Sri Lanka invent cricket’s new “Domino effect” Clueless and unprepared team succumb to relentless Aussie pace – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

 

Trevine_RodrigoSri Lanka’s visit to Australia after quite a spell delivered the worst ever performance in Test cricket since they were given Test status in 1982 as they meekly succumbed to an unforgettable demolition job performed on them that will remain in their memory for several decades.
Their embarrassing performance after India toweled the Australians at home underlined the gulf between the best and the rest as the fifth placed Aussies made their one rung lower opponent feel that they belonged in the dungeons of the world game.

The pathetic batting display by a weak-kneed outfit bereft of proper technique and urgently needing a psychological assessment about what courage and commitment means sent shockwaves through their supporters who were in disbelief at what an ordinary show they could muster as they were thrashed by the Aussies inside two and a half days. Niroshan Dickwella fought a lone hand and showed the others that brave innovation in crisis could counter the aggressive Australian strategy.

Their lack of commitment and courage must have some of their former stars shaking their heads in disappointment especially when looking back at the early seventies before they were given Test recognition the likes of Duleep Mendis, Sunil Wettimuny and some others braved the menacing Dennis Lilee and Jeff Thomson without protective equipment worn today and nearly pulled off an unlikely win over the Aussies in a World Cup encounter.

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Photo source: CricBuzz
Pat Cummins drove fear into the hearts of the shell-shocked Lankans as he, Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson had the Sri Lanka batsmen hopping and ducking for cover in an expected bouncer barrage that they were sorely unprepared to counter. The trio gave Australians much to celebrate on Australia Day and erased some of the humiliation they endured against the Indians who swept them in all formats just a week before.

If there were excuses in their defense, the Pink ball experiment with its extra gloss and sharp bounce definitely undid the Sri Lankan batsmen whose diminutive stature made it difficult to avoid the well-directed missiles by the uncompromising Australian pace attack hungry for success after the Indian debacle.

Enraged Sri Lankan fans demanded the resignation of the Selectors and coaching staff on social media giving little consideration to the fact that this is a team in transition and seeking the right combinations for consistency.

It’s back to the drawing boards for sure for the luckless Sri Lankans who were also hampered by at least one debatable umpiring decision against Lahiru Thirimanne and the loss of paceman Lahiru Kumara who could not bat after succumbing to a hamstring tear.
lahiru_thirimana

Photo Source: Deccan Chronical
Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal should hand the reins over to someone else and drop himself for the good of his team as he continued with his self-preservation and flat-footed approach which gifted the Aussies with his wicket for a second time. He badly needs to re-focus and regain the kind of form that has given him an average of over 40 which does not reflect his current form.

From a coaching perspective, the Sri Lankan search for a home grown ‘Saviour’ to resurrect their flagging fortunes and re-build a new look team capable of matching it with the best appears at this stage to have backfired badly. Chandika Hathurusinghe arrived with big wraps on his ability but has not met the expectations of him or his fellow advisers.

Where to from here hinges on the final Test in Canberra and a further assessment in South Africa and my guess is that the Sri Lankan controlling body may be already talent scouting, perhaps even approaching a former coach who was on track before being disrupted mid-stride by a meddling High performance Manager hired during his successful effort to change the country’s fortunes.

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Duleep’s grit and courage – need of the hour – by Rex Clementine

Source: The Island

It was on a day like this, 43 years ago, Sri Lankan cricket made its biggest impact in the world stage. The six full members of the ICC were automatic choices for the 1975 World Cup and in a bid to make up the numbers, Sri Lanka and a team comprising cricketers from East Africa were invited to play the inaugural event. The quality of Sri Lankan cricket was displayed on this day at The Oval against an Australian side comprising the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lille, Jeff Thomson and others.

A century by Alan Turner and half-centuries by Rick McCosker, Greg Chappell, and Doug Walters had propelled Australia to a total of 328. Many would have thought that Sri Lanka had little chance. But they did well; reaching 150 for two and needed 179 runs in 30 overs with eight wickets in hand.  Australian skipper Ian Chappell was a worried man.

Duleep Mendis and Sunil Wettimuny were out in the middle and yet to come were the team’s two best batsmen – Anura Tennekoon and Michael Tissera. Chappell’s last throw of the dice was to call up Jeff Thomson, who needed no invitation for aggression.

On a placid Oval pitch, Wettimuny and Mendis were making merry until Thomson came in for his second spell. The two batsmen were subjected to a barrage of short-pitched bowling. Wettimuny was left with a broken hip bone and a broken foot while Mendis was hit right on the center of the temple.

Mendis was set for his favourite cut shot, but the ball swung back sharply to hit him. There was no first aid at The Oval and no stretcher to carry the batsman off. He was taken to the nearby St.  Thomas’ Hospital. Wettimuny had gone onto become the first Sri Lankan to score a half-century in an international match and soon he too joined Mendis at the hospital.

Celebrated cricket writer Jack Staggles visited the two Sri Lankans at the hospital. In the story he published the next day, a quote from Mendis described the man. “What happened was one of those things. It would not bother me in the slightest if I had to go out and face Thomson again tomorrow. It would take more than this to intimidate me.”

Mendis was 22 then and his courage and grit was visible. The same traits were seen as he held many other responsible positions of Sri Lankan cricket over the next four decades.

An insatiable passion for the game, no-nonsense approach, and his visionary thinking saw the game thriving under his charge. Some of the decisions he took weren’t the most popular ones, but leaders are meant to take those unpopular decisions with the well being of the institution they serve in mind. Some of the problems that Sri Lankan cricket faces at the moment wouldn’t have happened had Mendis been around as the CEO of SLC.

How on earth Sri Lanka Cricket decided to promote a gym assistant to the post of Assistant Venue Manager of the Galle International Stadium is beyond our comprehension. Ousted SLC chief Thilanga Sumathipala owes an explanation to the cricket loving public in this country. It was this Assistant Venue Manager who was caught by the Al Jazeera sting that investigated corruption in cricket.

The hallmark of some of our politicians is to appoint clowns and cronies around them to important positions. Thilanga Sumathipala is no different. National Curator is one of the most prestigious positions in the cricket board held by some fine individuals over the years.  But under Thilanga this has been compromised and one of his confidants – Godfrey Dabare was appointed for the position. It was Godfrey’s suggestion to promote Tharanga Indika, who was caught in the sting operation, to be promoted as Assistant Venue Manager.

Had Mendis been the CEO of SLC, he would have vehemently opposed such a move.

Thilanga also has been criticized heavily for almost doubling the number of teams with First Class status. With the likes of Mendis sitting on the Executive Committee meetings, such a resolution wouldn’t have got passed so easily.

When Thilanga won the cricket elections in 2016, there was a move to bring Duleep back into the Sri Lankan cricket fold from Oman. In the end, the efforts didn’t materialize. It was said that SLC wasn’t fit enough to match the remuneration package that Oman had offered Mendis. Surely, given the deals that SLC has signed with some individuals in recent times, roping in Mendis was a child’s play.

Perhaps why Thilanga didn’t aggressively persuade to bring Mendis back home was because that he knows that with the likes of him around, there wouldn’t be smooth sailing all the time. The position SLC was going to offer Mendis was team Manager. We learn that individuals within the SLC Ex-Co were eyeing for the position of Team Manager.

When SLC terminated Mendis’ services as CEO in 2010, The Island pointed out the injustices meted out to one of the greats of the sport. SLC responded saying that Mendis was paid three months of his salary and was allowed to keep his car valued at Rs. 3.5 million as compensation.

We then pointed out that the service rendered by Mendis to Sri Lankan cricket is invaluable and it cannot be measured in terms of rupees and cents or aging automobiles. Today Sri Lankan cricket is paying a heavy price for getting rid of such visionary thinkers.

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