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Sri Lanka's marks out of ten, for the Test series against England
Andrew Fidel Fernando at Headingley
June 25, 2014
Angelo Mathews (306 runs at 76.50, 4 wickets at 24.75)
A fighting hundred and a stony rearguard at Lord's, then the innings of his career at Headingley His 160 is the stuff of legend - the kind of knock that transformed Sri Lanka's position in the game and lurched them towards their first series win against a top-eight team outside Asia, since 1995. Two other Sri Lanka batsmen have made great hundreds in England - Sidath Wettimuny in 1984 and Mahela Jayawardene in 2006 - but if this series win can kickstart a Sri Lanka resurgence in Tests, Mathews' innings may be seen as the best of the lot. His bowling was useful as well, and though his captaincy is still a work in progress, there were signs of improvement, particularly at Headingley.
Kumar Sangakkara (342 runs at 85.50)
If ever a Sri Lanka batsman deserves to be called a run machine, it is Sangakkara. In the last few years, his cricket has achieved a clinical excellence that few have managed. He was desperate to have his name on the Lord's honours board, and was uncompromising with his focus in that innings. He did his part to draw that Test, in the second innings, then hit two fifties to help out at Headingley. Having redressed his poor record in England, he is now undoubtedly on the level of Ponting, Tendulkar, Lara and Kallis. Anyone who argues otherwise is not paying attention.
Shaminda Eranga (11 wickets at 32.45)
Had a poor outing at Lord's, perhaps thanks to three-month gap between competitive matches, but recovered beautifully to bowl Sri Lanka's spell of the match in the second innings, one that delayed the England declaration and effectively helped save the game. His unerring second-day toil may be overlooked in years to come, but make no mistake - that is where the match turned for Sri Lanka. They need a long-term pace spearhead. Eranga seems to be the man for the job.
Mahela Jayawardene (174 runs at 43.50)
His returns here are too modest to improve his overall away record, but his two fifties came in trying times for Sri Lanka, and as ever, his runs are worth more than most. He was tried with the short ball throughout the series, and often, he took the field and the bowling on. Mathews may be captain on paper, but Jayawardene remains the most obvious on-field marshal. He has also completed more Test catches now than all but two other players.
Kaushal Silva (146 runs at 36.5)
Twin fifties at Lord's helped further embed Silva in the side, though more would definitely have been expected at Headingley. He left on length as well as line, and played the tightest of all Sri Lanka batsmen in the series. Importantly, as a short opening batsman, he also proved he can handle the bouncer barrages he will no doubt face at this level, all through his career. Sri Lanka will give him a long stint atop the order.
Dimuth Karunaratne (127 runs at 31.75)
It is easy to remark that Karunaratne rarely makes high scores or that he has a strange technique for an opening batsman, but 31.75 is hardly an awful average for a rookie Sri Lanka opening batsman, in early-season England. His technique has some way to go, as does his temperament as he approaches a personal landmark, but given he and Silva have combined to give Sri Lanka better starts than they have had in years, Karunaratne deserves a few more series.
Rangana Herath (8 wickets at 43.87)
Was less impactful on this tour than expected, despite the moderately helpful conditions at Headingley. He was perhaps unlucky not to take a few more wickets, given he beat the edge regularly. Had his best haul in the second innings at Lord's and smothered the batsmen under pressure while quicker men attacked at the other end. His 47 at Headingley was one of the best knocks by a Sri Lanka tailender in years.
Nuwan Pradeep (6 wickets at 50.83)
His career bowling average of 72.78 continues to provide comic relief, but it is clear he is a much better bowler than that number suggests. Had his best outing on the first day at Lord's, when he took three wickets, but was guilty of leaking runs at other occasions. Took the crucial wicket of Joe Root on the final day at Headingley, which swung Sri Lanka's door open just as England's sixth-wicket pair looked like closing it. His five-ball defiance to seal the draw at Lord's is already part of cricketing lore.
Lahiru Thirimanne (4 runs at 1)
At times on tour, it seemed like Thirimanne would spontaneously combust if James Anderson shot him a sideways glance. He was out twice to Anderson at Lord's and made a pair at Headingley. Three of the four balls that dismissed him were terrific deliveries, but Thirimanne will know he cannot use that as an excuse for long. Good Test batsmen see out good balls. He will hope to bounce back strongly against South Africa.
Dhammika Prasad (6 wickets at 20.83)
Few would ever have imagined a five-wicket haul from Prasad would seal a famous victory in England, but his fourth-evening spell was pure mayhem. Prasad bowled with the pace and intensity he had been picked for and offered a hit-the-deck option for the attack. He will also have earned a place in the squads for Sri Lanka's home Tests.
Dinesh Chandimal (52 runs at 26, 4 catches)
Kept well until the late stages of the Headingley Test, and had good energy throughout the toilsome second day in the field. His 47 hinted at his ability against fast bowling, on bouncy pitches, but falling to the leg trap on day four was a low point.
Prasanna Jayawardene (14 runs at 7, 4 catches)
Had a poor Test behind the stumps at Lord's, but many keepers do. Was out to a good catch in the first innings and dug in admirably alongside Mathews in the second, broken finger and all.
3Nuwan Kulasekara (2 wickets at 74)
Threatened at Lord's with the new ball, but was largely toothless when conditions were flat. Could have supported the wicket-takers at the other end with tighter spells, as well.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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