Coach wants Malinga
Lasith Malinga in action for the Big Bash League's Melbourne Stars. Photo: Getty Images
SRI Lanka's bowling coach hasn't given up on luring Lasith Malinga back to the Test team, as he admits no one in the current attack has the firepower to blast out sides.
Champaka Ramanayake was encouraged by his bowlers' efforts in the first Test in Hobart, but conceded on Thursday the side lacked the strike bowler to pounce when Australia was vulnerable at 4-198 on the opening day.
''We haven't got firepower in the team, someone like Lasith to come and take quick wickets,'' he said. ''They are very inexperienced, but I hope that experience will come.''
Malinga provides the obvious spark given his pace, record and location, as he will be slinging the ball at the MCG on Friday night for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
Malinga's potential value was highlighted before the first Test through an astonishing haul of 6-7 for the Stars against the Perth Scorchers.
That performance prompted suggestions Sri Lanka would send an SOS to beef up its troupe of medium-fast bowlers, until captain Mahela Jayawardene said it would be unfair to call on Malinga, given the 29-year-old had not played a Test for two years because of knee troubles.
Ramanayake said although the tourists had not discussed urging Malinga to declare himself available for either the second or third Tests, the Test team could use him. ''We need him … I would like to see him back,'' he said.
''Maybe he might review his decision … he wanted to get fitter and stronger, maybe he could reconsider his decision. At the moment he's doing well in the short form of the game.
''I would like to see him back in the [Test] team, definitely, but it's his decision.''
Provided Malinga continues to consider himself a limited-overs bowler, Sri Lanka's best bowling weapon is spinner Rangana Herath. To complement him, Sri Lanka will invest time in pacemen Chanaka Welegedara, who took six wickets in Hobart in his first Test back from a shoulder injury, and Shaminda Eranga, who looms as the quickest of the group.
''I can see him bowling 140 km/h plus and as the time goes, he'll be a very good player who can take five wickets in most of the games,'' Ramanayake said.