Positives few for Canadian cricketers

RICHARD MAUNTAH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:16 PM ET

Canada was never going to beat Sri Lanka at the brand new stadium in the southern region of Hambantota.

Sri Lanka has the talent and tools to win the cricket World Cup. Canada is a minnow.

So, in a 210-run loss, you look for positives. There weren’t many. The Canucks fielded well, showing a nimbleness and quickness to prevent several boundaries during Sri Lanka’s innings. Their bowlers held Sri Lanka to two sixes and looked early on like they might have a chance to keep the score low. And Rizwan Cheema with 37 runs off 35 balls plus a wicket in seven overs of work proved himself to be a capable all-rounder in his World Cup debut.

Now, the bad news. Those same bowlers gave up 332 runs including 33 fours. Mahela Jayawardene made a century off 81 balls. Kumar Sangakkara made 92 (Together they produced a 179 partnership). Tillakaratne Dilshan added 50. All found enough boundaries to excite the already-jovial home crowd.

In addition, the deliveries had decent pace but lacked swing or any deceptive movement. You never sensed they could take wickets unless Sri Lanka produced the odd poor shot or carelessness between the wickets. It didn’t help that Henry Osinde, their quickest fast-bowler, suffered cramping problems with his hamstring and was pulled after bowling just 2.1 overs.

“We knew the weak points and strong points, in and out, of all the Sri Lankans. But the problem was that do we have the weapons to make it happen?” Canadian coach Pubudu Dasanayake told Reuters.

“Until the middle of the game we had a plan but Mahela and Sanga took the game away from us.”

Even with Lasith Malinga sitting this one out, Sri Lanka’s string of fast-bowlers and spinners were too much for Canada. Thisara Perera’s first delivery to John Davison found nothing but stumps, sending the former captain to the bench with the dreaded duck. Add Ruvindu Gunasekera’s total of one and Canada’s openers continued a disturbing trend from the warmup matches of very quick dismissals.

Ashish Bagai made 22 off 47 balls and Harvir Baidwan made 16 not out ah the end but otherwise Perera, 38-year-old legend Muttiah Muralitharan, and the remainder of Sri Lanka’s bowlers had their own way. With wicketkeeper Sangakkara responsible for four of the put outs, Canada’s day ended 122 all out in just under 37 overs.

“To be fair to the Canadians, they bowled really well at the start,” Jayawardene said afterwards. “With the partnership between Kumar and me, we needed to change that rhythm in the middle overs and take control of the game.”

richard.mauntah@sunmedia.ca


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