Cricket Crazy Cricket! Abbott and Costello Capers from the Sri Lankans at Eden Gardens

Michael Roberts

I happened to watch most of the Sri Lankan innings against New Zealand at Eden Gardens today the 23rd March 2023. I had no great expectations as I anticipate losses in all their matches in the seamer friendly conditions over there.

Henry Shipley’s maiden five-for came in just his fourth ODI  •  AFP/Getty Images

However, ….. however, ……. the performances at Eden Gardens had touches of craziness jumbled together with idiocy. If the batting revealed measures of clumsiness, the running between the wickets suggested touches of Abbott and Costello at their most comic.

Chamika Karunaratne is fighter and an asset in several ways; but on this day his enthusiasm for impossible singles to mid-on were craziness … not once but on several occasions. “Moley koheydha” — one had to say to him!

Captain Dasun Shanaka did not help his charges or the side by asking for a review when he had his outside edge nicked by a ball going through to the keeper.  H thereby burned a review. This did not matter because the Kiwis did not need not need much aid from the umpiring system thereafter; but it was a call that was symptomatic of the whole innings.



Andrew Fidel Fernando: “Henry Shipley leads rout of Sri Lanka with maiden five-for,

Sri Lanka crashed to 76 all out in pursuit of a target of 275, after Henry Shipley blasted out the their top order, eventually claiming 5 for 31. Where New Zealand had scrapped to 274 all out, their scorecard featuring a highest score of 51 – by Finn Allen – Sri Lanka succumbed meekly against the bounce that Shipley, Blair Tickner, and even Daryl Mitchell generated, on an Eden Park surface with plenty of carry.
Some Sri Lanka batters fell to the short ball, which New Zealand’s batters had also struggled to contend with in their innings. Others were dismissed by full deliveries that seamed. And the run-out of opener Nuwanidu Fernando, who had charged most of the way down the pitch for a third even though his partner was not interested, set off the whole, sorry collapse.
Only three Sri Lanka batters got to double figures; their best individual score was Angelo Mathews’ 18.
Shipley, a tall bowler whose braced front leg in his delivery stride ensures a very high release point, did not merely generate awkward bounce on a helpful pitch, but was also good when he pitched the ball up. His best delivery was perhaps to Pathum Nissanka, whom he bowled through the gate, having jagged the ball into the batter off the seam. Later, he had Dasun Shanaka edging a fullish delivery to the slips as well.
His three other wickets were from the short ball, though – Kusal Mendis was rushed into a pull and sent the ball to the fine-leg fielder, Charith Asalanka nicked a wideish short delivery to the keeper, and Chamika Karunaratne holed out trying to bludgeon a pull, late in the game. This was Shipley’s first five-for in internationals, in just his fourth ODI. In fact, he’d only had three five-fors before this across List A and first-class cricket.
Tickner and Mitchell took two wickets apiece, and Matt Henry was unfortunate not to produce a dismissal, such was the quality of his bowling, and the haste with which Sri Lanka’s batters seemed to throw their wickets away. Sri Lanka were all out in the 20th over. This was their lowest total against New Zealand, and their fifth-lowest ever.
Mitchell had also contributed with the bat, as his 47 helped New Zealand progress through the middle overs. Allen’s 51 at the top of the innings had given the hosts their impetus, though, as he prospered against the seamers’ fuller deliveries initially, before later walloping Wanindu Hasaranga’s legspin for consecutive sixes.
Debutant Rachin Ravindra’s 49 off 52 was not particularly flashy, but was perhaps the most important innings of the match, as he kept New Zealand ticking in the late overs despite the fall of wickets at the other end. He and Glenn Phillips had come together with the score 152 for 5 in the 30th over, and proceeded to put on the only half-century stand in the game, producing 66 off 59 balls.
When Phillips was dismissed, holing out trying to thump Dilshan Madushanka over the square-leg boundary, Ravindra continued to accumulate meticulously in the company of the tail. He hit four fours and a six, before he himself holed out – a common dismissal for the New Zealand batters, who kept trying to clear the short straight boundary but were forced to do so against shorter lengths, which Sri Lanka’s bowlers utilised heavily. New Zealand left the last three deliveries of their innings unused.
Though Sri Lanka showed little spine with the bat, they displayed spunk in the field and with the ball. Chamika Karunaratne relied on short-of-a-length deliveries to fetch him career-best figures of 4 for 43 from his nine overs. Lahiru Kumara was rapid, and intense, as he took 2 for 46, with Kasun Rajitha also claiming two wickets. And Sri Lanka took the catches that came their way.
This defeat means automatic qualification for this year’s World Cup appears unlikely for Sri Lanka. If South Africa win their two matches against Netherlands, or Ireland win their three remaining games, those teams put themselves on 98 Super League points each (provided no over-rate penalties), which Sri Lanka now cannot reach even with two wins against New Zealand.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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One response to “Cricket Crazy Cricket! Abbott and Costello Capers from the Sri Lankans at Eden Gardens

  1. I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great content.

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