Pakistan completed yet another series whitewash, smashing Sri Lanka three-nil in Abu Dhabi and Lahore over the weekend. They were absolutely relentless even when Sri Lanka fought back until the very last delivery in the second twenty20 last week.
With just a couple of wickets in the tank, Sri Lanka were favourites to win but Shadab’s unexpected six and Gunathilaka’s drop catch went against them in the final over bowled by Vikum Sanjaya. Coach Nic Pothas was rightly proud of the side especially for the commitment shown on the field.
“I wouldn’t say it is seven defeats. I would say five defeats and two good games. In the five ODIs, we didn’t compete. When I look at that, I’m most proud to see the way Pakistan celebrated after winning against that bunch of guys; it makes me very proud. I don’t see it is as seven, it is definitely five and two split. Yeah, you can say this is the best match we have played. It is funny because we arrived here and played two good Test matches. I’m very happy with those but probably we let ourselves down in the five ODIs. Then this game was super and a bitter pill to swallow,” said head coach Nic Pothas.
Moreover, we’ve narrowed down three positives Sri Lanka can take from the recently concluded twenty20 series against Pakistan.
Thisara Perera’s captaincy
In Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal’s absence, all-rounder Thisara Perera was forced to captain the side in Lahore and Abu Dhabi. He was quick to express delight over the decision taken by the Cricket Board.
“I am really happy. I’m really proud of myself because everyone has a dream to be a captain anywhere. This was my dream, and it has come true. I’m really happy at the moment,” said Perera.
Perera was impressive as captain and equally effective with the ball in all three games. He was easily Sri Lanka’s best bowler, especially in the 2nd Twenty20 in AD. If he continues to perform at this rate, he’d surely turn out to be a match winner in tournaments to come.
Sadeera Samarawickrama’s skill to rotate the strike at will
In the three-match twenty20 series, Sadeera has done what Dinesh Chandimal failed to do in all five one day internationals. He has displayed an unusual ability to move around the crease and find gaps at will to score at least run-a-ball.
Sadeera has the potential to make it big, especially in one-day international cricket.
Moreover, he has been quite remarkable behind the stumps.
Danushka Gunathilaka’s all-round skills
Danushka Gunathilaka is a fine young talent with plenty of potential allround. He has the right mindset to score big runs on top of the order for Sri Lanka in any format. If not for the drop catch in the 2nd twenty20, he would have come out as player of the match.
Apart from Danushka’s batting, he has been excellent on the field, easily Sri Lanka’s best fielder in the past few years.
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