But even for a bowler of Dananjaya’s talent to be successful Sri Lanka must make sure they put a decent total on the board for the bowlers to challenge the opposition.
The absence of such totals will only make Dananjaya’s bowling ineffective as he will be bowling largely to run saving fields rather than attacking ones that would bring him a bag of wickets and put his team on the victory trail.
England had faced Dananjaya only once before the start of the ODI series in a T20I at Pallekele six years ago when he took two wickets for 2 wickets for 26 runs and subjected them to a 19-run defeat.
In the rain-truncated first ODI at Dambulla on Wednesday, Dananjaya conceded 30 runs in his five overs for the wicket of Jason Roy.
England knowing Dananjaya’s capabilities will surely target him and try to see him out of the attack by going after his bowling as did Jonny Bairstow who hit him for a six and a four.
“Mental strength is really important for a spinner. When a batsman hits a boundary, you’ve got to work out if he’s hit a bad ball, or whether he’s hit a good ball. If you’ve just bowled a bad ball, there’s no need to change the plan. Working that out makes it much easier to have a good strategy,” said Dananjaya.
With modern day batsmen employing the sweep and reverse sweep consistently against spinners Dananjaya’s reply to that was: “I don’t try anything too fancy in the match, I try to stay within my game and execute the same sorts of things that I do at training. Sometimes I do get a feeling about how a batsman is going to play me, and I then will maybe change my approach and try something different. I’ll just try a slightly different tack to put pressure on the batsman.”
Dananjaya said that if Sri Lanka can keep England down to about 275 or less they would have done well as a bowling unit. He however sidestepped the question when asked why Sri Lanka played only five specialist batsmen in the first ODI by saying: “That’s a question for the selectors and coach.”
Sri Lanka who’s batting has been rather wonky in ODIs need to strengthen their batting instead of sticking to five specialist batsmen and two all-rounders as they did for the first ODI if they are to compete with a strong England one-day unit that is oozing with confidence having defeated India 2-1 in the ODI series played in England.
The way England got about the Lankan bowling in the first 15 overs of the rain affected first ODI scoring at slightly over six runs an over gave a hint of what they are capable of. Their batting runs very deep to no. 9 where their third spinner Liam Dawson has opened the batting for Hampshire in recent times in red ball cricket.
The past two days have been bright and sunny with not a drop of rain and it is hoped that it will remain that way for today as well for the day game where being a Saturday a good turnout can be expected.