And if, as I expect, the side wins those matches then they will have some momentum and confidence going in to the next big game for them, against England
in Wellington on 1 March.
The bowling against New Zealand, apart from Rangana Herath
, looked weak and there for the taking but there is no point in getting too down about that as it is not as if extra players can be called up. The team has to make do with the resources at their disposal.
And although Lasith Malinga
’s figures look like a horror show with 0-84 from his 10 overs, he will have benefited from the outing.
We have to be realistic about him, after all. He is coming into the tournament off the back of no cricket since his ankle surgery last September and it will take time for him to get back to his best. And the chance to get more overs under his belt against Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be good news for him and for Sri Lanka.
I am certainly not massively depressed about what has happened in Christchurch against the co-hosts. Yes, it was a loss and a bad one too and I never like to see the side lose, but there is enough experience within the playing group to try and put things right and, thinking positively, they will all know they cannot play as badly again.
In fact, if you consider the start New Zealand made, blitzing 77 in the first 10 overs led by Brendon McCullum
, you can say Sri Lanka did well to keep the home side’s final score to 331 when a score well in excess of 350 looked very much on the cards.
Herath bowled beautifully amid the carnage, and that was outstanding considering the Hagley Oval is not a large ground, Lahiru Thirimanne
shaped up well at the top of the order and Angelo Mathews
looked in excellent touch only to find himself stranded with the tail in a hopeless situation after a middle order collapse.