Sri Lanka Player Ratings (Pakistan Test Series 2013/2014)

Usually for Sri Lanka, drawing an away Test series against a team like Pakistan rarely feels so disappointing. Yet the way we played in the 3rd Test at Sharjah was as disheartening as it was confusing. However, it should not be forgotten that there were quite a few positives to take from the series, and some fantastic individual performances. All in all, I think the team acquitted themselves quite well, given how long it had been since we last played red-ball cricket. Here are my ratings out of 10:

Dimuth Karunaratne – 6

Innings: 6
Runs: 198
Average: 39.60
High score: 62*

Came into this series with an average of 25.18, but three matches on is still searching for his maiden Test ton, however apart from a couple of eye-catching fifties was unable to push on.  An average of 39.60 in the absence of a standout score shows that he was able to make starts without pushing on from that. Managed to showcase only a glimpse of his talent, but it is clear why the selectors are keen to stick with him.

Kaushal Silva – 7.5

Innings – 6
Runs – 307
Average – 51.16
High score – 95

Had to wait 2 years since his last Test (Centurion 2011) and acquitted himself very well as Tillakaratne Dilshan’s replacement at the top of the order by scoring the third-highest amount of runs in the series. Showed the technique that has allowed him to be prolific for SSC on the domestic circuit. Very strong off the front-foot. Showcased his ability in a brilliant 95 in Dubai and was unfortunate to not reach his century, not mention 81 in Abu Dhabi.  Took a blinder in the field off Mohammed Hafeez in the first Test.

Kumar Sangakkara – 6

Innings – 6
Runs – 166
Average – 33.20
High score – 55

Not the most prolific of series for Sanga, but was content to provide assistance and bat around those who were going well. Case in point being his 55 in Dubai where he formed important partnerships with Kaushal Silva and Dinesh Chandimal. Had a part in highlighting Sri Lanka’s lack of part-time bowlers when was called upon to bowl an over of hilariously bad off-spin in the 2nd Test.

Mahela Jayawardene: 7

Innings – 5
Runs – 227
Average – 45.40
High score – 129

Came into this series with only a couple of domestic matches under his belt and immediately looked rusty as he recorded scores of 5 and 0 in Abu Dhabi. Cue calls for his dropping from the side of course, but he once again shut his critics up with a sparkling 129 in the 2nd Test after requiring stitches in his right hand due to the webbing being split while fielding in the slips. Scores of 47 and 46 in the 3rd Test – the latter coming off 211 balls – make him the third highest SL run scorer.

Dinesh Chandimal: 5.5

Innings – 5
Runs – 125
Average – 25.00
High score – 89

Following a gutsy 64* in the last ODI, made an excellent start to the Test series with a fluent 89 that displayed all his strengths. Unfortunately his weaknesses in judgement and decision-making was prevalent in the rest of the series. Only managed scores of 12, 11 and 13 thereafter and although looked good in making those scores, his Test career to date was summed up in this series.

Angelo Mathews: 8

Innings – 5                                   
Runs – 412
Average – 103.00
High score – 157*
Bowling: 38 – 124 – 2 @ 62.00

Was in sparkling form with the bat. Showed admirable temperament under pressure down the order. His 412 runs included his maiden Test century which saved the 1st Test for Sri Lanka. Was out twice for 91 though, which makes that 4 times in his Test career that he has been dismissed in the 90s. His increasing form with the bat in Tests could change his role in the side from that of batting all-rounder to simply a batsman who bowls part-time medium pace. The burden of captaincy should further facilitate him bowling less, but also needs the selectors to select batsman with some bowling skills up the order.

Only bowled 38 largely non-threatening overs, but did enable the other pacemen to have a rest. His captaincy was reasonably assured for most of this series, but made a huge error in the 3rd Test by in deciding to play for the draw when Sri Lanka were in a position of dominance, they allowed Pakistan back into the game and to complete a win. This not only lost the match but lost the chance to secure a long-awaited away series win and cannot be taken lightly. His reluctance to admit this mistake afterwards does him no favours and drops his rating to an 8 when otherwise it would have been more. Voted ‘Player of the Series’ for both sides.

Prasanna Jayawardene: 8

Innings – 5
Runs – 161
Average – 40.25
High score – 63*
Dismissals – 18

With so many wicket-keepers in the side already and at 34 years old, Jayawardene’s place in the team will be under consideration. Yet once again proved himself to be a very calm and able lower order batsman with a sound technique, smart enough to bat with the tail as well. Build 4 partnerships with Angelo Mathews which averaged 78.25, including an unbeaten 156 wicket stand in the 1st Test.

Yet again proved himself to be one of the world’s best wicket-keepers with smart catches and an ever enthusiastic presence behind the stumps. His 18 dismissals (all caught behind) was more than Pakistan’s two wicket-keepers in this series put together (Safraz Ahmed and Adnan Akmal). In time he will be phased out of the side, but for now his place looks solid.

Rangana Herath: 7.5

Innings – 6
Wickets – 14
Average – 36.64
BBI – 125/5
BBM – 158/5

Joint-top wicket taker in the series with Junaid Khan. Comfortably out-bowled his rival Saeed Ajmal and stays 4th in the Test bowling rankings with Ajmal in at 5th. Rarely got as much turn as expected, but for the most part bowled accurately enough. His early strikes in Dubai were essential to the win. However, a negative line in the fourth innings of the 3rd Test contributed to the loss as it became apparent from very early on that the Pakistani batsmen weren’t troubled in the slightest nor was the run-rate impacted in any way. Still remains Sri Lanka’s biggest spin threat, but with the tour to Bangladesh coming up it could be a good time to try out a younger prospect.

Shaminda Eranga: 8

Innings – 6
Wickets – 12
Average – 28.75
BBI – 60/4
BBM – 128/5

Continued to establish himself as Sri Lanka’s main fast bowler. Found a consistent line and length which, with the ability to occasionally bring the ball back sharply into right-handers. The enforced rest period that had been prescribed him seems to have brought back a little extra pace. Bowled well in tandem with Suranga Lakmal and Pradeep (Dubai).

Suranga Lakmal: 6.5

Innings – 6
Wickets – 12
Average – 33.75
BBI – 78/4
BBM – 123/6

Had an average of 65.75 before this series and improved it by 12.00 through these three Test. In his previous outings, showed an ability to put the ball in good areas but could not put two or three good overs in a row. Showed improved consistency in this series but still plenty of room for improvement.

Nuwan Pradeep: 7 (1 Test)

Innings – 2
Wickets – 5
Average – 22.40
BBI – 62/3
BBM – 112/5

Averaged 157.66 in his previous 4 Tests but thanks to an impressive showing in the 2nd Test whittled it down to 73.12. His injury problems might have taken a few kphs off, but still was brisk enough to trouble the Pakistani batsman. The addition of a consistent line and length was the most pleasantly surprising aspect of his return to the senior side. His 5 wickets were essential in restricting Pakistan and facilitating the win for Sri Lanka. Still very raw and question remain about his fitness and ability to tie down an end, but the tour to Bangladesh should provide more of a clue as to whether he has a future in the side.

Dilruwan Perera: 4.5 (1 Test)

Innings – 1
Wickets – 1
Average – 71
BBI/BBM – 71/1

With  no part-time spinners, Perera was brought into the side to provide assistance for Rangana Herath on a supposedly turning wicket. Batted beautifully for his 95, but 17 overs was all Angelo Mathews needed to make his mind up on his bowling. His 17 overs went for 71 runs and only 1 wicket as Pakistan (Azhar Ali apart) were untroubled by his spin on what turned out to be a lifeless wicket – as shown by an economy rate of 4.17. At 31, is only a stop-gap in terms of the side’s spin options but if he plays Test cricket in Bangladesh it will only be on the basis of his batting in the first innings at Sharjah and not his bowling.

Sacithra Senanayake: 4 (1 Test)

Innings – 2
Wickets – 0
Average – n/a
BBI – 66/0
BBM – 96/0

Probably the best spinner on the Sri Lankan First-Class circuit (average of 20.17) continues to struggle to make in international cricket. Only bowled 23 overs in the Abu Dhabi Test for no reward. On a pitch where even Saeed Ajmal struggled, Senanayake could not find the spin and bounce to cause the Pakistani batsmen any trouble and was calmly dealt with. Will probably be given another Test opportunity to improve upon his debut.

Sri Lanka’s Player of the Series: Angelo Mathews

Scores of 91, 157*, 42, 91, 31 showcased Mathews’ talents as a Test batsman. But poor tactics in the 3rd innings will put an unsightly blemish on his achievements.

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