By Bandula Jayasekara
The Age: It is true the Sri Lankans lost in Hobart after a fight and lost badly in Melbourne. We give credit to the Australian team for winning the Test series. But the game of cricket and the test of cricket are not over for the Sri Lankan team.
The Sydney Test, and the one-day and twenty20 internationals are yet to be played. That is the test for skipper Mahela Jayawardene and his lads.
Sri Lankan supporters in Australia would have been disappointed by their team’s performance in Melbourne. However, they have not given up hope. Support for Sri Lanka will only increase from the third Test in Sydney, which was considered a historic Test.
Cricket is an uncertain game. It may not take very long for the Sri Lankan team – despite their injuries – to strike back. It is true that any losing team would feel down and disheartened but, it cannot be for long. A Sri Lankan fan here said: “Australia was down and disheartened after their defeat to South Africa. Unfortunately we gave the downtrodden Aussies a boost. It is still not too late for the Sri Lankan cricketers to send them down under.”
Another fan I spoke to in Sydney said: “We all have our ups and downs. We don’t give up on them just because we lost the first two Tests. I am sure our team will strike back in Sydney, despite the debacle in Melbourne.”
It is true. The Sydney Test is another game. A new test of nerves. Sri Lankan cricketers are known for their guts, courage and lot of fight. Maybe we lost it during the second Test for some unknown reason. But, the Sri Lankans cannot be down for a long period. Sydney is where Sri Lanka can prove who they really are. Melbourne was just a bad dream they had, and we shared with them.
Some members of the team may be young and inexperienced, some may be out due to injury and the Kumar Sangakkara injury may be a bad blow. But, the game of cricket is where 11 men put their heads together and put bat to ball.
Sri Lanka can make a comeback. I believe in their ability. Sri Lankan fans in Australia believe and have faith in the ability of their cricketers. They have faith in the coach and the cricket management. 21 million Sri Lankans wouldn’t like the Sri Lankan cricketers to be down under.
In a tribute to Tony Greig, the sports editor of The Island newspaper in Sri Lanka, Rex Clementine, wrote: “Once during a match, some cricket fans put out a banner which said: ‘Tony Greig – born in South Africa, played for England. Lives in Australia and supports Sri Lanka.’”
Greig loved Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans loved Greig. Tony always wanted to see the Sri Lankan team doing well and he always encouraged them. Some may even say he favoured the Sri Lankans. Though Tony lived and died in Sydney, I am sure he would have liked to see Sri Lanka come back and win the Test match in Sydney.
Maybe the Sri Lankans will pay a tribute to the memory of a man who deeply loved Sri Lankan cricket.
Let me remind the Sri Lankans of that famous saying – no guts, no glory. Bring glory to your island nation. Be combative. You can do it. Right here in Sydney.
Bandula Jayasekara is the Consul-General of Sri Lanka in Sydney.