Sri Lanka in 2009 December 30, 2009

A whimper not a bang

Sri Lanka started 2009 on a high but finished it struggling to hold their footing as key players went missing
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Think of a stick of dynamite with the fuse lit and ready to blow. That is what Sri Lanka were all year, a crackerjack side hinting at an explosion; but at the end of a dramatic 12 months the fuse just didn't seem ready to detonate. The end result was a whimper.

Sri Lanka rode into 2009 on the crest of the Ajantha Mendis wave and boosted by the knowledge they'd be playing five more Tests than the six they played in 2008. They had big series away and home lined up, a crop of new and rejuvenated players brimming with potential, and a serious shot at the No. 2 spot in Test cricket.

But at the end of the year, 2008's ICC Emerging Player of the Year was struggling to find a spot in the Test line-up and had been dropped from the ODI one, and Sri Lanka, having climbed to that No. 2 spot, had suffered a severe bout of vertigo.

Kumar Sangakkara, who took over the captaincy after Mahela Jayawardene relinquished it early in the year, found by December that the shine of his promising debut, one that hinted at a new and more aggressive direction, had faded as the months ticked over.

There were more lows (a limp display in the Champions Trophy, limited-overs series defeats to India at home, twice, and away to go with a 2-0 Test loss) than highs (a maiden Test series success over Pakistan at home and reaching the ICC World Twenty20 finals).

In statistical terms, the year was mixed. Of the 11 Tests played, five were won. Sri Lanka played five Test series, winning three and losing one (the fifth was aborted due to the horrific Lahore attacks). To emerge from that shocking assault, in which several players and coaching staff were injured, took spirit, courage and medical assistance. Sri Lanka did so fantastically, beating Pakistan in the return series, for the first time at home.

That win was Sri Lanka's most impressive achievement all year. Sangakkara's captaincy, the canny pace of new-ball pair Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara, and the return of Rangana Herath stood out. Pakistan came hard at Sri Lanka, who went into the series with an inexperienced attack, a non-regular wicketkeeper, and under a new captain. But the extra responsibility was taken on by all and the team played very, very good cricket.

An expected series win over an overawed New Zealand followed, but the defeat against India was disheartening. They arrived in India in late 2009 ranked No. 2 in Tests, but the quest for a maiden win in India remained unfulfilled. Sangakkara, who bore the brunt of the criticism, stated that Sri Lanka were a better side than the 0-2 series scoreline indicated. The injuries, lost tosses and poor umpiring were not excuses, and Sri Lanka rounded off their 2009 Test year wondering how to lift their standards.

On an individual level the numbers were especially good for Thilan Samaraweera, the leading Test run-scorer in 2009, who began with twin double-centuries in Pakistan and continued in the same vein during the home summer, until he returned to India and struggled.

There were more lows (a limp display in the Champions Trophy, limited-overs series defeats to India home, twice, and away to go with a 2-0 Test loss) than highs (a maiden Test series success over Pakistan at home and reaching the ICC World Twenty20 finals)

Tillakaratne Dilshan did everything this year - keeping wicket, opening the batting in all three formats, and even opening the bowling in ODIs (and in an innings in Test cricket). He did not for a moment appear saddled by the pressure of opening, as six Test centuries attest to.

Like Samaweera and Dilshan, if not as impressively, Jayawardene and Sangakkara went past the 1000-mark in Tests for the year.

As for the bowlers, the biggest success story was Herath, who returned from the obscurity of the Staffordshire League in England to finish as Sri Lanka's leading wicket-taker in Tests this year. Herath completely overshadowed Mendis, who struggled for consistency and was played with ease in each of his seven Tests, which yielded him 18 wickets at 45.55.

In one-day cricket they had a win-loss ratio of 44% from the 27 games they played. Their form replicated that of 2008: in January-February they surrendered a series to India, lost the tri-series final to India at home, didn't make the second round of the Champions Trophy, and lost another ODI series in India. Of those 27 matches, 12 were against India, and they won just three.

The main reason, like last year, was their unpredictable batting. Sangakkara and Jayawardene managed only two centuries between them and much responsibility was piled on Dilshan. He responded as best he could, racking up 1000 runs at 55 and a strike rate of 103.19. He was the biggest thing to happen to Sri Lanka in 2009.

Most distressing for Sri Lanka was an inability to dominate in their own backyard. A 6-7 home ODI record in 2009 shattered their aura of invincibility and No. 7 in the ICC rankings is a fair indicator of where they stand.

On a managerial level the coach, Trevor Bayliss, lost the services of his assistant, Paul Farbrace, to his native Kent. Bayliss now has his work cut out: with Farbrace's replacement, Stuart Law, he needs to further develop a team that can perform in all three versions.

Sri Lanka have more questions than answers facing them in 2010. The opening remains a worry, because Tharanga Paranavitana, Malinda Warnapura and Michael Vandort do not look up to scratch in Tests. Muttiah Muralitharan's impending retirement and Mendis' drop in form leaves the spin cupboard almost bare, and there doesn't seem to be a genuine new fast bowler on the horizon. The core unit of players remains talented and very enthusiastic, but the attention and determination needs tweaking.

New kid on the block
Angelo Mathews made his Test and Twenty20 debuts this year, and showed plenty of promise. His new-ball spells played a big part in Sri Lanka's path to the final of the World Twenty20 - during which he also produced a stunning fielding effort - and capped a run-heavy domestic season with a call-up to the Test squad, where he slotted in nicely as the third seamer and produced a top score of 99.

Fading star
Statistically, this was Muralitharan's worst year. His 26 wickets from eight Tests cost 45.96 each and he had no five-wicket haul. In 1999 he took 24 wickets, but in two matches fewer and at 28.25, with a best of 5 for 71. In 16 ODIs this year he took 22 wickets at 29.45, with a best of 3 for 19. He finished his last overseas series with nine wickets - four in one innings - after conceding 591 runs.

High point
Beating Pakistan at home in Tests and ODIs. The success came because Sri Lanka made some crucial, bold decisions, both during the series and before it. Not all were universally acclaimed - dropping Chaminda Vaas (who announced his retirement shortly after), and having Dilshan keep wicket among them - but they worked in the end.

Low point
Losing 0-2 to India in India - mainly because of the lack of bowling firepower, and poor catching. Before leaving on the tour, Sangakkara spoke of winning "the last frontier", but that ambition was left unfulfilled, and the No. 2 Test spot was lost in the process.

What 2010 holds
Sri Lanka don't play a Test until October, when West Indies visit. For a side aspiring to be the best, that doesn't augur well. Sri Lanka enter 2010 with less optimism than they did 2009, largely because of the ICC's Future Tours Programme and their own board's inability to push for more Tests. In one-day cricket, the focus will be on developing a team for that little tournament called the World Cup, of which 12 games will be played at home.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 9ST9 on January 1, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Sri lanka's home record has slumped of late, (and have done comparatively better outside the sub-continent in the last 3 years)- especially in the bilatterals. In the last 3 they have beaten Pak 3-2 but lost to India ( 4-1 , and 3-2) . The primary aim should be WC 2011 at home( as well as T20 WC 2012-in SL), the focus now should shift to grooming a side that would excel in home conditions such as Jayasuriya's 2000-2003 side,And Atapattu's team that beat S.A 5-0 in 2004. Promising it may be to see A whole crop pf pacemen, the worry is the lack of consistency in spin - Mendis and Bandara have been inconsistent. However it should be noticed that while India and Pakistan seem to have completely dominated Mendis, the other teams might yet struggle - as seen with S.A. I feel the home pitches for the WC should be made in the old SL style - slow turning , hard to bat pitches like in the early 2000's - where the par score is around 250. Under these conditions SL were invincible until 2007.

  • Mutukisna on December 31, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    Sri Lanka's woes were more evident in the ODIs. They were roundly beaten by India. In the Tests India were flattered by the results. If the ICC employs the Review system it should be applied across the board. Some test matches have all of Hawkeye, Snickometer, Hotspot, sound from stump microphones, slow-motion replays etc. whilst some have none or a few. It makes a mockery of test averages of the players involved in test matches currently played. As Sangakkara said the series against India cost them 500 runs and possibly the series due to the absence of the Review system. As regards the team, Prasanna should also play in the ODIs as a dropped catch or missed stumping could be costly. Mendis should work on developing new strings to his bow to avoid predictability. Sanga and Mahela as good as they are appear to throw their wickets when well set. Murali has not recovered from his many shoulder injuries and should not be written off. Finally, the dropped catches were disappointing.

  • Priyakand on December 31, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    Sanga seems to be left with minimal support from his senior colleagues and it is a dissapointment since he is in the midst of few ex-skippers.Lot of talent and it is a delight to see Dishan's fearless batting and the upcoming of few yougsters including Upul Tharanga.Drawbacks are the pillars of success and hope things would be different in the new season.More aggresive approach is needed and Sanga should pay more attention about this aspect of the game.Best of luck guys!

  • gg87 on December 31, 2009, 7:44 GMT

    This is a spoton article, But my feeling is Sri Lanka still having a hope. And this the time to find some replacements for jayasuriya & murali. Mathews has shown some promising start to his career.And suraj randiv will be a future prospect for Sri lanka.

  • All_Ceylon_Cricket on December 31, 2009, 1:41 GMT

    Chaminda Vaas used to keep the bowling economy rate at a relatively low level on quite a few occassions in the ODI game, and hold the tail-end batting together especially on overseas tours on several occassions in tests. He was treated badly by the Sri Lankan Cricket Adminstration on many occassions including not been considered for the post of captaincy. Though now old for cricket, he probably still could contribute well, may be not regularly as before, but could certainly contribute well with the bat especially in tests.

  • SangakaraFan on December 30, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    I thought Sangakkara would be a great captain but his captancy did'nt work against India and I also thought he became too over-confident when we beat minnows Pakistan so easily at home. Sri Lanka has a looooong way to go if we have to be on top of ICC, we have to beat stronger teams like India, Aus & SA in their country.

  • Jarr30 on December 30, 2009, 20:55 GMT

    mk49_van@ I agree with you 100%. Sri Lanka batsmens can only play in their own den. Players like Samaraveera & M Jayawardene score in abundance on dead pitches but on good bowling tracks they are hopeless. This series against India proved where SL stands. If they want to be at the top, they have to beat India,Aus & SA in their own country.

  • Champ2000 on December 30, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    Barrin couple of them most of sl players are average and not outstanding. Highlight for me was they loast Home seriese to India, twice. As jamie pointed out there are more questions than answers for slc to face.

    Jamie. Good one from you.

  • mk49_van on December 30, 2009, 17:33 GMT

    Though not a bad side, Lanka is full of mediocre players. The team can't aspire to be no 1. with just one world class batsman (Sanga), one scattershot one-day ace (Dilshan) and a has-been (Murali). The freakshow parade of bowlers- Malinga, Mendis - has run out if steam as batsman have figured them out. The taking apart of Mendis by India was one of the delights of this year after his spectacular start against them in 2008. The future looks bleak.

  • SPGUN on December 30, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    Administration, and poor team management has taken it's toll we have performed much better with less talented individuals. It's pathetic for a test playing nation waiting 10 months to play another test. Until SL sort out the mess which it's administration is there is little hope for the future. Realistically we could rank just above WI and Nz in terms of tests rankings.It's a clear wake up call for our cricket to adhere to the wake up call and more accountability shown in terms of administration and team management. Bayliss needs to answer more and show his worth for the job along with rest of the Board.One needs to remember we played our most competitive cricket during 96 world cup where we had one the best Coach's suiting SL and a stable administration and the players did the rest.It's a shame but that's reality wat SL cricket is facing, and some good points addressed abiove Mendis needs confidance as well as other players he needs to play more and get experience !hope for the best

  • 9ST9 on January 1, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Sri lanka's home record has slumped of late, (and have done comparatively better outside the sub-continent in the last 3 years)- especially in the bilatterals. In the last 3 they have beaten Pak 3-2 but lost to India ( 4-1 , and 3-2) . The primary aim should be WC 2011 at home( as well as T20 WC 2012-in SL), the focus now should shift to grooming a side that would excel in home conditions such as Jayasuriya's 2000-2003 side,And Atapattu's team that beat S.A 5-0 in 2004. Promising it may be to see A whole crop pf pacemen, the worry is the lack of consistency in spin - Mendis and Bandara have been inconsistent. However it should be noticed that while India and Pakistan seem to have completely dominated Mendis, the other teams might yet struggle - as seen with S.A. I feel the home pitches for the WC should be made in the old SL style - slow turning , hard to bat pitches like in the early 2000's - where the par score is around 250. Under these conditions SL were invincible until 2007.

  • Mutukisna on December 31, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    Sri Lanka's woes were more evident in the ODIs. They were roundly beaten by India. In the Tests India were flattered by the results. If the ICC employs the Review system it should be applied across the board. Some test matches have all of Hawkeye, Snickometer, Hotspot, sound from stump microphones, slow-motion replays etc. whilst some have none or a few. It makes a mockery of test averages of the players involved in test matches currently played. As Sangakkara said the series against India cost them 500 runs and possibly the series due to the absence of the Review system. As regards the team, Prasanna should also play in the ODIs as a dropped catch or missed stumping could be costly. Mendis should work on developing new strings to his bow to avoid predictability. Sanga and Mahela as good as they are appear to throw their wickets when well set. Murali has not recovered from his many shoulder injuries and should not be written off. Finally, the dropped catches were disappointing.

  • Priyakand on December 31, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    Sanga seems to be left with minimal support from his senior colleagues and it is a dissapointment since he is in the midst of few ex-skippers.Lot of talent and it is a delight to see Dishan's fearless batting and the upcoming of few yougsters including Upul Tharanga.Drawbacks are the pillars of success and hope things would be different in the new season.More aggresive approach is needed and Sanga should pay more attention about this aspect of the game.Best of luck guys!

  • gg87 on December 31, 2009, 7:44 GMT

    This is a spoton article, But my feeling is Sri Lanka still having a hope. And this the time to find some replacements for jayasuriya & murali. Mathews has shown some promising start to his career.And suraj randiv will be a future prospect for Sri lanka.

  • All_Ceylon_Cricket on December 31, 2009, 1:41 GMT

    Chaminda Vaas used to keep the bowling economy rate at a relatively low level on quite a few occassions in the ODI game, and hold the tail-end batting together especially on overseas tours on several occassions in tests. He was treated badly by the Sri Lankan Cricket Adminstration on many occassions including not been considered for the post of captaincy. Though now old for cricket, he probably still could contribute well, may be not regularly as before, but could certainly contribute well with the bat especially in tests.

  • SangakaraFan on December 30, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    I thought Sangakkara would be a great captain but his captancy did'nt work against India and I also thought he became too over-confident when we beat minnows Pakistan so easily at home. Sri Lanka has a looooong way to go if we have to be on top of ICC, we have to beat stronger teams like India, Aus & SA in their country.

  • Jarr30 on December 30, 2009, 20:55 GMT

    mk49_van@ I agree with you 100%. Sri Lanka batsmens can only play in their own den. Players like Samaraveera & M Jayawardene score in abundance on dead pitches but on good bowling tracks they are hopeless. This series against India proved where SL stands. If they want to be at the top, they have to beat India,Aus & SA in their own country.

  • Champ2000 on December 30, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    Barrin couple of them most of sl players are average and not outstanding. Highlight for me was they loast Home seriese to India, twice. As jamie pointed out there are more questions than answers for slc to face.

    Jamie. Good one from you.

  • mk49_van on December 30, 2009, 17:33 GMT

    Though not a bad side, Lanka is full of mediocre players. The team can't aspire to be no 1. with just one world class batsman (Sanga), one scattershot one-day ace (Dilshan) and a has-been (Murali). The freakshow parade of bowlers- Malinga, Mendis - has run out if steam as batsman have figured them out. The taking apart of Mendis by India was one of the delights of this year after his spectacular start against them in 2008. The future looks bleak.

  • SPGUN on December 30, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    Administration, and poor team management has taken it's toll we have performed much better with less talented individuals. It's pathetic for a test playing nation waiting 10 months to play another test. Until SL sort out the mess which it's administration is there is little hope for the future. Realistically we could rank just above WI and Nz in terms of tests rankings.It's a clear wake up call for our cricket to adhere to the wake up call and more accountability shown in terms of administration and team management. Bayliss needs to answer more and show his worth for the job along with rest of the Board.One needs to remember we played our most competitive cricket during 96 world cup where we had one the best Coach's suiting SL and a stable administration and the players did the rest.It's a shame but that's reality wat SL cricket is facing, and some good points addressed abiove Mendis needs confidance as well as other players he needs to play more and get experience !hope for the best

  • SLfan on December 30, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    It's true that Sangakkara need to attack more in the field.But it's equally important for a captain to having such attacking options in the team. when consider the last ODI series, I'm not sure whether he had such options, due to lots of injuries... When playing specially in India, you need to have fast bowlers who can get an adequate bounce to attack world class batsmen like Tendulkar & sehwag. Only such option Sanga had was Welagedera. Actually Welagedera did well..Dilhara was got injured during the tour.Thilan Thushara was not available. Mathews also got injured.Malinga has lost his form & proved that he is not an attacking option anymore.Usually Kula does not get much bounce. So he was hammered...One noticable good quality of Sanga is that he is giving more chances to youngsters.Kapu should test at no.3.He did well in the 1st T20 where he was sent at no.4.Sanga has got another opportunity to utilize these young prospects more. Hope he will turn the situation around this time.

  • gottalovetheraindance on December 30, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    what charm78 is saying is true to some extent. teams playing against higher ranked teams almost always get the messy end of the stick . especially Australia. there are countless umpiring decisions & disciplinary actions that have been taken against weaker teams that are either blatantly unfair & unjust while teams like Australia just get a pat on the back. It has happened on numerous occasions somehow ICC ignores these happenings by continually turning a blind eye

    too many people are complaining about the disparity in treatment & justice between stronger teaams like Australia & the weaker teams for it to be ignored any longer

    THESE OCCURENCES NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED THOROUGHLY BY UNBIASED PERSONNEL. CODE OF CONDUCT & JUSTICE IS FOR EVERYONE NOT AUSTRALIA & ENGLAND ALONE.

  • Night.angel on December 30, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    sangakkara has proved he got big mouth ,but bizzare in captancy. mahela has proved how good he is.. y then sanga????. while on speaking english, its irrtitating to see his artificial action. he is a good player. bt wen handling pressure atmosphere ,he is horrible. mendis has lost his magic, even young players are picking him. jayasuriya deserves more, he have shown his worth by picking wickets in first T20 n wat sanga did, very next ODI not even tried him. india won two ODI evn in the absence of yuvraj n dhoni. tat alone shows how pathetic this srlankan team is. hats off to dilshan . if srilanka have to come out n win ,mahela shud get captain role.

  • Mr.Mathes on December 30, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    i thought sri lanka had a pretty good ODI series in India considering that indian batting lineup is extremely strong and sl balling attack is inexperienced.Atleast they managed to win one and came very close to wining another. i just feel sanga is not exactly captain material, But however there is no one else in the team who is better suited than sanga. Talking about the team, i seriously think that they should leave Mahela and T.samare out of the ODI unit.They should stick to Test cricket.I think Kandamby should come at no 4, after sanga,eventhough he is not really match wining kind of batsmen, but i guess he is a consistent batsmen, and Kapugedera should come at no.5 , eventhough he has been very unsuccessful lately, i believe he's got lot of talent. then angelo at, no.6. the sl bowling attack needs some genuine fast bowlers, fast fast bowlers. kula is too slow for the likes sewag, yuvi etc. Sri lanka really has to improve on their feilding.

  • tallgrass on December 30, 2009, 14:07 GMT

    Spot on this article and spot on RoshanF - the main problem is poor strategy. Team selection is getting better. But SLC needs to get quality fixtures if we are to go anywhere and not bow down to senior players who pressurize them like when they protested the tour of England just to play in that stupid T20 league in India. The new look team to Bangladesh sounds brilliant. Only blemish is going for Chamara Silva over Chintaka Jayasinghe. Hope the captain backs these youngsters with attacking strategy and even if we lose I hope the selectors STICK by their forward thinking move.

  • SLfan on December 30, 2009, 13:01 GMT

    As I feel, the main reason for this kind of (some what dissapointing) overall performance is mostly due to the lack of 'killer instinct' in the game. When you achieved some good position in the match, you should not let it go easily.You should maintain it & increase that position until you achieve the final result...If you are in a bad position, you should do something special to come out of it, rather than waiting & waiting until it happens for you... I noticed lots of situations where we had come out strongly in difficult situations, but we had let it go easily by not maintaining that pressure. I think this is something to deal with psychological factors.I don't know whether we have a trainer in our cricketing staff to improve these psychological areas... Some players have that positive mind naturaly.As an example, when Dilshan keeps going, he does not let himself down easily. He maintains that until he achieve his target... Mathews also proved that most of the situations.

  • Night.angel on December 30, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    srilanka has really been humilated in this tour .. If indians held their catches , rate of defeat wont be marginal .. im pointing espcially T20 n ODI , while srilanka chasing 400+ ]. anyway india won . Wats actually Charm78 saying ???.. umpire errors are parcel of the game.. if tat dont occur porbably india wud have won the test in australia only becoz of bucknor it lost. People cant accept the defeat tats .. denial. anyway it has finished n eveyone forgts as usual. for srilanka dilshan was superb.. shows the article. mathews is really good ...but consedering tests i think, he is not. mahela shud handle the captancy. srilanka also have to prove the away home series

  • ITJOBSUCKS on December 30, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    @charm78 Another whimper. Reason : SL not charming enough. SL losing in India & Aus b'coz of umpiring. This has got be the biggest JOKE of the year. When SL plays outside the srilanka, they are pathetic to say the least. Why SL performs so poorly outside SL ? Simple, their batting is pathetic outside SL & nowadays bowling & fielding also. Even so called Mahela performs very poorly outside SL & less we talk about samaraveera, better it is. Apart from Sanga, most of them don't perform outside sub-continent & surprisingly in INDIA (hahahah) also. They always look for reasons like pitch,umpiring & so on... They are scared of losing to teams like AUS,SA,IND. i.e. they don't travel to these countries.

  • auggie on December 30, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    The Indian tour could have gone either way, especially in the ODIs. India won, marginally! What SL needs is a new captain who can inspire like Ranatunga. Sangakarra I am afraid does not fit the role. I dont know about his alleged 'nervousness' but he lacks shrewdness and tactictical flair, often making elementary mistakes which are pointed out quite often by experts, fans etc. Also his recent 'feud' with the popular Jayasuriya does not make his case better. He should have handled the Jayasuriya selection in a more mature way. SL also need to dump players whoo have been on the fringe, in and out all the time. (Lokuaratchi, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva etc) New blood from the successful under 19 and other youth teams must come in. Pacer Nuwan Kula gets hammered by quality opposition and Mahela Jayawardene & Samaraweera should definitely not be in the ODI team. Mahela especially with his horrible form. Both are great test players though and should carry on a bit more.

  • HK_Sachin on December 30, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    thats atrocious, the recent #2 side in the world doenst get another test match for 10 months.

  • Himannv on December 30, 2009, 8:28 GMT

    I point the finger at the SLC and Sanga. SLC have always been very poor at pushing for more fixtures and their key pursuit appears to be profit which is what any Sri Lankan who follows the news will tell you. Sanga just doesn't seem to be the ideal captain either. He's always nervous and lets pressure get to him. Also tactically I dont think his decisions have been particularly good. Mahela was a much better captain. Either way, the introduction of more youngsters is a very positive move and will hopefully pay off in the long run.

  • Charm78 on December 30, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    All teams who are boasting of their talent and the top class performance on their own backyard but don't forget that powerful countries like Australia, India treat their visitors so harshly when it comes to on field decisions. Sangakkara has every right to say that his team better than what the final score line indicated due to the fact that these powerful countries wreck the opposition by taking some marginal decisions in to their favour. If you closely study last 4 summers in Australian home series and Indian home series, they practice this in a crucial moment of the match and blame umpires and technology but sadly, all the time mistakes always happened to their favour. New decision pending system is an excellent innovation but the prediction of the Hawk-eye system is not always an accurate one because specially bounce of a 3rd, 4th, 5th day pitches are significantly varied and there are so many other physical factors are contributed to the behavior of the ball.

  • RoshanF on December 30, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    Yes, Sri Lanka have certainly gone downhill. As for Sangakkara, the captain, he's gone down even more. He cut a pathetic picture on the field even on the few occasions SL had the upper hand against India, both in the Tests and in the ODIs. His logic defying ultra defensive field settings in the Tests when his no.1 bowler (Muralu - at least on paper) was bowling was unbelievable. Even in the T20 world cup he did this and mediocre batsmen made merry off Murali. In the ODIs against India, especially in the 4th match when SL piled up 300 plus, the way he allowed Gambhir and the relatively unheard of Kohli to milk a monstrous amount of singles without any attempt at changing strategy was stuff straight out of a "How not to ..." manuscript. BUT, losing to India in INDIA is no real shame as has been known in all the year's of cricket, home advantage does count. Remember, in Sri Lanka, the Lankans beat India in the Tests last year. Had the review system been used it would have been lot close

  • chandau on December 30, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    What do we have in the cupboard to replenish the test team? Few batters like VanDort, Warnapura, Mubarak, Chamaras Silva & Kapugedara, Kandambi have experience. There are few young guns like Chandimal, Thirimanne, Munaweera. For pacies no idea what happened to Ishara, Sajeeva, Jayaprakash, etc. Not mant real quick men in the club scene as far as reports go so... Mahroof and Perera are 2 all rounders. Randiv, Pushpakumara, Bandara, Dilruwan, Sajeeva, Shanuka are spinners who do it good in club cricket. Pity not many "A" tours as in the past so these guys can get some exposure and experience. Mostly the problem is an inept selection set that seem to be picking teams like in a lottery draw (put your hand in to the bowl and pick a name) .

  • chandau on December 30, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    Unfortunately SLC is run by some self serving political stooges. Hence we will rarely play Test cricket over the next 2 years. As for team performance we need to look a the captain's ability to walk the talk. When things are neat he looks calm but when plan A fails he has no plan B/C and looks terrible in the field. The greatest of leaders never betray their emotion but Sanga just cant hide it, arms flaying, lips bitten, head shaking etc. Add to that his poor keeping in ODIs and pedestrian batting in tests. Take the test team: Paranawithana promises but fizzles out, Dilshan and Samaraweera score runs, Sanga and Mahela blow hot and cold, Mathews has promise, PJ bats well but not himself keeping, Murali has wear & tear problems, Herath good here but not sure abroad due to his height (or the lack of it) Kulasekara too slow to trouble unless it swings a lot, Thushara and Chanaka good but need experience, Mendis has lost confidence, Fernando & Malinga injury prone and out of sync.

  • randikaayya on December 30, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    I fear Malinga is lost permanently to T20 money. He can earn 10 times more by bowling just 4 overs and doesn't need to bother to keep up 5 day cricket fitness anymore. Life is easy now that he has endorsements from biscuit manufacturers! Highs for me is the bold decision to go with younger blood such as Kanda, Kapu, Lakmal and Suraj Randhiv sidelining their more decorated counterparts. If the same is kept up and they are given an extended run the established players will be under a lot of pressure to perform better and commit more! With Thushara and Prasad fit we'll once again have a strong opening combination to compliment the young blood of Mathews and Randhiv

  • 9ST9 on December 30, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Statistically SL have really withered - but imagine SL had won the 413 run-chase at rajkot - the series would have ended at 2-2 then , would we be so disapointed. The point is having watched the SL-Ind series - there is promise yet. Attempting to chase 413 and coming close showed immense character and lets not forget that India are in tremendous form. And the SL side we saw were really inexperienced esp. the bowling. For me the positives are : Dilshan,Tharanga,Matthews and the positive approach. NEgatively it was sad to see 2 of the success factors of the world T20 - malinga and mendis losing form. Hope they will be back in contention for the T20 WC in 2010 as they both have the ''surprise'' factor essential in the shortest format.

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  • 9ST9 on December 30, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Statistically SL have really withered - but imagine SL had won the 413 run-chase at rajkot - the series would have ended at 2-2 then , would we be so disapointed. The point is having watched the SL-Ind series - there is promise yet. Attempting to chase 413 and coming close showed immense character and lets not forget that India are in tremendous form. And the SL side we saw were really inexperienced esp. the bowling. For me the positives are : Dilshan,Tharanga,Matthews and the positive approach. NEgatively it was sad to see 2 of the success factors of the world T20 - malinga and mendis losing form. Hope they will be back in contention for the T20 WC in 2010 as they both have the ''surprise'' factor essential in the shortest format.

  • randikaayya on December 30, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    I fear Malinga is lost permanently to T20 money. He can earn 10 times more by bowling just 4 overs and doesn't need to bother to keep up 5 day cricket fitness anymore. Life is easy now that he has endorsements from biscuit manufacturers! Highs for me is the bold decision to go with younger blood such as Kanda, Kapu, Lakmal and Suraj Randhiv sidelining their more decorated counterparts. If the same is kept up and they are given an extended run the established players will be under a lot of pressure to perform better and commit more! With Thushara and Prasad fit we'll once again have a strong opening combination to compliment the young blood of Mathews and Randhiv

  • chandau on December 30, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    Unfortunately SLC is run by some self serving political stooges. Hence we will rarely play Test cricket over the next 2 years. As for team performance we need to look a the captain's ability to walk the talk. When things are neat he looks calm but when plan A fails he has no plan B/C and looks terrible in the field. The greatest of leaders never betray their emotion but Sanga just cant hide it, arms flaying, lips bitten, head shaking etc. Add to that his poor keeping in ODIs and pedestrian batting in tests. Take the test team: Paranawithana promises but fizzles out, Dilshan and Samaraweera score runs, Sanga and Mahela blow hot and cold, Mathews has promise, PJ bats well but not himself keeping, Murali has wear & tear problems, Herath good here but not sure abroad due to his height (or the lack of it) Kulasekara too slow to trouble unless it swings a lot, Thushara and Chanaka good but need experience, Mendis has lost confidence, Fernando & Malinga injury prone and out of sync.

  • chandau on December 30, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    What do we have in the cupboard to replenish the test team? Few batters like VanDort, Warnapura, Mubarak, Chamaras Silva & Kapugedara, Kandambi have experience. There are few young guns like Chandimal, Thirimanne, Munaweera. For pacies no idea what happened to Ishara, Sajeeva, Jayaprakash, etc. Not mant real quick men in the club scene as far as reports go so... Mahroof and Perera are 2 all rounders. Randiv, Pushpakumara, Bandara, Dilruwan, Sajeeva, Shanuka are spinners who do it good in club cricket. Pity not many "A" tours as in the past so these guys can get some exposure and experience. Mostly the problem is an inept selection set that seem to be picking teams like in a lottery draw (put your hand in to the bowl and pick a name) .

  • RoshanF on December 30, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    Yes, Sri Lanka have certainly gone downhill. As for Sangakkara, the captain, he's gone down even more. He cut a pathetic picture on the field even on the few occasions SL had the upper hand against India, both in the Tests and in the ODIs. His logic defying ultra defensive field settings in the Tests when his no.1 bowler (Muralu - at least on paper) was bowling was unbelievable. Even in the T20 world cup he did this and mediocre batsmen made merry off Murali. In the ODIs against India, especially in the 4th match when SL piled up 300 plus, the way he allowed Gambhir and the relatively unheard of Kohli to milk a monstrous amount of singles without any attempt at changing strategy was stuff straight out of a "How not to ..." manuscript. BUT, losing to India in INDIA is no real shame as has been known in all the year's of cricket, home advantage does count. Remember, in Sri Lanka, the Lankans beat India in the Tests last year. Had the review system been used it would have been lot close

  • Charm78 on December 30, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    All teams who are boasting of their talent and the top class performance on their own backyard but don't forget that powerful countries like Australia, India treat their visitors so harshly when it comes to on field decisions. Sangakkara has every right to say that his team better than what the final score line indicated due to the fact that these powerful countries wreck the opposition by taking some marginal decisions in to their favour. If you closely study last 4 summers in Australian home series and Indian home series, they practice this in a crucial moment of the match and blame umpires and technology but sadly, all the time mistakes always happened to their favour. New decision pending system is an excellent innovation but the prediction of the Hawk-eye system is not always an accurate one because specially bounce of a 3rd, 4th, 5th day pitches are significantly varied and there are so many other physical factors are contributed to the behavior of the ball.

  • Himannv on December 30, 2009, 8:28 GMT

    I point the finger at the SLC and Sanga. SLC have always been very poor at pushing for more fixtures and their key pursuit appears to be profit which is what any Sri Lankan who follows the news will tell you. Sanga just doesn't seem to be the ideal captain either. He's always nervous and lets pressure get to him. Also tactically I dont think his decisions have been particularly good. Mahela was a much better captain. Either way, the introduction of more youngsters is a very positive move and will hopefully pay off in the long run.

  • HK_Sachin on December 30, 2009, 9:40 GMT

    thats atrocious, the recent #2 side in the world doenst get another test match for 10 months.

  • auggie on December 30, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    The Indian tour could have gone either way, especially in the ODIs. India won, marginally! What SL needs is a new captain who can inspire like Ranatunga. Sangakarra I am afraid does not fit the role. I dont know about his alleged 'nervousness' but he lacks shrewdness and tactictical flair, often making elementary mistakes which are pointed out quite often by experts, fans etc. Also his recent 'feud' with the popular Jayasuriya does not make his case better. He should have handled the Jayasuriya selection in a more mature way. SL also need to dump players whoo have been on the fringe, in and out all the time. (Lokuaratchi, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva etc) New blood from the successful under 19 and other youth teams must come in. Pacer Nuwan Kula gets hammered by quality opposition and Mahela Jayawardene & Samaraweera should definitely not be in the ODI team. Mahela especially with his horrible form. Both are great test players though and should carry on a bit more.

  • ITJOBSUCKS on December 30, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    @charm78 Another whimper. Reason : SL not charming enough. SL losing in India & Aus b'coz of umpiring. This has got be the biggest JOKE of the year. When SL plays outside the srilanka, they are pathetic to say the least. Why SL performs so poorly outside SL ? Simple, their batting is pathetic outside SL & nowadays bowling & fielding also. Even so called Mahela performs very poorly outside SL & less we talk about samaraveera, better it is. Apart from Sanga, most of them don't perform outside sub-continent & surprisingly in INDIA (hahahah) also. They always look for reasons like pitch,umpiring & so on... They are scared of losing to teams like AUS,SA,IND. i.e. they don't travel to these countries.