we won against Australia was way back in 1999 when our bowlers led by Vaas and Murali dismantled them in the very first match at the Asgiriya Stadium. In Prasad’s absence, it’s up to Pradeep and Herath this time around.
Herath absolutely does have the potential. He has done it many times before. However, Prasad’s return would massively help Sri Lanka with their cause.
Knowing the system in and out, Angelo Mathews is the best at leading the team despite facing back to back defeats in the recent past. Considering the opponents, it’s important that Mathews keeps attacking every step of the way. A defensive mindset will ideally play in favour if the Aussies.
In the tests, it’s important that he utilizes Rangana Herath effectively, disallowing the opponents to build partnerships after losing a couple of wickets. The attacking mindset can do wonders for Sri Lanka.