By Amindha de Alwis
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella said the absence of fast-bowler Jofra Archer and talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, along with three further players from the English side, could tip the scales in Sri Lanka’s favour in the upcoming Test series between the two sides which is scheduled to kick-off on Thursday in Galle.
Archer and Stokes have both been rested for the two-match tour of Sri Lanka while Ollie Pope and Rory Burns were left out of the squad due to the former still recuperating from a shoulder injury (though still travelling with the team) and the latter being granted paternity leave. England suffered a further blow when Moeen Ali tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka, making it likely that the all-rounder will miss at least the first Test.
“I think it is going to be a tough series but compared to the last series in 2018, I think we have a better chance this time with no Archer, no Ben Stokes and a few other good players. But we will not take it easy and we will play our normal game as we usually do in Galle and see how it goes,” Dickwella stated.
27-year-old Dickwella who has made 15 Test match half-centuries yet remains without a three-figure score remarked that it was something that he hoped to get off his back very soon.
“I have high hopes that I can obtain my first Test century. In my opinion, getting 15 fifties is not an easy thing. So, in that sense, not being able to convert any of those into a hundred is in some ways an embarrassment and I too contemplate on when I would be able to reach that first century. However, when playing, it is not the hundred that I focus on but how I face up to the next ball. If I do right things while batting out in the middle, I believe that I will be able to make that maiden century,” he expressed.
Speaking further on the difficulty he has encountered in translating good starts into big scores, Dickwella stressed that it was mostly failures in execution that were responsible for some of his dismissals rather than his choice of stroke-play.
“I think that my problem is in the execution of my shots since I score the runs I do with the same shots but also get dismissed to the very same shots. Many people have spoken to me about this and as a result I have been giving some thought to how I should go through the gears in an innings and when to press the accelerator and when to hold back. Also, I have been working with our batting coaches on identifying the right bowlers to attack at the right stages of an innings. It is something I have been spending time on and I think I would be able to put up a big score in the near future,” Dickwella said.