A distracted and under strength Sri Lanka could again be embarrassed in Canberra’s inaugural Test match.
Rarely has a Test team looked so out of its depth as the Sri Lankans these past few New Year weeks.
Only one of their batsmen in Brisbane made it to even 25, across two innings. It was club standard batting at its least consistent. It seemed they were beaten even before the first ball. An injection of confidence is needed if they are not to be humbled again at Manuka Oval.
But in all the hoopla and celebration among Aussie supporters, it has all but been forgotten that the Sri Lankans have their own nasty corruption scandal happening right now, too. Its Board is in disarray with big names like the legendary ex-captain Sanath Jayasuriya among those caught in the crossfire.
For the Sri Lankans, it’s every bit as big a scandal as ‘Sandpaper Saturday’ in Cape Town last March.
It must play on their minds. The International Cricket Council recently rated the Sri Lankans as the most corrupt cricket nation of them all. ‘The corruption spreads from the top to the bottom,’ an ICC spokesman said.
Sri Lankan Cricket’s president Thilanga Sumathipala has alleged hints to gambling. Several leading players have been suspended on corruption charges resulting from limited overs matches. World Cup hero Jayasuriya is among those fighting to clear their name.
Manuka is expected to be flatter and less bouncy than the ‘Gabba but Patrick Cummins has a huge psychological hold over the tourists right now. His match figures of ten for 62 were extraordinary.
For cricket’s sake we all hope the Sri Lankans aren’t blown away in two and a half days again. But it could easily be over by Sunday night, especially if the visitors bat first….