Led by Angelo Matthews, the young brigade of Sri Lanka, caused a huge upset by beating India on Thursday. Chasing a target of 321 Sri Lanka began cautiously but then stitched a couple of good partnerships to gain the upper hand in the match and finally went on to win the match.
The star of the match for the Lankans was Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka. Incidentally, both of them are left-handers and it is here that India missed direly the services of R Ashwin. Ashwin is a street smart bowler and has an exceptional record against left-handers. His inclusion in the side would have provided a lot of variety to the bowling attack which looked insipid. The Sri Lankan side had three left-handers on their side and not playing Ashwin certainly proved costly for team India. With such a strong batting unit, team India could have easily fit in Ashwin in their side and Virat Kohli’s decision to leave him out is certainly baffling.
All the three left-handers in the Sri Lankan side were young and a bit inexperienced. Facing a bowler like Ashwin would have been challenging and hence not playing Ashwin certainly proved costly for team India. With such a strong batting unit, team India could have easily drafted in Ashwin on their side and Virat Kohli’s decision to leave him out is certainly baffling.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan team showed that a mix of youth and experience can take them deep into the tournament. The opening partnership set up the platform for the middle order to perform. The players also played to their strengths while the youngsters delivered and played to their potential.