- Kamindu Mendis to lead Sri Lanka ‘A’ against Pakistan ‘A’
By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Kamindu Mendis will lead Sri Lanka ‘A’ in the three unofficial ODIs against Pakistan ‘A’
Inclement weather, which has affected many parts of the country, has not even spared Dambulla, one of the arid areas, and pushed the three-match unofficial ODI series between Sri Lanka ‘A’ and Pakistan ‘A’ to tomorrow as against the scheduled commence today.
The two sides played out a drawn two-test unofficial series in Pallekele, with weather interfering in both matches.
From the unofficial test team, seven players have left for Colombo; namely Oshada Fernando, Kamil Mishara, Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Gunasekara, Lasith Embuldeniya and Suminda Lakshan. They have been replaced by Ashen Bandara, Kamindu Mendis, Shiran Fernando and Pulina Tharanga who arrived from Dubai – all four having been part of the Sri Lanka T20 World Cup squad. They will join the rest of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ squad, making it 15 players for the ODI series.
Kamindu Mendis, foremost a batsman, but internationally renowned for his unique skill to bowl with both hands will take over the captaincy for the ODI series from Sadeera Samarawickrama who led Sri Lanka ‘A’ in the two unofficial test matches. Samarawickrama, who will be part of the ODI squad, distinguished himself with a match-saving century in the second unofficial test which ended in a draw at Pallekele on Sunday.
“For a person like Sadeera, who was out for form for the past so many innings in the past few months or even a year at a higher level, it is heartening to see him coming through very strongly at the end of the day,” said Sri Lanka ‘A’ team Coach Rumesh Ratnayake.
Kamil Mishara, the 20-year-old left-hand batsman from NCC was the other batsman to shine for Sri Lanka ‘A’ during the series, scoring two fine knocks of 98 in each of the ‘Tests’.
“Mishara’s knock again was a 98 but it was like a solid 100 for me, I see a big future in the boy,” said Ratnayake. “There was nothing wrong in the defensive shot he played that got him out. The same shot he would have played about 40 times before out of the 168 balls he faced.
“I didn’t want to put any pressure on him but said ‘never mind the two nineties but the next innings try and get a hundred for Sri Lanka’.”
In both unofficial Tests the Lankan batting followed a similar path. They were dismissed for a low total in the first innings but came back strongly in the second. In the first ‘Test’, Sri Lanka was dismissed for 141 and made 144/2 in the second innings. In the second ‘Test’, Sri Lanka were shot out for 67, and following-on, recovered to 317-6.
“In the first match, the wicket had a little bit of seam on it, ideal first day of a normal first Test match. We could not adjust at the start, then the resilience of the boys was fantastic. Resilience comes from experience,” said Ratnayake.
“I am glad that happened because there was a lot of fight in the boys which enabled them to do well in the second innings. After getting out for 67 and not losing the match, it was quite creditable because they were really determined to make amends. We lost only about two sessions in a four-day game.”
“Pakistan bowled extremely well but that is no reason for us to give wickets. They were late on the ball playing defensive, the swing was late and they were caught behind. Pakistan were very persistent in their line and length, it was like a facing a bowling machine. At the end of the day, our boys are playing such a standard after a long time so it was a matter of adjusting and being a bit quicker in bringing down the bat in line with the ball. They were late in doing that. It was small adjustments, very well done and it looked really great when the score was 317/ 6,” Ratnayake said.