Suranga Lakmal is currently in charge of the fifth Test against England and is undoubtedly facing his most difficult leadership challenge of his career. When he managed to lead Sri Lanka to victories against South Africa and the West Indies, he mostly had his first-choice attack backing him up, and he was up against opponents that seemed seriously vulnerable as well.
However, England will provide a much more difficult challenge than the previous opposition he faced. They are brilliant at batting with spinning conditions, so much so that Sri Lanka is completely baffled at the moment as they didn’t expect it at all. England also has a sensational betting line-up all the way down to number 8, presenting an extremely difficult challenge to the captain.
Suranga Lakmal commented that, “The batsmen on the England squad are playing brilliantly at the moment, and there’s simply no denying it,” Lakmal stated. “If you look at the world of cricket, the next best spin players after India is undoubtedly England. England’s batsmen don’t allow us to bowl in only one spot. They can sweep in both directions, both in reverse and normal sweep. They achieve it from the very first ball, and it’s certainly something we can learn going forward as well when we play in Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka Weaknesses
Lakmal needs to address a couple of weaknesses to increase his chances of winning the Test series against England, including lowering the potential runs that the lower order in the England squad can make. The hosts had the opposition at 134 for 5 and 103 for 5 during each innings of the last 2 Test matches. In fact, England’s partnership during the last wicket was worth 41 and 60. The best chance Sri Lanka has against the formidable England squad is for Suranga Lakmal to bowl during the lower order of England’s batsmen according to the captain.
“England’s top five batsmen are always attempting to score runs rather quickly. Thereafter, they start to fully understand the pitch and can control the spinners much better. England also has a marvellous betting line-up. However, we can’t allow their tail end to continue making runs, and this is something we need to stop. We provides loads of overs for the spinners at the tail on the last matches due to the fact that the pitch perfectly suited them. However, we will seriously consider making a few significant changes during the next match to see if we can improve on it”, said Suranga Lakmal.
Other weaknesses in the squad include Kaushal Silva who only managed to make 4 scores. He will undoubtedly be replaced by a more potent Danushka Gunathilaka. Another player that seems to be skating by recently is Niroshan Dickwella with an awful batting performance. However, he has managed to keep his head above the water due to his brilliant wicketkeeping. Lastly, there’s no denying that Kusal Mendis has also been rather poor in previous matches, currently having no fifties in the last 10 innings.