Sri Lanka is slowly building its team to meet the demands of international cricket, but injuries remain a key worry as the islanders go into battle against the Aussies in the second Test in Galle.
The city where the second Test match is played at, Galle, reminds tourists both local and foreign the importance of preserving what you possess. It’s so essential for a cricketer to preserve his health and physical condition as a professional, but this is not as easy as preserving a monument that has value. Bowlers are the most vulnerable and Sri Lanka is now so concerned about Nuwan Pradeep who is said to have strained a hamstring.
Sri Lanka can decide to be aloof after their smashing 106 runs over Australia in the first Test in Pallakele. But that would be a foolish thing to do against Steve Smith’s men in Green. The Aussies are known to have depth when digging deep into their reserves.
Whether its energy they need, prowess in batting or wickers in bowling, the Aussies have it in them to surprise any opponent. This is why skipper Angelo Mathews has said that the Australians can’t be taken lightly and he expects them to come hard at his players.
The most important thing at the moment is that Sri Lanka earned a win in the first Test, something which has helped built the confidence of a young bunch of players who had a dismal tour of England. This is a nation that has produced cricket legends. It is apt to think there can be many budding players around who must be found and nurtured under the best of conditions before they are fed to the national pool.
When one looks at the entry of players in the likes of Lakshan Sandakan, Kusal Mendis and Dananjaya de Silva, it seems Sri Lanka has a system going that can produce the next generation of players. Right now, we see the inclusion of former St. Sebastian’s College left arm fast bowler Vishwa Fernando making his debut in the second Test.
In Test cricket you learn slowly about the magnitude of the longer version of the game. Former Players in the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Nuwan Kulasekare took years to mature. The selectors exercised great patience when a batsman in the likes of Marvan Atapattu had a string of failures. Selectors must pursue with youth players with pottential. The present Sri Lanka frontline batsmen like Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva have struggled for a while now. But it was great to see the selectors sticking to the majority of members from the team that won the first Test against Aussies. Its always wise to stick to a winning combination.
Here in Sri Lanka it is the school holidays. There is a good chance of seeing the generally-empty stands at Test cricket venues being filled by fresh faced schoolboys and girls. At the time of writing Sri Lanka had progressed to 265 for 7 in the first innings of the first Test, thanks largely due to the bats of Kusal Janith Perera (49), Kusal Mendis (86) and skipper Mathews (54) producing valuable runs. The crowds are sure to build as the Test progresses, possibly attracting enough to fill the stands that have been demanding the attention of cricket fans for a long time.