Kandy: While both captains wore brave smiles as they looked at a gloomy, Pallekele Stadium, its outfield covers littered with puddles, all they could do is look ahead than reflect on a rain-drenched Test series.
As West Indies captain Darren Sammy highlighted the debut of Darren Bravo as a major point and the second triple century from Chris Gayle, Sri Lanka’s skipper Kumar Sangakkara regarded the positives of being able to regain the initiative in the series after the mauling in Galle in the first Test.
Apart from his own batting efforts, there was the emergence of Suranga Lakmal in the seam and swing bowling category as well as the pressure created by Rangana Herath with his four wickets at Pallekele and his minor success at the Khettarama venue during its World Cup refurbishment during the second Test.
“We came hoping to win a Test and possible hold on to that win as a pointer to the future,” Sammy said after the third Test of the series was abandoned early afternoon because of continuous rain.
“Darren Bravo showed us at Test level what we have all known since he made his debut in the limited overs games,” Sammy added. “He is a class player and we know how disappointed he is in failing to score a century of not to contribute more to the team’s efforts this series.
“We came to Sri Lanka on a rebuilding phases and the feeling is that we have gone some way to achieve that goal at least,” Sammy added. “We are disappointed how the weather plagued our efforts as I feel we gave a good committed response which is part of our rebuilding programme.”
He mentioned that Shane Shillingford will be heading for Australia with the team’s manager Joel Garner to try and rectify the off-spinner’s action which was reported after the Galle Test by the umpires. The idea is to have him trialled to correct the fault of a 15 per cent elbow extension when he delivers the doosra.
Sri Lanka are going into the five game ODI series minus Muttiah Muralitharan and without naming Chaminda Vaas in the squad. The omission of the left-arm swing bowler could spell finis to his international career.
“Of course we are disappointed the way the series worked out with so much rain about the three Tests,” said Sangakkara when reflecting on the drawn series. “I know we all hoped that the weather would at least have cleared and given us a chance as we had them under pressure in what time we were able to play in this Test.”
Sangakkara added that the squad for the limited overs series would give the selectors a final chance to look at what is available, with Rangana Herath has been given a chance to head the spin attack in the absence of Muralitharan and there is a chance for Suraj Randiv to reclaim his position in the side as well.
There are reports, however, of rain likely affecting the opening games of the series in Hambantota which starts on Thursday and the second game next Saturday. The long-term forecast is not promising until late in the month.