Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka, on the back of his side’s famous 2-1 series win over India, asserted that the young side he has at his disposal is hungry for success, and credited the players for bringing out their best. Shanaka described the showing today as SL’s ‘best in the last few years’.
Despite India sending a second-string side, the Sri Lankan side – in crisis – was written off even prior to the first ball of the tour. However, the inexperienced Lankan side, led by Dasun Shanaka, made the world change its opinion about them over the course of the six matches. After a thrashing in the first game of the tour, the Lankans went toe-to-toe with the Indians in the next five games and the laudable spirit shown by the hosts proved instrumental in the series win in the T20Is, their first in the format in two years.
The Lankan side reeked of inexperience, yet spirited showings by the younger players resulted in the hosts not just competing but eventually downing the visitors, who had troubles of their own. Speaking in the aftermath of the series, skipper Dasun Shanaka heaped praise on the rising stars who were instrumental to the series win but asserted that this bunch has a bigger goal in mind – that of becoming a world-class unit one day.
“Not only myself, all the boys are working really hard. In the last three months starting from the Bangladesh series, they were keen to win and they want to be world-class,” Shanaka said.
“The way Chameera started, the way Wanindu performed throughout, how Akila performed, how calm DDS was, and I should mention Karunaratne .. he is a gem to Sri Lankan cricket. All the boys did right job. They handled the situation well and used their brains very well. I am lucky to lead this team.”
The Shanaka-led Lankan side was certainly world-class today, in particular the bowlers. Astonishingly, led by Hasaranga, Sri Lanka restricted India to just 81, with the hosts spinning a web around the visitors, whose stocks were severely depleted due to a Covid mishap. Shanaka described the showing with the ball on Thursday as Sri Lanka’s best-ever performance ‘in years’, and said that he benefited from having multiple bowling options at his disposal.
“This is the best performance we have had in the last few years. I had the (bowling) options with me and used them in the middle.”
Sri Lanka were flawless with the ball, but with the bat, they were shaky in the initial part, particularly in the powerplay. Despite chasing a mere 82, 23 was what the hosts scored in the first six overs, with them eventually needing a cameo from Hasaranga to fend off the pressure exerted by the Indians. Shanaka admitted that he would have liked to see his side fare better with the bat up-front, but claimed that the young side will learn with more match experience.
“When a low score is set, it’s good if you get a more positive start. But they are young and learning, they’ll be better in the future,” Shanaka said.
The Sri Lankan skipper further thanked the BCCI for ensuring that the series went ahead despite as many as 9 visiting players having to miss the final two T20Is due to a positive case in the camp.
“I should thank BCCI, under these circumstances they agreed to play. Special thanks to Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan.”