Sri Lanka went down by 31 runs in the second ODI against England in a rain-curtailed encounter at Dambulla. After restricting the opponents to a fighting total of 278, the Lankans could never get going and were struggling at 74 for 5 before Thisara Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva steadied the ship with a 66-run partnership.
However, rain played spoilsport for the second time in the series and the Lankan side were found 31 runs short of the DLS target before the match was called off 29 overs into their innings.
The loss, coming after a disastrous Asia Cup outing where the side were knocked out in the first round itself, throws open a plethora of questions for the Dinesh Chandimal-led side before the World Cup next year. Having won only 10 out of 43 games since 2017, Sri Lanka Cricket is possibly at their worst phase and urgent steps need to be taken in order to stall their downfall. The five-time Asian champions had suffered successive defeats in the tournament last month to Afghanistan and Bangladesh and have been unable to perform as a unit in the recent past, which spells doom ahead of the quadrennial event in England.
Ever since the retirement of their senior players Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka have been struggling to find skilful youngsters who can hold the innings together and play crucial roles with either bat or ball. Since the 2015 World Cup, 25 players have made their debut for the national team in ODIs but only four have played more than 20 ODIs in the interim. This only suggests how the team is constantly chopping and changing their side, which hinders the morale of a young player tremendously.
The other aspect that is a worry is the performance of their senior pros. Players like Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, and Niroshan Dickwella have been inconsistent and they have failed to perform consistently and guide the youngsters along with them. Mathews was stripped of the captaincy after an indifferent Asia Cup and has been dropped from the England series as well, which increases the misery even further.
With domestic displays holding little significance in the selection of a cricketer into the national side in Sri Lanka, cricket in the Emerald Isle is reeling. Corruption and political influences in the administration have increased the issues further, and stern steps need to be taken at the earliest to bring back the nation to its glory again.