Thursday Oct 10, 2019
The Sri Lankan cricket team on Wednesday brushed aside their Pakistani counterparts in the final T20I and registered a 3-0 whitewash in the series.
With that result, their 13-day tour, also featuring an ODI series, came to a conclusion. Let’s take a look at who the heroes and zeroes from the twin series are.
Veni, vidi, vici.
If this deep is the Sri Lankan talent pool then the rest of the cricketing world should be concerned. Yes, Pakistan did make mistakes but the Lankans were at hand to take advantage every single time.
For years the islanders have been in transition after losing some of their legends to retirements. This was a sign that an uptick in fortunes could be just around the corner.
His first away T20I assignment and he emerges as the player of the series. He has a killer googly that none of the Pakistan batsmen were able to pick. The most perplexed against him was Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, whom he bowled out in all three T20Is.
Also, what’s with Sri Lanka and mystery spin bowlers?
A valiant, tour-leading 133 in the third ODI followed by a breezy 57 in the T20I opener that set the tone of the entire series. Disciplinary issues permitting, this 28-year-old, who is a bit of a bad boy, should become a regular fixture in the Sri Lankan side.
This one generates the vibe of a prototypical Sri Lankan batsman of the 90s era. His match-winning 77 in the second T20I came was just the second time he was representing the senior Sri Lankan side internationally. Sri Lankan selectors will find it very hard to ignore him after this tour.
He got four matches across the two series but was dismissed just once, and that too due to his skipper’s fault. An unbeaten 20-ball 32, another unbeaten 22-ball 28, a 24-ball 25 and an unbeaten 17 off eight balls. Not too bad for a guy who had played just one T20I prior to this series.
Did you hear what Misbah said in the post-match presser? He is already almost longing for a reunion with the pair of 37 and 38-year-old. Talk about winning without even facing a ball.
The recurring theme throughout the series was Sarfaraz coming out to bat, Sarfaraz laboring around for a few runs, Sarfaraz getting frustrated and Sarfaraz throwing away his wicket in despair.
His time was up months ago. It’s already too late for what should have happened earlier.
He came in thinking he’d be allowed some honeymoon period during which he won’t be assessed. But he chopped and changed so much, the jury is out on him already. His critics, meanwhile, have a lot of fodder to whip him with over the next few days and weeks.
Is he not allowed an off series? No he isn’t. The world beater that we’ve been billing him as over the past year needs him to deliver at home against units such as Sri Lanka 10 times out of 10.
The thing about legspinners is that they are expensive but they pick up wickets. Shadab was expensive throughout the series but he got just five scalps in as many matches. He struggled to get his line and length right, which for a spinner is strange in this day and age.
Surely it’s over for these two. Or is it?