Sri Lanka go into the Champions Trophy as underdogs and rightly so after a tumultuous few months which saw them lose 5-0 in an ODI series to South Africa. And things don’t seem to be on the rise and as recently as this week, they succumbed to an embarrassing loss to Scotland and had to endure the shame of seeing Bangladesh move past them in the ICC ODI rankings table.
It is fair to say that Sri Lanka have never fully recovered from the loss of their three colossal batting talents - Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Their batting now looks haphazard, exposed and vulnerable to even the slightest of threats while their bowling was clubbed around by Kyle Coetzer and Matt Cross, the two Scottish openers who put on a scintillating 201 stand.
But then, cricket is a funny game and one day you could be playing like Kenya and the next day like Australia. Sri Lanka has a pretty young squad and there is talent in their 15 to retain hopes of a semi-final berth although they are clubbed in with India, South Africa and Pakistan.
Here we take a look at why Sri Lanka can still be optimistic about their chances in the Champions Trophy.
#5 The good batting tracks on offer
Sri Lanka might just be aided by the conditions in England, which have seen high scoring games become a common affair. They do not have the most solid of batting line-ups but there is enough talent in there to rack up scores near 300 if conditions assist. The pair of Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga upfront offer promise with dynamism while the middle order is aided by the return of Angelo Matthews.
Chandimal and Kapugedara also reek of experience and Sri Lanka may not really be concerned if the pitches offer bountiful runs. Their bowling may not be the best but Lasith Malinga has shown signs of returning to form in the IPL while Lakmal has been steadily improving which might just be enough to keep them in the game.