All-time XI: Sri Lanka

Sangakkara and Jayawardene in Sri Lanka all-time XI

Cricinfo staff

April 1, 2010

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas watch as West Indies are congratulated for levelling the series,  West Indies v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Trinidad, 4th day, April 6, 2008
We made it: Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas are in the all-time XI © AFP
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Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were unanimous choices for Sri Lanka's all-time XI, picked by a ten-member Cricinfo jury of ex-players and journalists. Notable omissions included Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera.

Over half the side consists of current players and those recently retired: Chaminda Vaas, Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu, who got nine votes apiece, also made the XI.

Three players in the team featured in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test - former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, fast bowler Ashantha de Mel and legspinner Somachandra de Silva.

The vote for the second spinner clearly divided the jury, with the two de Silvas tied on three votes each. Somachandra de Silva, who played 12 Tests in Sri Lanka's first two years at the top level, and led them in two, was picked for his superior Test record.

Ranatunga, the country's most charismatic captain, who led Sri Lanka to a World Cup win in 1996, got eight votes, while de Mel got five. De Mel's fast bowling partners in the XI are Rumesh Ratnayake, who took nine wickets in the team's maiden Test win, against India in 1985, and Vaas, Sri Lanka's second highest wicket-taker after Murali, who also serves as the allrounder by default.

Jayasuriya was picked by all but one jury member as one of the openers, but there was no room in the XI for his old partner, Roshan Mahanama, with whom Jayasuriya added a world-record 576 for the second wicket against India in 1997. Instead, the second opener's spot went to former captain Marvan Atapattu, who made 5502 runs from 90 Tests.

Sangakkara was given the gloves over present Test keeper Prasanna Jayawardene and the highly rated Mahes Goonatilleke.

The jury included former players Ranjan Madugalle (now an ICC match referee), Sidath Wettimuny, Ranjit Fernando, Russel Arnold and Ranil Abeynaike, as well as some of Sri Lanka's leading cricket writers.

Sri Lanka is the fifth team in a Cricinfo series of XIs where all-star teams are picked for the top Test-playing nations.

Cricinfo also asked readers to vote for their favourites. The readers' XI had more contemporary players than the jury's. Mendis was picked as second spinner after Murali, while Lasith Malinga was preferred over de Mel.

The readers' XI: Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Arjuna Ranatunga, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Rumesh Ratnayake, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.

Read the jury's quotes on the XI here.

The nominees

Openers: Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Roshan Mahanama, Sidath Wettimuny, Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Middle order: Roy Dias, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Hashan Tillakaratne, Asanka Gurusinha.

Wicketkeepers: Mahes Goonatilleke, Amal Silva, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara, Prasanna Jayawardene.

Spinners: Somachandra De Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajit de Silva, Ajantha Mendis, Don Anurasiri.

Fast bowlers: Ravi Ratnayeke, Chaminda Vaas, Rumesh Ratnayake, Ashantha de Mel, Lasith Malinga.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RoshanF on (April 4, 2010, 6:31 GMT)

This is what happens when you have half the jury consisting of respected biased old timers (well relatively). Cannot believe that Ashantha de Mel and DS de Silva made it into the team. The jury should have had it their minds that it was not pioneering test cricketers who were to be selected but truly HIGH IMPACT players. All the other All Time XI's had this considered very highly. Neither de Mel nor DS were high impact - no not by a long shot. Politically yes, but not on the field. Also as some had pointed out Roy Dias has to be brought in though he did not get to play too many tests due to favouritism among other things. I would slot him in place of Mahela and have a genuine keeper to effect stumpings and difficult catches off Murali - it has to be Mahes Goonatilleke. Malinga has to replace de Mel and Mendis for DS even though they haven't played that long. Remember this all time XI is to represent Sri Lanka against the worlds best ever. NO HOPE of de Mel or DS causing even a ripple.

Posted by Shafi79 on (April 4, 2010, 3:03 GMT)

Depends on who is referring to Ranatunga is'nt it? To us sri lankans he was the best captain we had, not because he won the WC alone but because of the manner in which he stood up to all the bullies going around world cricket, specially those from down under (which also happens to include umpires). Add to this the manner in which he was able to inspire his team to acahieve what they did, and the change he brought about to sri lanka cricket i would definitely call him "Charismatic".

Posted by Cam_PT on (April 4, 2010, 0:07 GMT)

I think this has been the hardest selection so far. And no matter which way you look at it the SL XI is a shadow of the other All-time XI's. Hopefully time will rectify that as it is a younger cricketing nation.

Posted by mattcricket on (April 3, 2010, 11:37 GMT)

As much potential as he has, Mendis cant even be considered for an all time XI as due to the fact that he has less than 50 test wickets to his name. Surely Ranatunga is better described as controversial rather than charismatic due to multiple run ins with various opponents and authorities

Posted by Ooops on (April 3, 2010, 9:21 GMT)

Only the class of Roy Dias is missing

Posted by Timur on (April 3, 2010, 7:23 GMT)

Roy Dias was a classy batsman. He missed a century in the inaugural test match against England, when his helmet fell on the wicket and was out hit wicket. He has made immense contribution to Sri Lanka cricket. He deserves a place in the Sr Lanka All Time XI.

Posted by aryaman1994 on (April 2, 2010, 15:27 GMT)

"Notable omissions included Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera."???? how were they even close to players of such quality?theyve both had a good season each, and dilshan maybe a bit more than that, but i dont see them even in the top 20 Sri lankan cricketers. also marvan looks dodgy.. rest is all good

Posted by Jaglal on (April 2, 2010, 14:03 GMT)

Romesh Kaluwitharana and Asanka Gurusinha must be included in any Sri Lankan All-time XI.that is fairly and objectly selected.

Posted by Sampath_KCS on (April 2, 2010, 6:53 GMT)

I agree with the readers Xi than the Jury's eleven. I can imagine how difficult it would have been for Russel Arnold who is the only recent player in the jury. I have utmost respect to Ranjan Madugalle in the jury & cannot understand the inclusion of Asantha de Mel. Sanga would have been a specialist batsman in the eleven than a wicket keeper. Sanga himself would agree that Prasanna is far better than him as a keeper. But these thinks can happen. We can forgive the jury because even our selection committee make bad decisions & SL cricket have paid hevilly for it. The biggest crimes they have done is to keeping Aravinda De Silva out of the team for two years in 2000/2001 & indirectly forcing Vaasi to retire from cricket.Sampath Perera.KC.Colombo.

Posted by akelumw on (April 2, 2010, 6:07 GMT)

for People like Ralp & shajw who have doubts of Arjuna's ability with the bat, I must admit that those days it was him who was the next best to Aravinda. In fact in early 90s (before 95) he was at times even better than Aavinda. He was the match winner & the finisher of SL. Those days there was a famous idea in SL fans that Ara just comes & scores his runs and gets out, often without finishing the job. But it was Arjuna who brought SL to many victories. As Gavaskar once said till Miandad of Pak & Arjuna in the middle no game was over. U can say lot of big things about Mahela, Sanga or Thilan but those days Arjuna had to face against the best of the bowlers in the world like Lille,Imran Wasim & Waqar, Amborse & Walsh @ their very best & Kapil, Botham, Mcdermott, Qaudir, Hadlee & so. But do v hv such great bowlers now? and those days wickets were much balanced & often given fair chance 4 bowlers. but today no such bunch of greats & wickets are batting paradises.who r true greats???

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