Coach also keen to persist with top three of Nissanka, Perera and Chandimal
“For us to have two bowlers of genuine quality bowling at 145kph – that makes a massive difference,” Arthur said. “We know that any team doesn’t like facing them. They’re genuine wicket-takers. Their skills have got better and better over the last couple of months. We’re really happy having them attack for us.
“Dushmantha Chameera has gone to another level. He’s now genuinely world-class. To have those bowlers in our line-up gives us a good balance. Chamika [Karunaratne] brings a little bit of swing. And we’ve got our two spinners. It’s almost the ideal attack, if you like.”
They will be tested by an Ireland batting order that seems to be finding its feet, but if they bowl second in Wednesday’s match, they will also have to contend with the dew. Across both World Cup venues so far, sides bowling second have struggled to keep the ball dry. Sri Lanka bowled first against Namibia for this very reason. But they are prepared if the toss goes the other way against Ireland, Arthur said.
“We came out the night before the Namibia match and checked the amount of dew, and there was a fair amount. I don’t think it’s impossible to bowl if we have to bowl second. We’ve prepared that way – using wet balls, etc. We’ll be ready. Once the wicket cools down and gets a little bit of moisture on it, it just tends to come on a little bit nicer as well.”
Sri Lanka will stick with the same top three, according to Arthur. They did not fire against Namibia, with each of Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, and Pathum Nissanka all getting out cheaply. While Perera has produced some good T20 performances, Chandimal and Nissanka are not highly rated hitters – their gifts favouring the Test format. Arthur sees no reason to change, though, with Perera dropping back into the top three following his latest injury layoff.
“I’m pretty confident with Kusal Perera back at the top of the order now,” Arthur said. “He’s a world-class player, so to have him back there gives us a lot more solidity. I’m pretty sure he’s going to fire for us soon.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf