Island Cricket

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lankans make one change, Silva in for Jayawardena

The Sri Lankans will make one change in their team to face the West Indies in the Second Test beginning at the Queen's Park Oval tomorrow. Prasanna Jayawardena who has still not recovered from a hamstring strain, will make way for Chamara Silva with Kumar Sangakkara taking on the gloveman's job. Writes Elmo Rodrigopulle for the Ceylon Daily News.

"Jayawardena has still not fully recovered and this being a crucial Test match we do not want to take a chance and have Jayawardena breaking down again. So we decided to bring back Silva", said tour selector Jayantha Seneviratne.

One thing the Lankans must do well is to guard against complacency. The West Indies who are smarting after their first Test defeat in Guyana by 121 runs are sure to come back hard at the Sri Lankans.

If the Lankans continue to play the way they did in Guyana, then there is no reason why they should not triumph in this Test too and become the first team to win a series in the Caribbean. Mahela Jayawardena and his team, put pressure on the home team from the first ball and never let them wriggle out of that situation.

They must go for the jagular from the first ball here too and not let go till the final ball is bowled and the Test won.

Winning of the toss will be of vital importance. Jayawardeana called correctly in Guyana and if that luck continues, then he will be in a position to dictate terms to the Windies. The wicket at Queen's Park Oval has a history of favouring spin bowlers, after the early help for the quicks. So with Muttiah Muralitheran and Rangana Herath, two of the best spinners in the game, winning of the toss would be advantageous. Chaminda Vaas will always trouble the Windies batsman.

Once again the Lankans would be looking for a sound start from the openers Michael Vandort and Malinda Warnapura. Both batted with confidence to blunt he pace of Darren Powell and Jerome Taylor and post a good stand. Warnapura made his maiden Test ton and Vandort a patient 52.

One drop Kumar Sangakkara made a well compiled 50, but failed to turn that into a big score which he is capable of. Skipper Mahela Jayawardena played one of his best innings in making his 22nd hundred in Test cricket. With the wicket not favouring stroke play, Jayawardena waited patiently like a vulture for the loose ball to execute for runs. His knock was a study in concentration and an example to his team mates.

Then when it came to leading, he did it from the front and in fact showed his opposite number Christopher Gayle how.

Runs are also expected from Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva and Chaminda Vaas. Samaraweera missed out in the first innings but came good in the second. Silva has not been in the good batting form that he is renowned for. But is known to come good on the big occasion. Vaas in addition to his excellent bowling, came good with the bat which helped him to win the man of the match award.

The Lankans must continue the good work on the field. Muralitheran as usual will continue to tease and lure the Windies batsmen to their destruction. Another destructive spell is expected from Vaas' new ball partner Thilina Thusara Mirando.

Windies in disarray

As for the West Indies they are at the moment in disarray. This problem was caused with the refusal of skipper Gayle to open batting in the second innings. This negative attitude began to rub off on his team mates which led to their ultimate defeat. How Gayle will go in this Test will be interesting to watch and a move that could ultimately decide the result of this Test.

A call went out for spectators to boycott this Test if home town hero Amit Jaggernauth is not included in the Test. In a Carib Beer game against Barbados which ended a few days back, Jaggernauth played himself into contention and rammed it down the selectors throat with a match bag of 10 wickets with his vicious off spinners. it would be inexplicable if he misses out again.

The batsmen to impress in the Guyana Test were Dwaynne Bravo and Ronnie Sarwan, while the other batsmen failed to get going. Sarwan especially batted excellently in both innings and is expected to carry on the good form.

A failure was the ever reliable Shiv Chanderpaul. The left hander has the ability to make big scores. That he failed was a setback to the Windies. He is too good to keep failing and is expected to come good this time round. As for the bowling they will again be relying on medium pacer Jerome Taylor with support coming from Darren Powell, Suleiman Benn and Amit Jaggernauth if he plays.

One thing the Windies must improve in is their fielding, both ground and more importantly the catching. They probably have forgotten the adage that catches win matches.

A Test match with no quarter asked or given is on the cards and if the teams play the way we know they can, then a blockbuster is on the cards.

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