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A few takeaways from cricket played in recent weeks

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Roar Guru
6th May, 2021
10

Praveen Jayawickrama – ever heard of him?

Neither had I, until he debuted in the second Test for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh.

The first Test was a run-fest. Both sides topped 540 in their respective first innings and the bowlers could only take 17 wickets for the match.

The second Test belonged to Jayawickrama, who took five wickets in the first innings for Sri Lanka and six in the second – on debut.

He looks like a really innocuous left-hand finger spinner, but has good control, got plenty of bounce, enough turn to beat the bat and some very good deception.

It’s tough to know whether he’s a good ‘un or simply had one of those games. Right now though, he looks like he could cause problems for Australian batsmen when we tour next year.

Ashton Agar should also be watching this guy too. There’s no reason why Agar shouldn’t figure in Australia’s Test plans on this type of surface.

Praveen Jayawickrama of Sri Lanka

Praveen Jayawickrama of Sri Lanka bowls. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Win the toss and bat in Sri Lanka – granted both Tests in this series were played in Kandy, but the team who batted first got a huge advantage. In the first game, Bangladesh batted first and Sri Lanka bowled 173 overs to dismiss seven batsmen.

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In the second game, Sri Lanka batted first and Bangladesh got through 159 overs. By Day 4, there was plenty for the spinners and 19 wickets were lost in the last two days.

Justin Langer, take note.

Sri Lanka will not be pushovers at their place – three batsmen made hundreds and Dimuth Karunaratne made 244 against Bangladesh. They also batted with patience, something Australia will need to do when they tour.

Back home in Darwin, NT Cricket will be staging a programme titled Cricket 365, running from mid-June through August. Kurtis Patterson and Chris Tremain are heading north, as are another 30 players from all states.

This should be an event to keep an eye on. Right now, Australia has few opportunities to play any cricket between now and the World Cup and Ashes. The tournaments in Darwin could be a chance for guys to get some much-needed practice.

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England has a one-man selection panel – the England Cricket Board (ECB) decided it no longer needed a national selector so Ed Smith is gone. They’ve now decided Chris Silverwood, the England coach, is now sole selector.

He’ll select teams in conjunction with the captains of the red and white-ball teams and according to the ECB website, “Supporting this system will be a resource that will provide intelligence from performance analysis, talent ID, scouting, medical and sports science with further input from the England Men’s Performance Director, Mo Bobat and James Taylor, who will see his job title change from England Selector to Head Scout. Coaches aligned to the men’s international teams will all feed into this process.”

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I’ve no idea what a “resource that will provide intelligence from performance analysis” looks like, nor do I understand the advantages of this new system, other than making one person accountable for all selections.

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Is this the way Australia should go? I’m not sold.

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