Tamil Diplomat

Thisara important to team balance – Mahela

Mahela Jayawardene has marked out allrounder Thisara Perera as a key man in Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign, labelling him a “match-winner” and a player that can bring balance to the XI.

Sri Lanka have struggled to penetrate with the ball on New Zealand’s truer, bouncier surfaces, and have also been light on batting power at the death. Thisara is capable of alleviating those concerns, but has recently been underwhelming in both major disciplines. He played all seven bilateral matches against New Zealand, and collected four wickets and had a high-score of 20.

Thisara’s form has subsided since his outings against Pakistan in August, when he was the player of the three-match ODI series. He had also been destructive with ball and bat in Australia, on past tours.

“Thisara is a vital part of our team, and he still hasn’t come right in New Zealand,” Jayawardenetold ESPNCricinfo. “If we can have Thisara batting well and bowling well, he’s a match-winner. He has proven that with the amount of man-of-the-match awards he’s won. Right now he’s trying to find that form.”

Thisara was not picked to play in Sri Lanka’s tournament opener against New Zealand, and Sri Lanka have sought to bolster the middle order by batting Dimuth Karunaratne at no. 5