Dinesh Chandimal and debutante Prabath Jayasuriya stun Australia – By Trevine Rodrigo in Melbourne (eLanka Sports editor)
If there is a turning point to a country ravaged by tragedy, Sri Lanka has emerged from it on all fronts with an inexplicable innings win over Australia against the tide of expectation.
Absolutely annihilated in the first Test and embarrassed to a point where redemption appeared beyond the reach of reality, the Lankans proved that ‘ impossible’ was not a word that belonged to their belief or psyche.
Two players made this dream a reality, much against all expectations, and the efforts of Dinesh Chandimal and debutante Prabath Jayasuriya will go down in the annals of history as two of the country’s most cherished heroes.
After the first Test debacle in Galle where Sri Lanka hastily discovered that preparing spinning tracks would give them a supreme advantage against all opposition only to fall on their own sword against the Australian spinners, they learnt quickly and changed things around to stop the Kangaroos on their hop.
We predicted in these columns that a less spin friendly deck was imperative for the second Test if the local batsmen were to get a degree of reprieve for their lack of technique against genuine spin. And this is exactly what the curators came up with to swing the scales in Sri Lanka’s favour.
To be fair, Pat Cummins and the Australian brains thrust assumed that a 300 plus score would be sufficient for a repeat of the first contest.
But the docile batsman friendly track proved otherwise as the Sri Lankan batsmen proved, exploiting predictable movement and turn, and desperately seeking solace for the failings of the first Test. Hindsight suggests that Australia will be lamenting the benching of Josh Hazelwood for this game taking the sting out of a proven pace attack. The decision was obviously made by the deck provided for the first Test.
Led by veteran Chandimal, several others got good starts to bolster Sri Lanka to a match winning lead of 190 as in true fashion the wicket took spin on the third and fourth day.
Prabath Jayasuriya’s 12 -wicket hauls on debut obviously leap frog’s him to pole position for the series against Pakistan over the experienced line-up of Sri Lanka spinners.
This was also the highest score against Australia and they made them toil for the second longest bowling performance in the games recent history.
Angelo Matthews, Kusal Mendis and youngster Kamindu Mendis made timely half centuries to secure their places for the upcoming series against Pakistan to follow.
The wicket was in many ways not dissimilar to the SCG which has a similar trait. And it could well have had another twist to the tail if Australia had overcome the deficit.
While the Aussies return home to dissect their reasonable success on the sub continent, Sri Lanka will analyse their own performance and reflect on a definite improvement, which under new coach Chris Silverwood, appears to be progressing in the right direction.