Dimuth Karunaratne led Sri Lanka’s fortune changed so dramatically in the last three days in the first test at Centurion, that it prompted batting coach Grant Flower to criticize recently concluded Lanka Premier League (LPL) for the poor show.
Sri Lanka, after winning an important toss in Boxing Day test, started the first day in style, riding on the gritty half-centuries from Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya De Silva. Sri Lanka dominance continued second day as well, as all-rounder Dasun Shanaka’s attacking half century helped visiters posting it’s highest ever first innings total of 396.
However, from there on, match started to slip out of Sri Lanka’s control, as former captain Faf Du Plessis 199 helped Proteas in posting a mammoth 621.
However, from there on, match started to slip out of Sri Lanka’s control, as former captain Faf Du Plessis 199 helped Proteas in posting a mammoth 621. By the end of the third day’s play, Sri Lanka were reeling on 65/2.
To add more misery, while Dhananjaya and Kasun Rajitha are already out of the match, Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s top scorer in the first innings, also seems doubtful to resume his second innings on fourth day, after suffering a groin injury.
It was a combination of bad luck and poor execution! Grant Flower, however, summerized his team’s lacklustre show with a different prospective.
“I don’t think our preparation was ideal. We had the LPL before. You are not getting the right conditioning. I understand why they held it. Because of COVID and financially, we needed it, but definitely not the best preparation for test cricket” Flower said after third day’s play.
Sri Lanka still trail South Africa by 160 runs, with effectively 5 wickets in hand. Flower, was particularly, surprised by so many injuries.
“You are playing against fittest blokes in South Africa. It’s not overly surprising (the injuries because the lack of the preparation), but I haven’t seen so many injuries on the same day” Flower added further.