The last time India locked horns with Sri Lanka, the islanders suffered embarrassing losses. Although the Sri Lanka squad then did not have many of the senior pros, the scars of the series loss at home, including a 100-plus and 200-plus runs defeats, would not have healed. Tuesday’s Asia Cup game is an opportunity for Lanka to right the wrongs. The only hitch is, the team is badly equipped to do so.
Sri Lanka, who lost to Bangladesh on Sunday, are weakened by injuries. Skipper and pace spearhead Lasith Malinga, who made a sensational return from injury in their opening game against UAE, skipped the one against Bangladesh after a flare up of his knee injury.
The team management is yet to give him the green light and, it is learnt, will assess his progress a few hours before the game on Tuesday.
The Sri Lanka team manager has stated that they will not risk fielding him if his recovery is not 100 per cent in time for the game. The dilemma for the team is to risk fielding him in the game, or conserve him for the coming matches. It certainly is no easy place to be, with Lanka already suffering a loss in the tournament.
Against Bangladesh, the rest of the Lanka bowlers failed to trouble the opposition batsmen. With India batsmen on a roll, the task is even greater. Malinga, over the years, has performed brilliantly against Indian batsmen, and is also aware of many of their weaknesses. His yorkers need no invite either.
Without Malinga, the Sri Lanka attack does not look intimidating. The only positive for the team is the belief that a cornered lion attacks with intent. But belief alone may not cut it.