Starts Saturday 05:30
In the end, all we got from Wednesday’s game was 15 overs after England batted first. So whereas we’ll never know how Perera- either of them- would have fared if there had been a completed game, we still managed to accumulate a few morsels of knowledge about what may happen when the action gets underway again on Saturday.
The first thing we noticed was that Thisara Perera was chalked to come in at 6 rather than 7. That may seem like a somewhat trivial difference but actually…it isn’t. That could make all the difference between him having enough time at the crease to get to whatever score is there waiting to be beaten, or simply not having enough deliveries with which to do it. As a reminder: we know he can do it because he has the ability to score quicker than anyone else in the team; it’s the overs he’s out there for that we might be a bit concerned about.
So now to the strange bit. Despite being likely to bat a place higher than we all at first thought – there’s no reason why Sri Lanka should change the batting order at the same venue when no-one got a bat – he’s now a best price of 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook rather than the 15.0 he was last time out. There’s absolutely no reason why we should jump ship on Thisara when he’s batting a position higher and a bigger price than he was three days ago. So, we won’t.
And if you’re wondering why we’re bailing out of our other Perera- Kusal – it’s purely on price. He was 7.0 last time and is a best price of 5.5 this time. The value is gone.
The other thing that was noticeable was that England played the seamers well. Lasith Malinga, once just about the best limited overs fast bowler in the world was treated by England’s batters like a Sunday league trundler. He went for 7.4 runs an over. Age and injuries catch up with you in the end, Lasith.
Pradeep was considerably better and took a wicket- a genuine edge- and class player that he is, he deserves some respect.
We never got to see Thisara Perera, him again, bowl because he tends to bowl in the middle overs and at the death. But there’s nothing we don’t know about him already. He’ll bowl good lines and lengths and provide some decent variations but he’s one of those bowlers that you get yourself out to rather than him getting you out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But the other bowler we did see was spinner A. Dananjaya. His figures don’t look particularly impressive with 30 runs conceded from six overs. But that’s because he was hit for two sixes. All well and good but on another day a couple of batsmen miscue and are caught. Which by the way, is exactly what happened when Jason Roy went after him, misread the turn and was caught trying to clear the boundary.
And across those five overs he was menacing with a few swings and misses, plenty of respectful blocks and a few false shots as well. It should come as no surprise that he caused England problems and is likely to do so again, for two reasons. One: England play pace much better than seam.
Two: the wicket at Dambulla (the 2nd match is there as well) is a good one and with little or no assistance from the pitch, it may have to be cunning deviations and changes of pace that get batsmen out rather than the wicket itself.
Dananjaya is actually Sri Lanka’s second top wicket-taker over the past 12 months in this format. The first is our old mucker Thisara Perera. But there’s not much to choose between them in terms of price and our money is on England struggling with his spin rather than Thisara’s medium pace next time.
0.5pts Back Thisara Perera to be Sri Lanka Top Batsman @ 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook
1pt Back Akila Dananjaya to be Sri Lanka Top Bowler @ 4.0 with Betfair Sportsbook/Ladbrokes