Team work key to Lanka Youth team’s success
Sri Lanka under 19 team led by Dunith Wellalage showed fighting spirit and they surprised everyone by not only winning the five-match series at Dambulla but whitewashing Bangladesh under 19 team 5-0, the first time they have achieved this feat in history at this level.
It was a team effort and all the Sri Lankan youth cricketers were ahead in all three departments .The team spirit was very high and until the last ball of the game youth players were very keen to fight back to win the game.
Bangladesh were the reigning under 19 world champions and they came to play Sri Lanka matches after a 3-2 match series win against Afghanistan. Actually Bangladesh were favourites before the Sri Lanka series with their match experience.
Sri Lankan youth players came to this series lacking International match experience.After the last 2019 world cup the players couldn’t play the games due to Global pandemic. However Sri Lankan players built up their skills within a short period under the guidance of head coach Avishka Gunawardena and his supporting staff fast bowling coach Chamila Gamage, spin bowling coach Sachith Pathirana, fielding coach Upul Chandana and batting coach Dhammika Sudharshana with the backing up of physiotherapist Priyantha Wickramasinghe who did an excellent job for the youth players.
The part of the credit should go to junior selection committee headed by Ranjith Madurusinghe and S.H.U Karnian and Varuna Waragoda who made good selection within a short period. They first selected 75 players for the residential training under Bio Bubble at Dambulla and then brought it down to 26 players and pruned it down to 20 players and conducted few intra squad matches. Actually this short period was not enough but all coaches put in maximum effort.
Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh youth teams played this series in preparation for under 19 world cup next January and it was highly successful.
The first one day game was won by Sri Lanka by 42 runs to take an early lead which gave much needed confidence for Wellalage and the team. The left hander Pawan Pathiraja made back to back half centuries in first two games while wicket keeper batsman Sadeesh Jayawardena hit a half century in the second game as an opener. In the second ODI Sri Lankan youth players showed real fighting spirit to notch up a thrilling one run win in the last ball of the game.
Bangladesh youth players were heading for victory but Sri Lanka’s fielding was high standard to gain second consecutive win with getting a run out of the last ball. The direct hit from extra cover fielder Pathiraja to finish the game with a narrow win.
In the third ODI Sri Lanka won by three wickets with 20 balls remaining and all rounder Shevon Daniel made a match winning knock of 85 not out to seal the series with two matches to spare.
In the fourth ODI Sri Lankan deputy skipper Raveen de Silva make a superb knock of 88 to gain one wicket win with three balls to spare.
The fifth and final ODI was dominated by Chamindu Wickramasinghe who made the one and only century . Wickramasinghe promoted to open the innings after being rested for two matches proved his all-round capabilities to build up the innings to 240 for 9 which was the highest team total of the series.
Bangladesh once again were heading for victory and were well ahead until the 47 th over in the final game . Chasing the target of 241 their top order batters made good scores but their last six wickets fell for the addition of 13 runs in last three overs with skipper Wellalage the leg spinner and paceman Vinuja Ranpul taking two wickets each to bowl out opponents to make a clean sweep for Sri Lanka ..
The off spinner Trevin Mathew 4 for 29 in the first ODI which was the best figures of the series while Wellalage got 11 wickets in the series with best figures 4 for 35 in the 4 th ODI and he took curical wickets at the middle orders to strangle the opponents.
Sadisha Rajapaksa took four catches in the last game and fielders got 3-4 good run outs at the most wanted time during this series The match winners of the Sri Lanka team differed from each game and that proved all players made much needed contributions to the team. They realised their responsibility and made maximum effort to win the matches. Sri Lankan team management made several changes for each game and players rotate system applied to series giving opportunity for most players of the 20 member squad .They made some changes during the series and most of them worked out in their favour. Shevon Daniel who scored 222 runs and took five wickets was adjudged man of the series.
This match series made good exposure for the yougsters before the world cup and SLC is expected to arrange England match series in December to give more exposure before the World Cup.
Bangladesh match series man of the match awards
I st ODI – Trevin Mathew
2 nd ODI – Mahfjul Islam( Bangladesh)
3rd ODI – Shevon Daniel
4 th ODI – Raveen de Silva
5 th ODI – Chamindu Wickramasinghe
Man of the series – Shevon Daniel