Sri Lanka who are one-up in the three-Test series against Australia are contemplating a change in the batting order especially with the openers.
For the past two years Sri Lanka has gone with Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva as openers, but over a period of time it has been established that neither of them are attacking players.
The pair does not carry the fight to the opposing bowlers and thereby badly exposes Sri Lanka’s middle order to the new ball.
In England although they fought hard under extreme conditions they were unsuccessful in seeing the England new ball bowlers Anderson, Broad and Finn off until the third and final Test at Lord’s where they figured in a century partnership only their third in 20 Tests.
“We have a few options up our sleeves and opening with Kusal Perera is one of them,” said chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya. “If we decide to open with Kusal then Dimuth will bat at number three.”
That would mean that Kusal Mendis will come in at number four – the position where he scored that monumental match-winning knock of 176 followed by skipper Angelo Mathews and wicket-keeper/bat Dinesh Chandimal.
In his heyday Jayasuriya, a plunderer of runs formed Sri Lanka’s most successful Test opening partnership with the resilient Marvan Atapattu.
Kusal Perera has been compared more or less to Jayasuriya the way he bats but he has still a long way to go before filling in the great man’s shoes. He has shone only in patches and so far has lacked in consistency.
Jayasuriya said that he has had chats with Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews about making changes to the top order batting but nothing has so far been finalized.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said after the Pallekele post-match press conference that they had tried out Kusal Perera as opener with Silva to wipe out as much of the deficit quickly as possible but the ploy didn’t work when Perera was dismissed for four. However Mathews didn’t rule out using Perera as an opener during the series.
LAKMAL OUT OF SQUAD
Despite the mounting number of injuries Sri Lanka has decided to stick to the same squad. The only change is that injured fast bowler Suranga Lakmal who has a hamstring strain has been omitted from the squad that was named for the first Test at Pallekele thus reducing it to 14.
Sri Lanka won the first Test by 106 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series.
Jayasuriya said that Nuwan Pradeep, the latest casualty in the Lankan camp is due to undergo a fitness test today.
If Pradeep who damaged his hamstring doesn’t come through the fitness test one of the two uncapped fast bowlers in the squad is likely to make his Test debut – Vishwa Fernando or Asitha Fernando, both of them with very little first-class experience. Vishwa has appeared in 44 first-class matches while 18-year-old Asitha has played in only two.
In the Pallakele Test, Pradeep bowled only six of the 88.3 overs in Australia’s second innings dominated by the spinners.
SRI LANKA TEST SQUAD FOR GALLE: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Roshen Silva.