October 19, 2019
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    Bragging rights only for Thirimanne

    January 13, 2019

    Unsung Lahiru Thirimanne could be excused for believing his team could bank on him when Sri Lanka confronts Australia in the two Test series starting on January 24 in Brisbane as the south paw batsman may see himself as the only stand-out exponent the last time the islanders were on show down under.Thirimanne has a tale to his credit the last time Sri Lanka toured Australia in 2012-13 when he went into the third Test in Sydney as a replacement for an injured Kumar Sangakkara and made a top score of 91.

    Thirimanne had watched Sri Lanka lose the first and second Tests in Hobart and Melbourne at home on television and then received a surprise call from Australia to reinforce the team after Sangakkara was hit on the finger and retired from the Boxing Day Test.While returning to the pavilion Sangakkara showed his bat right round the Melbourne Cricket Ground signalling it was the last time he’ll be seen in a Test in Australia.

    But Sangakkara’s replacement Thirimanne heralded his presence by facing up to a fiery Australian four-man pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson only to miss out on a well deserved century by just nine runs when David Warner at cover produced a stunning running catch by diving to grasp the ball inches off the ground to give spinner Nathan Lyon the wicket.

    Thirimanne was initially bailed out by the television Decision Review System (DRS) after being ruled out leg-before when he had not even reached double figures and will be able to recall some memories of the match while facing up to Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon the only two bowlers still surviving in the arena from the Sydney Test of January 2013.

    That Sri Lanka lost the match and the series 3-0 may have been understandable against a mighty Australian team at the time. But the upcoming two-Test series will have more hidden factors the Sri Lankans will have to cope with as none in the present tour party have set foot at the Gabba in Brisbane where the first Test will be played from January 24 to 28 which will be a day-night affair with a pink ball.

    Overall Sri Lanka cannot brag about any fond experiences in Brisbane, a venue where they were strangled and thrashed by an innings and 40 runs at their last appearance in November 2007.

    Only a mighty big effort will be able to resurrect the team that has only Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal to join Thirimanne as the only surviving batsmen to have played Test cricket in Australia.

    Thirimanne himself has not played in a Test since an appearance against India at Nagpur in November 2017. As a teenager he traded his books for bats and skipped a College final year exam for a place at the Youth World Cup and is now one of the few pros in a flagging Sri Lanka team.

    Sri Lanka squad: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne (vice captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha

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