Sri Lankan idea on scrutiny in Dhaka

Cricket: Triangular series: New-look islanders take on Bangladesh in opener

Sri Lankan idea on scrutiny  in Dhaka

TOP PRIZE: Indian skipper MS Dhoni, Lankan Kumar Sangakkara and Bangladesh’s Shakib al Hasan pose with the  tri-series trophy in Dhaka on Sunday. REUTERS

The Lankans will be without veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, former skipper Mahela Jayawardene, pace bowler Lasith Malinga, influential all-rounder Angelo Mathews and spin twins Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis. Replacements for these men are tough to find, but it is a deliberate gamble Sri Lanka have played coming into the tri-series.

They want to test the bench strength at the top level, and the Lankan bigwigs believe that only such a drastic measure, even if the chances of defeat are much higher, will help them to find a core team before the 2011 World Cup.

With Jayasuriya not the force he once used to be, the Lankan management are depending on Tillakaratne Dilshan for a rollicking start to their innings and the right-hander has adapted to the role with aplomb.

Dilshan has been a great force along with Upul Tharanga at the top of the tree and the duo displayed its firepower in the series against India, stitching together some big alliances.

Kumar Sangakkara too has been in fine fettle of late, and the Sri Lankan skipper has added a touch of daring to his natural elegance and class. It has made him only a more feared and effective opponent at number three, but Lanka’s middle-order has some brittleness to it.

Jayawardene’s patchy form has played a huge role in Lanka squandering the starts Dilshan-Tharanga duo provided them against India in the recent one-day series, and the visitors will have to depend on a set of youngsters to deliver for them.

The likes of Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, and Tilan Samaraweera have showcased their talent only fleetingly in the 50-over version.

The tri-series is as good an opportunity as any for them to deliver consistently at the highest level and that will go a long way in boosting the Lankan confidence for the subsequent months.

The retirement of Chaminda Vaas and the eroding effectiveness of Muralitharan has somewhat drenched the firepower of the Lankan bowling too of late. Newcomers like Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Periera, Suranga Lakmal and Suraj Randiv will have to step on the gas if they wish to challenge rivals more effectively in the months to come.

Precisely, it will be the aim of Bangladesh as well. They have sprung a few surprises after becoming a part of the main fold, but they have never quite managed to break free from the tag of being just a set of dream-shatterers. Shakib-al-Hasan and his mates will be eager to shed that label while starting the travel to a realm where they will be rated as achievers. The management will be hoping to channelise the talent the likes of Shakib, Mohammad Ashraful, Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes possess, guiding Bangladesh to that desired dominion. So, there will not be any lack of excitement when two teams with similar goals go hard at each other.

Teams (From): Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (vice-capt and wk), Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, Tamim Iqbal, Syed Rasel, Raqibul Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nazmul Hossain, Naeem Islam, Imrul Kayes, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thissara Perera, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Malinga Bandara, Suraj Randiv, Thilan Thushara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara and Chanaka Welagedera
Umpires: Ian Gould, Enamul Hoq Mani; Third umpire: Nadir Shah; Match referee: Andy Pycroft.

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