Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup final, Mirpur March 8, 2014

Thirimanne century could prove career-defining

Karthik Krishnaswamy in Mirpur
Sri Lanka's selectors have persisted with Lahiru Thirimanne, and in his 62nd ODI, he underlined his top-order potential again, under the pressure of a chase in a final
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When he looks back on his match-winning 101 in the Asia Cup final, the highlights reel in Lahiru Thirimanne's head is unlikely to include the single that took him to 39. The shot Thirimanne played, moreover, was that banal middle-overs staple: the push, with the spin, for a single. That particular single, though, was significant. It nudged Thirimanne's batting average from 29.9761904761905 to 30.

An ODI average of 30 isn't a massive deal, you might think, but it's probably the equivalent of a Test average of 40. In most cases, the difference between averaging 29 and 30 in ODIs - and between 39 and 40 in Tests - is usually the difference between feeling like you still need to prove yourself and feeling secure about your place in the side.

It's slightly different for Sri Lankans, though. Throughout their history as a cricket team, their batsmen have been slow starters in ODIs. It took Sanath Jayasuriya till his 235th match for his average to stabilise itself above 30 - that is, for it to never dip below that mark again.

It took 102 matches for Kumar Sangakkara, 149 for Mahela Jayawardene, 111 for Aravinda de Silva, 155 for Tillakaratne Dilshan and 86 for Arjuna Ranatunga. The quickest of Sri Lanka's top seven ODI run-getters to achieve a stable 30-plus average was Marvan Atapattu, who got there in his 23rd match. He, of course, began his Test career with five ducks in his first six innings.

Sri Lanka's selectors have always given their talented batsmen a long run in the side, believing they have the game and the temperament to eventually come good. Time and again, they've been proved right. Sri Lanka's current set of selectors, chaired by Jayasuriya, have given Thirimanne that sort of run in the side. The Asia Cup final was his 62nd ODI. It was the perfect stage to play what could prove a career-defining innings.

Two things worked in Thirimanne's favour during the first half of his innings. Early on, Pakistan's attentions were mostly fixed on Kusal Perera, who was worrying them no end with his Jayasuriya-esque flicks and jabs, powered by an iron bottom-hand grip. This took some pressure off Thirimanne, and allowed him to remain inconspicuous and play at his own pace.

Saeed Ajmal then came on, bowled a maiden to Kusal, and struck twice in his second over to dismiss Kusal and Sangakkara. His next over, to Mahela Jayawardene, was another maiden. When Misbah-ul-Haq took Ajmal out of the attack, he had bowled four overs, out of which Thirimanne had only faced two balls. The first of those had squirted off his inside-edge for four. Even during the opening game of the tournament, in which Thirimanne had scored a century, Ajmal had been the only Pakistan bowler to trouble him.

None of this, of course, is to knock Thirimanne's achievement. Sri Lanka were under tremendous pressure when they lost their second wicket. They still needed more than 200 to win, and their momentum had stalled to a considerable extent.

Thirimanne began the process of regaining Sri Lanka's momentum in Mohammad Talha's first over. Talha started with a deep backward square leg and a square-ish fine leg. Third ball of the over, Thirimanne bisected them with his pull. Two balls later, when Talha drifted too straight, he sent fine leg running the other way, once again in vain, with a deft flick off his hips.

Those two shots showcased Thirimanne's timing and placement as well as his ability to keep his head about him under pressure and look for scoring opportunities. He has shown those qualities right through the Asia Cup, and given credence to the comparisons that are often drawn between him and Sangakkara. It helps that they share a tall stance and a cover drive on one knee with a full flourish.

All three of Thirimanne's ODI hundreds have come when he's batted in the top three; in those positions, he averages 49.08 in 14 innings. At No. 4 or lower, he averages 22.80 in 33 innings. Like Sangakkara, whose blossoming coincided with a move up the order - he had spent a lot of the early part of his career at No. 6 or 7 - Thirimanne will probably bat up the order in the long term

In this innings, on a slow pitch and against a group of fast bowlers who didn't pitch it up all that often, Thirimanne didn't get to play the cover drive that much. Instead, he exploited the V behind the wicket, and picked up a couple of boundaries with open-faced steers past the wicketkeeper that brought Ranatunga to mind.

After he had moved into the 70s, Thirimanne picked up a cheeky boundary off Umar Gul with one of these late dabs. Next ball, he blocked solidly, back to the bowler. Gul raised his arm, as bowlers often do, as if to throw the ball at the stumps. Thirimanne said something. Gul, moving closer to the batsman, responded with an observation of his own. Thirimanne, like Ranatunga and Sangakkara, didn't seem to mind a bit of chat.

None of this affected Thirimanne's batting. He flowed on, smoothly, content to stay within the confines imposed by the pitch and the lengths Pakistan bowled. It took until he had moved to 81 for someone to give him a wide half-volley, and he pounced on it gleefully.

The next 15 runs took a while coming, as Jayawardene took centre-stage for a while before he and Ashan Priyanjan fell in quick succession. Thirimanne didn't have too much of the strike in all that while. He had been on 85 off 85 balls at the end of the 33rd over. At the start of the 44th, he was on 99 off 105. When he finally flicked Junaid Khan to reach 100, he leaped and punched the air twice, once with helmet on, once with helmet off.

Thirimanne's century was his third in ODIs. All three of them have come when he's batted in the top three; in those positions, he averages 49.08 in 14 innings. At No. 4 or lower, he averages 22.80 in 33 innings.

Like Sangakkara, whose blossoming coincided with a move up the order - he had spent a lot of the early part of his career at No. 6 or 7 - Thirimanne will probably bat up the order in the long term. In the short term, though, with Dilshan set to return from injury, he gives Sri Lanka a bit of a headache. It isn't one they'll mind too much.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Independent_fan on | March 10, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    It is good to see Sri Lanka found perfectly balanced team with mixture of experienced and young players. The future doesn't seem bad at all when the three seniors retired. Kusal and Lahiru as openers showed Sri Lanka can rely on them when Dilshan goes off. Congratulations for both for their great contribution

    As Kepili_Buster pointed out most cricket fans have concerns over non-inclusion of Upul Tharanga in any of the format. He is one of the most talented and stylish batsman who made great contribution to the country. Santh and him had lots of partnerships and some were record-breaking. I strongly believe Thranga should be in the ODI scod (perhaps test as well) which will be reinforcement to the batting lineup.

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | March 10, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    If SL is seriously thinking of next WC, then they should follow the 12's Lorgat Review. Among the Main Recommendations of this review was the suggestion that TEAM SELECTION should be FREE of POLITICAL INFLUENCE. Unfortunately, the SLC board has failed to remove the Sports Minister from the SLECTION PROCESS, as SLC have stated, that they would attempt to do (according to the news items). Incongruous Inclusion of certain players (nowhere near the mark) at the expense of established valuable young players, that any other country would love to have, must be a direct result of this political MENACE! Persisting with undeserved school-tie buddies at wrong places (as in most political matters) would dearly cost SL Cricket in the long run! ICC should pass a resolution to prevent this kind of political involvements, for the sake of the game of CRICKET!

  • POSTED BY on | March 10, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    During the tournament Mathews posted a batting average of 196 the top batter for the tournament.He also have ODI average of over 37 batting at no 6 and 30% of the time he is not out in his entire carrier. A case to push him up the batting order. May be no 4 on the long term when the big 3 retire or even no 3 as he also has a average pf over 46 in tests with over 19% not outs.

  • POSTED BY CUPULW on | March 10, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    SL post the big 3 will need some double-acts. Dilshan is a handy bowler in all forms, while Sanga is a capable keeper. Mahela used to bowl seam up in the early days. with Kusal Lahiru and Chandimal being mentioned as the next generation, they need to improve on all-round abilities. Chandimal is not a good keeper yet. Kusal is a club keeper but is a very good out fielder. Lahiru needs to work on his bowling. When Sanath retired, he left a big gap as a genuine bowler, which tilted the balance of the ODI team ( now many are still being tried to fill that gap - Jeevan M, Sachitra S, Ashan P Chathuranga S, Dilruwan P.....) a genuine wicket taking bowler in the top 5 is a must to be competitive and have a balanced team with both batting and bowling options. given the health of Mathews ( he is our shane watson), cannot always guarantee him bowling and he is important as a batter and skipper.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    @sidh78, Please don't speak bad about this team because they win and you guys don't, Last time Australia-Sri Lanka-India played a triseries in Australia (known for its fast bouncy pitches) Sri Lanka and Australia made it to the best of 3 finals which were very evenly and excitingly contested, India failed to make it through, Sri Lanka made it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in England, beating the hosts themselves who are very strong in their own turf and beating Australia as well.India lost the ODI series in the seaming wickets of New Zealand recently, against New Zealand, who recently were the no. 9 ranked ODI side in the world. When India beats Australia on extremely flat pitches the whole world is expected to stop and stare, but when Sri Lanka win in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh where High scores are not always a certainty, they are flat track bullies? A bit of an inconsistency there,. Look, India is a very very good side but don't dull the shine of another team.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 9, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    @rakon_me, Out of those 14 matches, SL won 5 matches. Ok then did you check the score cards of those matches... In those 5 matches there are at least 3 or 4 batsmen scored for SL. That is what exactly I said. If you check the scorecards of the Matches won by IND you can clearly see that most of those matches won by either Virat or MSD. That's is what I clearly mentioned in my previous comment. There is no team work in a match won by an particular player....That is exactly what happen to IND and because of that reason team is struggling to find that match winning tempo in the resent past....

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | March 9, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    As pointed out in many of my postings since last year, Thirimanne is a naturally talented opening batsman with perfect technique to give a solid start & establish an inning (with a perfect strike rate in ODIs) as well as the ability to stay long in Tests. But, unfortunately he was denied this chance until now & floated all-over down the order, preferring a "privileged" lucky-go-happy SLOGGER to fill the opening slot created by SLC (unjustly axing another established opener Tharanga). Upul Tharanga's feat of reaching 5000 in 157 iings is the 2nd fastest by a SL player in ODIs (Athapattu took 152 innings to achieve that). He is the ninth SL player (64th overall) to complete 5,000 runs or more in ODIs - 5153 (13x100 + 28x50) at an Av. of 34.81 in 164 ODI. Just 29yrs! When Dilshan retires, he is the best SL opener to carry forward to the future with Thirimanne! Chandimal is another talented front-order batsmen who needs a correct spot to bat, but never got! What a waste of talent SLC.???

  • POSTED BY Jury on | March 9, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    @Shehan_W - come on man! How do you compare Dinesh Chandimal Vs Ashan Priyanjan? Chandimal has played 80 ODI & Priyanjana has only played 7 matches. Both players are important. But everybody should get equal chances No one should be permanent member of the side specially when they not perform well.

  • POSTED BY sidh78 on | March 9, 2014, 17:47 GMT

    Noticed one thing how the nature of the tracks(pitchs) change the quality of team.SL wins on super flat roads of bangaladesh.but same SL team thrashed by india in CT & tri series in ENG & WI on fast seaming bouncy tracks & SL not win a single series OUt side SL since 2000.really cricket is funny game.

  • POSTED BY huffpost on | March 9, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @chanaka...I have to disagree with you mate... Batting average and strike rate of batsmen is directly proportional to the teams success..take for example...thirimanne against India.. He has played 14 ODIs against India and SL just won 5 out of them and lost 9..In all the lost matches, his average and strike rate is very low...India have dominated SL in recent years because all their batsmen have better averages and strike rates...

  • POSTED BY Independent_fan on | March 10, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    It is good to see Sri Lanka found perfectly balanced team with mixture of experienced and young players. The future doesn't seem bad at all when the three seniors retired. Kusal and Lahiru as openers showed Sri Lanka can rely on them when Dilshan goes off. Congratulations for both for their great contribution

    As Kepili_Buster pointed out most cricket fans have concerns over non-inclusion of Upul Tharanga in any of the format. He is one of the most talented and stylish batsman who made great contribution to the country. Santh and him had lots of partnerships and some were record-breaking. I strongly believe Thranga should be in the ODI scod (perhaps test as well) which will be reinforcement to the batting lineup.

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | March 10, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    If SL is seriously thinking of next WC, then they should follow the 12's Lorgat Review. Among the Main Recommendations of this review was the suggestion that TEAM SELECTION should be FREE of POLITICAL INFLUENCE. Unfortunately, the SLC board has failed to remove the Sports Minister from the SLECTION PROCESS, as SLC have stated, that they would attempt to do (according to the news items). Incongruous Inclusion of certain players (nowhere near the mark) at the expense of established valuable young players, that any other country would love to have, must be a direct result of this political MENACE! Persisting with undeserved school-tie buddies at wrong places (as in most political matters) would dearly cost SL Cricket in the long run! ICC should pass a resolution to prevent this kind of political involvements, for the sake of the game of CRICKET!

  • POSTED BY on | March 10, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    During the tournament Mathews posted a batting average of 196 the top batter for the tournament.He also have ODI average of over 37 batting at no 6 and 30% of the time he is not out in his entire carrier. A case to push him up the batting order. May be no 4 on the long term when the big 3 retire or even no 3 as he also has a average pf over 46 in tests with over 19% not outs.

  • POSTED BY CUPULW on | March 10, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    SL post the big 3 will need some double-acts. Dilshan is a handy bowler in all forms, while Sanga is a capable keeper. Mahela used to bowl seam up in the early days. with Kusal Lahiru and Chandimal being mentioned as the next generation, they need to improve on all-round abilities. Chandimal is not a good keeper yet. Kusal is a club keeper but is a very good out fielder. Lahiru needs to work on his bowling. When Sanath retired, he left a big gap as a genuine bowler, which tilted the balance of the ODI team ( now many are still being tried to fill that gap - Jeevan M, Sachitra S, Ashan P Chathuranga S, Dilruwan P.....) a genuine wicket taking bowler in the top 5 is a must to be competitive and have a balanced team with both batting and bowling options. given the health of Mathews ( he is our shane watson), cannot always guarantee him bowling and he is important as a batter and skipper.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    @sidh78, Please don't speak bad about this team because they win and you guys don't, Last time Australia-Sri Lanka-India played a triseries in Australia (known for its fast bouncy pitches) Sri Lanka and Australia made it to the best of 3 finals which were very evenly and excitingly contested, India failed to make it through, Sri Lanka made it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in England, beating the hosts themselves who are very strong in their own turf and beating Australia as well.India lost the ODI series in the seaming wickets of New Zealand recently, against New Zealand, who recently were the no. 9 ranked ODI side in the world. When India beats Australia on extremely flat pitches the whole world is expected to stop and stare, but when Sri Lanka win in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh where High scores are not always a certainty, they are flat track bullies? A bit of an inconsistency there,. Look, India is a very very good side but don't dull the shine of another team.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 9, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    @rakon_me, Out of those 14 matches, SL won 5 matches. Ok then did you check the score cards of those matches... In those 5 matches there are at least 3 or 4 batsmen scored for SL. That is what exactly I said. If you check the scorecards of the Matches won by IND you can clearly see that most of those matches won by either Virat or MSD. That's is what I clearly mentioned in my previous comment. There is no team work in a match won by an particular player....That is exactly what happen to IND and because of that reason team is struggling to find that match winning tempo in the resent past....

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | March 9, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    As pointed out in many of my postings since last year, Thirimanne is a naturally talented opening batsman with perfect technique to give a solid start & establish an inning (with a perfect strike rate in ODIs) as well as the ability to stay long in Tests. But, unfortunately he was denied this chance until now & floated all-over down the order, preferring a "privileged" lucky-go-happy SLOGGER to fill the opening slot created by SLC (unjustly axing another established opener Tharanga). Upul Tharanga's feat of reaching 5000 in 157 iings is the 2nd fastest by a SL player in ODIs (Athapattu took 152 innings to achieve that). He is the ninth SL player (64th overall) to complete 5,000 runs or more in ODIs - 5153 (13x100 + 28x50) at an Av. of 34.81 in 164 ODI. Just 29yrs! When Dilshan retires, he is the best SL opener to carry forward to the future with Thirimanne! Chandimal is another talented front-order batsmen who needs a correct spot to bat, but never got! What a waste of talent SLC.???

  • POSTED BY Jury on | March 9, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    @Shehan_W - come on man! How do you compare Dinesh Chandimal Vs Ashan Priyanjan? Chandimal has played 80 ODI & Priyanjana has only played 7 matches. Both players are important. But everybody should get equal chances No one should be permanent member of the side specially when they not perform well.

  • POSTED BY sidh78 on | March 9, 2014, 17:47 GMT

    Noticed one thing how the nature of the tracks(pitchs) change the quality of team.SL wins on super flat roads of bangaladesh.but same SL team thrashed by india in CT & tri series in ENG & WI on fast seaming bouncy tracks & SL not win a single series OUt side SL since 2000.really cricket is funny game.

  • POSTED BY huffpost on | March 9, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @chanaka...I have to disagree with you mate... Batting average and strike rate of batsmen is directly proportional to the teams success..take for example...thirimanne against India.. He has played 14 ODIs against India and SL just won 5 out of them and lost 9..In all the lost matches, his average and strike rate is very low...India have dominated SL in recent years because all their batsmen have better averages and strike rates...

  • POSTED BY pitch_curator on | March 9, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    @ Gunston - Pretty rich talk coming from a team which has never won a single test match in India in its cricket history.In ODI you are talking about a team which THUMPED your team in WC as well as in Champions trophy and went on to win the tournaments. Just one tournament win and you are giving sermons?? You persist with below average players because they are the best you have got based on your mediocre domestic and first class structure. Hard to digest but that is a fact. Dont make a virtue out of a necessity. lol.

  • POSTED BY priceless1 on | March 9, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    He is definitely not the next Sanga for SL , he doesn't have the wide rage of shots that Sanga has , but he could be the "wall" of the team like "Gura" used to be for the SL team back in 90's

  • POSTED BY pradeep_dealwis on | March 9, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    Two things should be pointed out with respect to the low averages of Sri Lankan batsman in ODIs. Traditionally in SL teams, no matter how talented the youngster, the seniors would bat in the top order and all the new blokes would have to bat at No. 5-7, where it's not easy to maintain a good average coming in at the slog overs. No one except Mathews has managed to do that. Secondly, the slow sluggish nature of SL pitches makes run scoring difficult in the short formats. Also boundaries are much longer than most other countries, except Aus. So boundaries are not easy. There are no easy runs in SL.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    He really does look good to be the next Sanga and has a cool head. But he still should not be in the T20 side. Only ODIs and Tests.

  • POSTED BY Gunston on | March 9, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    Average 30 is more than enough for a team playing as a team...SL plays as one unit...a team. NZ plays as one unit...a team. There are no super stars, yet they produce results. In the 1990s there was a super star called Sachin who used to carry the bat for India, and if we got him out, that was India out. The same trend is continuing with India as we saw in the NZ series...this time it is a two man team with a bunch of over hyped passengers.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 9, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    Batting Average matters when it comes to one match winner in a team. Have a look at MSD and Virat Kholi. Both of them are match winners and specially match finishers. In this case their average placed between 40-50. That because teams like IND, SA are depend on one or two batsmen and for SL the difference is they are playing as a team, as a unit. So basically in most occasions at least three or four batsmen playing match winning knocks. Best example yesterday's Asia cup final. Overall it's a team effort and Kusal, Thirimanne, and Jayawardhane were all played their part as batsmen.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 9, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Batting Average matters when it comes to one match winner in a team. Have a look at MSD and Virat Kholi. Both of them are match winners and specially match finishers. In this case their average placed between 40-50. That because teams like IND, SA are depend on one or two batsmen and for SL the difference is they are playing as a team, as a unit. So basically in most occasions at least three or four batsmen playing match winning knocks. Best example yesterday's Asia cup final. Overall it's a team effort and Kusal, Thirimanne, and Jayawardhane were all played their part as batsmen.

  • POSTED BY Dysan25 on | March 9, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    SL Bowlers have kept the Batsmen's role at par in the team .. the batsmen don't need to average 50 or even 40 for that matter and still manage to win .. says a lot about effectively playing your role in the team ..

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Average of 30 is nothing to write home about if you are a specialist batsmen. The very best ODI batsmen such as Amla, De Villiers, Dhoni, all average around 50! Now thats truly impressive. If Thirimanne wants be a good bastman he has to average atleast around 40. So still has a long way to go.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    I always thought that probably Chandimal is a better and elegant player among the new generation of young players but I think Lahiru is the best among them.

  • POSTED BY Dr.Lakson on | March 9, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Good observation. Would like a comparison with few other international cricketers. Definitely SL needs to identify talent early and stick with them as SL does not have a large gene pool like India. It has worked for SL as it was evident from the success in 96 WC. One reason to have poor batting averages would be that they play for the team and assurance that the place in the team would not depend on the average which is not the case with most other teams.

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | March 9, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    I think the author is jumping the gun a little bit here.... Thirimanne has talent yes, but all this is very premature. His only 3 List A centuries have come from international games, meaning he has not made a List A century in the domestic scene. His strike rate is also extremely low at 70 (even his domestic record is around 70 too). Still, if he improves his strike rate, he could be a great find. When it comes to averages and strike rates, the batting stats alone do not count for Sri Lanka. Even though Sri Lanka is one of the top notch ODI teams around, for the strangest reason none of their great batsman have good records. I believe the highest ODI batting average goes to Sangakkara and even he is at a 39 (which is subpar for any other team). Yet, Sangakkara is one of the best batsman out there today. Somebody needs to find out why this anomaly exists only for Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY caldruid on | March 9, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    TheRisingTeam is spot on. Batsmen like Thirimanne and Chandimal burst onto the scene 4 years ago. Both have played 60-80 matches and yet their avg is 31-32. From SL's point of view, they can give them more games ( not sure what their talent pipeline is like ). However, once the WC2015 is over, this will the order of retirements Dilshan->Mahela->Sangakkara. So SL need to find three other quality players fast to replace these three.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    His stance is stolid and exquisite and exudes the confidence of a mature head.

  • POSTED BY vallavarayar on | March 9, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    He has the makings of a Sangakkara.

  • POSTED BY TheRisingTeam on | March 8, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    In ODIs its not just the average that you want to be looking for but also the strike rate of batsman or a combination of both. Any batsman that averages below 30 is simply mediocre stuff. The very good batsman in ODIs should be aiming 35 or more with an 80+ strike rate.

  • POSTED BY evenflow_1990 on | March 8, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    very nice observation of sri lankan batsmens generally slow start to their ODI career. i've noticed sri lanka has a good ODI record but their batsmen have low averages with the international standard - someone should do a study into it and find out why, is it sri lankan local conditions? i think thirimanne should remain as opener with dilshan batting in the middle. dilshan has been out of form at the top for a while thirimanne is in good form. he also did hit a hundred in australia recently in an ODI and a 91 in a test match there, proving this innings wasn't a fluke and that he'll come good in the 2015WC too. i also think mahela should open and kusal bat in the middle to give us a better late order kick.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Sri Lanka should use consistent and steady Thirimanne to open innings in ODI's and move experienced Dilshan down to solidify middle order (as he did earlier in his career).

  • POSTED BY chilled_avenger on | March 8, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Let's not hype things up after the twin hundreds and let this guy play his natural game. He still has a lot to prove. Like improving his pedestrian strike rate of 69.83. Someone as inconstient as him cannot afford to even play so slow. Thats like a added damage. In the age of batsmen friendly pitches, younger players should take less than 62 ODIs to get in thier game.

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  • POSTED BY chilled_avenger on | March 8, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Let's not hype things up after the twin hundreds and let this guy play his natural game. He still has a lot to prove. Like improving his pedestrian strike rate of 69.83. Someone as inconstient as him cannot afford to even play so slow. Thats like a added damage. In the age of batsmen friendly pitches, younger players should take less than 62 ODIs to get in thier game.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Sri Lanka should use consistent and steady Thirimanne to open innings in ODI's and move experienced Dilshan down to solidify middle order (as he did earlier in his career).

  • POSTED BY evenflow_1990 on | March 8, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    very nice observation of sri lankan batsmens generally slow start to their ODI career. i've noticed sri lanka has a good ODI record but their batsmen have low averages with the international standard - someone should do a study into it and find out why, is it sri lankan local conditions? i think thirimanne should remain as opener with dilshan batting in the middle. dilshan has been out of form at the top for a while thirimanne is in good form. he also did hit a hundred in australia recently in an ODI and a 91 in a test match there, proving this innings wasn't a fluke and that he'll come good in the 2015WC too. i also think mahela should open and kusal bat in the middle to give us a better late order kick.

  • POSTED BY TheRisingTeam on | March 8, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    In ODIs its not just the average that you want to be looking for but also the strike rate of batsman or a combination of both. Any batsman that averages below 30 is simply mediocre stuff. The very good batsman in ODIs should be aiming 35 or more with an 80+ strike rate.

  • POSTED BY vallavarayar on | March 9, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    He has the makings of a Sangakkara.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    His stance is stolid and exquisite and exudes the confidence of a mature head.

  • POSTED BY caldruid on | March 9, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    TheRisingTeam is spot on. Batsmen like Thirimanne and Chandimal burst onto the scene 4 years ago. Both have played 60-80 matches and yet their avg is 31-32. From SL's point of view, they can give them more games ( not sure what their talent pipeline is like ). However, once the WC2015 is over, this will the order of retirements Dilshan->Mahela->Sangakkara. So SL need to find three other quality players fast to replace these three.

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | March 9, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    I think the author is jumping the gun a little bit here.... Thirimanne has talent yes, but all this is very premature. His only 3 List A centuries have come from international games, meaning he has not made a List A century in the domestic scene. His strike rate is also extremely low at 70 (even his domestic record is around 70 too). Still, if he improves his strike rate, he could be a great find. When it comes to averages and strike rates, the batting stats alone do not count for Sri Lanka. Even though Sri Lanka is one of the top notch ODI teams around, for the strangest reason none of their great batsman have good records. I believe the highest ODI batting average goes to Sangakkara and even he is at a 39 (which is subpar for any other team). Yet, Sangakkara is one of the best batsman out there today. Somebody needs to find out why this anomaly exists only for Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY Dr.Lakson on | March 9, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Good observation. Would like a comparison with few other international cricketers. Definitely SL needs to identify talent early and stick with them as SL does not have a large gene pool like India. It has worked for SL as it was evident from the success in 96 WC. One reason to have poor batting averages would be that they play for the team and assurance that the place in the team would not depend on the average which is not the case with most other teams.

  • POSTED BY on | March 9, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    I always thought that probably Chandimal is a better and elegant player among the new generation of young players but I think Lahiru is the best among them.