Mathews readies to move on with future of Sri Lankan cricket


by Rex Clementine

Captain Angelo Mathews is set to move on to a new era in Sri Lankan cricket with a few young players forming the lynchpins of his side. Sri Lanka will be without Kumar Sangakkara for the third and final Test against Pakistan at Pallekele and although the star batsman will return to the first two Tests against India, the end is imminent to one of the glorious eras of Sri Lankan sport.

Mathews will soon inherit a young side in which Rangana Herath will be the only player who is over 30.

Two of the younger players who stood out during Sri Lanka’s seven-wicket win at P. Sara Oval in the second Test were off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal and fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera.

Kaushal (22) picked up five wickets in Pakistan’s first innings to help Sri Lanka bowl out the opposition for 138 runs while Chameera (23) impressed with his raw pace at times touching 150kmph.

"I understand Tharindu Kaushal is raw, but he’s got more than 200 wickets in First Class cricket. We had to be positive with him. We also picked Dushmantha because we know he can bowl a lot faster. I was actually very excited to see Dushmantha bowl that fast," Mathews told journalists.

Chameera didn’t pick up a rich haul of wickets like Kaushal, but his pace troubled Pakistan’s batsmen. Some of the more accomplished batsmen got hit while Wahab Riaz was left with a broken arm that ruled him out of rest of the series.

"I haven’t seen a faster spell than what Chameera bowled in this Test match. He’s very quick," Mathews added.

"I am not taking into account just Sri Lanka, but around the world. He clocked 149.9kmph which is extraordinary for a Sri Lankan, but also around the world it’s very quick. Hopefully he can continue that."

Chameera remains in doubt, however, for the third Test with a side strain.

Opener Kaushal Silva too has come up with some fine knocks in the series. He made a century in the first Test in Galle and was set for a second hundred in the second Test before he was run out on 80.

"Kaushal goes at his own pace. We don’t want him to change his game. All the others are batting around him, which is our strategy as a team. We just want him to rotate the strike, and keep doing the things he’s been doing for many, many years. He’s played a lot of First Class games and has a lot of First Class hundreds too. So he knows his game and is very well equipped. Most of the guys want to bat around him," Mathews, who picked up wickets and scored runs in both innings added.

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