January 13, 2012

Samaraweera proves an overseas point

He has averaged more than 50 in his last three series outside the subcontinent, which is much better than the stats of the more illustrious Sri Lankans
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When Sri Lanka's squad for the Test series in South Africa was initially announced, Thilan Samaraweera wasn't a part of it. His selection was an afterthought, as cover for Mahela Jaywardene, who had injured his knee. At the end of the series, Sri Lankan fans would have been glad their selectors had an afterthought, for without Samaraweera's dogged displays, Sri Lanka's series would have looked much sorrier than it eventually did. His scores in the series read thus: 36, 32 (Centurion), 102, 43 (Durban) and 11, 115 not out (Cape Town). In each of those three Tests he scored more than any of his team-mates, and finished the series with 339 runs, 159 more than the next-highest (Kumar Sangakkara's 180). In all he scored almost a quarter of the total runs scored off the bat by Sri Lanka (339 out of 1441, 23.52%), and more runs than Sangakkara and Jayawardene managed together in their 12 innings. (To put that in perspective, Rahul Dravid scored 24.19% of India's bat runs on their tour to England last year.)

All this from a player who had been dropped for under-performing just a couple of months earlier, from a series against Pakistan, following an ordinary series against Australia. He scored 86 from four innings in that series, but before that had averaged 50.50 in England, with his third-Test unbeaten 87 helping stave off defeat. That obviously didn't earn him enough brownie points to ride over one poor series.

Two centuries in six innings in any overseas series is an achievement, but it's much more so for a subcontinent batsman to achieve this in South Africa, a land which has consistently been the toughest for batsmen from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Samaraweera's tally of 339 is the highest in a series by a subcontinent batsman in South Africa, while he became only the third from the region, after Azhar Mahmood and Sachin Tendulkar, to score two centuries in a series in that country.

Looking only at Sri Lankan batsmen outside the subcontinent (and excluding Zimbabwe), only two - Aravinda de Silva and Asanka Gurusinha - have scored more runs in a series, but both those instances were in an extremely high-scoring drawn series in New Zealand - in the first Test of the series Aravinda scored 267, and Martin Crowe made 299 and Andrew Jones 186.

Most runs in a series by a Sri Lankan batsman outside subcontinent
Batsman Series Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Aravinda de Silva New Zealand, 1990-91 3 493 98.60 2/ 1
Asanka Gurusinha New Zealand, 1990-91 3 370 74.00 2/ 2
Thilan Samaraweera South Africa, 2011-12 3 339 67.80 2/ 0
Aravinda de Silva Australia, 1989-90 2 314 104.67 1/ 2
Marvan Atapattu England, 2002 3 277 55.40 1/ 1
Mahela Jayawardene England, 2002 3 272 54.40 1/ 1
Kumar Sangakkara New Zealand, 2006-07 2 268 134.00 2/ 0
Tillakaratne Dilshan England, 2011 2 253 84.33 1/ 1

A standout feature of Samaraweera's South Africa series was his batting against the local fast bowlers. Of the 339 runs he scored in the series, 260 were against pace, and the only bowler to dismiss him more than once was Vernon Philander, who got him twice conceding 49 runs in 96 balls. Against the other bowlers Samaraweera took the honours: 85 runs off 141 balls against Morne Morkel, one dismissal; 50 off 150 against Dale Steyn, no dismissal; 41 off 65 against Marchant de Lange, one dismissal; and 35 off 83 against Jacques Kallis, no dismissal. As these numbers show, Samaraweera did it the old-fashioned way, digging in, spending time at the crease, and not looking to be too adventurous against fast bowling: he scored only 50 runs against Steyn, but faced 150 deliveries against him without being dismissed once.

In the last decade, no batsman from the subcontinent has scored more runs against pace bowling in a Test series in South Africa.

Most runs by a subcontinent batsman versus fast bowlers in a series in South Africa since Nov 2001
Batsman, season Runs Dismissals Average Run rate
Thilan Samaraweera, 2011-12 260 4 65.00 2.91
Sachin Tendulkar, 2010-11 250 4 62.50 3.15
Taufeeq Umar, 2002-03 220 3 73.33 3.16
Younis Khan, 2006-07 189 5 37.80 3.11
Gautam Gambhir, 2010-11 187 3 62.33 2.50
Sachin Tendulkar, 2001-02 182 3 60.67 4.36

Sri Lankan batsmen have traditionally had a problem against pace and swing - a part of the reason is also lack of opportunities to play in those conditions - which is why Samaraweera's performance is so heartening. Factor in his stats in Sri Lanka's last two overseas series before this one - 202 runs at 50.50 in England, and 187 runs at 62.33 in the West Indies - and it's clear that Samaraweera is among the better overseas batsmen for Sri Lanka. For very long, they have relied largely on Sangakkara and Jayawardene for their middle-order runs, but Samaraweera's stats outside the subcontinent (excluding Zimbabwe) are currently better than those of either of them. Admittedly, he's only played 16 Tests in those countries, but that's also a function of poor scheduling and lack of opportunities, best illustrated by the fact that this was Sri Lanka's first Test series in South Africa since 2002-03.

Among Sri Lankan batsmen who have scored at least 750 Test runs in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa or the West Indies, Samaraweera's average is next only to that of Gurusinha, who averaged 43.90 and scored four hundreds in 11 Tests in those countries. Sangakkara is the only batsman apart from these two to have a 40-plus average, though Aravinda's average must be worth more than 39.52 considering the period he played in.

The most disappointing stats among the players in the list below belong to Jayawardene. In 30 Tests in these countries he averages a mere 32.53, which does scant justice to his talent. His poor series in South Africa - 132 runs at 22 - comes on the back of a dismal tour to England, when he scored 103 runs in six innings. Combine those, and Jayawardene has scored 235 runs in 12 innings, with no half-century.

Sri Lankans in Tests in Aus, Eng, NZ, SA and WI (Qual: 750 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Asanka Gurusinha 11 878 43.90 4/ 2
Thilan Samaraweera 16 1070 41.15 3/ 6
Kumar Sangakkara 28 2055 40.29 5/ 11
Aravinda de Silva 25 1818 39.52 4/ 7
Arjuna Ranatunga 19 1215 37.96 0/ 10
Marvan Atapattu 21 1356 35.68 4/ 6
Tillakaratne Dilshan 16 958 34.21 1/ 6
Mahela Jayawardene 30 1822 32.53 5/ 3
Hashan Tillakaratne 23 1095 30.41 3/ 4
Sanath Jayasuriya 29 1488 28.61 2/ 6

During the series in South Africa, Samaraweera also entered the 5000-run club in Tests. Among the 83 members in that group, his average is currently 11th best, and better than the likes of Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. That's clearly an inflated rank, but if Samaraweera keeps this form going, he'll end up among Sri Lanka's best. Since the beginning of 2008 he averages 69, with 50-plus averages in every country he has played in except India (37.75). The next-best during this period is AB de Villiers, more than four runs behind Samaraweera's average. It's hard to argue with numbers like those.

Highest Test averages since Jan 2008 (Qual: 2000 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Thilan Samaraweera 31 2900 69.04 9/ 14
AB de Villiers 38 3166 64.61 10/ 14
Sachin Tendulkar 43 4043 59.45 14/ 17
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 32 2415 58.90 7/ 13
Ian Bell 36 2731 56.89 10/ 11

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Midwestyaka on | January 15, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Well I wander is the SL selectors take to consideration these kind of stats when selecting the team. It is high time to stop inside politicking and decide the best team to put forward when representing the country. Sri Lankans politicians please leave the game of Cricket alone let people with Cricketing background take care of this.

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | January 15, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Thilan should be given the Test captaincy if the board wants a new captain and Sanga and Mahela refuse again. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY vk6848 on | January 15, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    I hope Sri Lankan selectors/ministers can read :-)

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    But he is not good enough for one Dulip Mendis; Chairman of Selection Committee!

  • POSTED BY rskmax on | January 14, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    Great analysis...Thanks Rajesh & this is an eye opener.Yes, According to this article Thilan is with great players who can score runs in home or away. But I think South African, Australian, England & New Zealand playears also have this type of problem in Asia. Great batsman such as Jacques Kallis has average of 38.86 against Sri Lanka, average of 35.33 in Sri Lanka. Way below his career average of 57.02.... I don't know why they are always only pointing out subcontinent players.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    The selection of Thilan was an afterthought is totally incorrect. The selectors were forced to bring him in by the Minister of Sports. I have never heard in the history of cricket a replacement player included as a cover for a originally selected player can be in the final playing XI when the originally selected player is fit. Dilshan took credit for Durban test win where he did not do anything significant. Then he also took credit for the selection of Thilan whereas it was Dilshan who shut him out of the team because Thilan was a threat to his existence. Even Russel Arnold who I treat with very high regard never mentioned anything on Thilan's exclusion for the Pakistan series. Thilan has had an excellent record against Pakistan and if he was there that series would have been saved. Thilan really failed in only one match on a very difficult wicket in Galle. In second test he scored 17 and 43 which are reasonable runs considering Mahela's contributions in last 3 overseas series.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Every player in the team has a specific role to play. If some players do not perform that role the pressure on others increase. This is simply what is happening with Sri Lanka team. We have a non performing captain. Mahela is a total failure in last 3 overseas tours but he keeps getting opportunities and there are quite a number of followers who would like to have him made captain. Even Sanga is badly underperforming take away that second innings hundred at Durban in which he could have been dismissed very early. Apart from few failures here and there Thilan has performed his role admirably at No. 5 not only in this tour but since he was elevated to No. 5 in batting order. He would have scored many more runs in tests had he was selected to test team at an early age. Even in ODIs he can play the stablizing role and his ODI average is low because he had batted very low down initially. He is ideal choice to be made captain in both formats excluding of course carnival T20 stuff.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    TS deserve something more than this.a place in SL ODI squad

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | January 14, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    So where are the people who called him a flat track bully now? I think the real flat track bullies are being exposed at the moment.

  • POSTED BY asaduzzaman-khan on | January 14, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Very good analysis. Thanks S. Rajesh. Samaraweera is too much underrated. He is the most reliable (if not best; to me, he is the best) test batsman of Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY Midwestyaka on | January 15, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Well I wander is the SL selectors take to consideration these kind of stats when selecting the team. It is high time to stop inside politicking and decide the best team to put forward when representing the country. Sri Lankans politicians please leave the game of Cricket alone let people with Cricketing background take care of this.

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | January 15, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Thilan should be given the Test captaincy if the board wants a new captain and Sanga and Mahela refuse again. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY vk6848 on | January 15, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    I hope Sri Lankan selectors/ministers can read :-)

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    But he is not good enough for one Dulip Mendis; Chairman of Selection Committee!

  • POSTED BY rskmax on | January 14, 2012, 19:39 GMT

    Great analysis...Thanks Rajesh & this is an eye opener.Yes, According to this article Thilan is with great players who can score runs in home or away. But I think South African, Australian, England & New Zealand playears also have this type of problem in Asia. Great batsman such as Jacques Kallis has average of 38.86 against Sri Lanka, average of 35.33 in Sri Lanka. Way below his career average of 57.02.... I don't know why they are always only pointing out subcontinent players.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    The selection of Thilan was an afterthought is totally incorrect. The selectors were forced to bring him in by the Minister of Sports. I have never heard in the history of cricket a replacement player included as a cover for a originally selected player can be in the final playing XI when the originally selected player is fit. Dilshan took credit for Durban test win where he did not do anything significant. Then he also took credit for the selection of Thilan whereas it was Dilshan who shut him out of the team because Thilan was a threat to his existence. Even Russel Arnold who I treat with very high regard never mentioned anything on Thilan's exclusion for the Pakistan series. Thilan has had an excellent record against Pakistan and if he was there that series would have been saved. Thilan really failed in only one match on a very difficult wicket in Galle. In second test he scored 17 and 43 which are reasonable runs considering Mahela's contributions in last 3 overseas series.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    Every player in the team has a specific role to play. If some players do not perform that role the pressure on others increase. This is simply what is happening with Sri Lanka team. We have a non performing captain. Mahela is a total failure in last 3 overseas tours but he keeps getting opportunities and there are quite a number of followers who would like to have him made captain. Even Sanga is badly underperforming take away that second innings hundred at Durban in which he could have been dismissed very early. Apart from few failures here and there Thilan has performed his role admirably at No. 5 not only in this tour but since he was elevated to No. 5 in batting order. He would have scored many more runs in tests had he was selected to test team at an early age. Even in ODIs he can play the stablizing role and his ODI average is low because he had batted very low down initially. He is ideal choice to be made captain in both formats excluding of course carnival T20 stuff.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    TS deserve something more than this.a place in SL ODI squad

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | January 14, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    So where are the people who called him a flat track bully now? I think the real flat track bullies are being exposed at the moment.

  • POSTED BY asaduzzaman-khan on | January 14, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Very good analysis. Thanks S. Rajesh. Samaraweera is too much underrated. He is the most reliable (if not best; to me, he is the best) test batsman of Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | January 14, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Eye-opening article - not only on some significant stats but also because of the way Thilan has been (under) rated. Thanks Rajesh.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    He is way better than Mahela.Drop Mahela and keep him.

  • POSTED BY Sinhabahu on | January 13, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    This is quite a comprehensive analysis. Many thanks for bringing us all these great stats, Rajesh. Samaraweera has been providing us years of silent service like a rock. Now if only the totally smart Sri Lankan selectors could see this report...

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    my respect for samaraveera has increased ten fold! one of those rare srilankan batsmen! keep going samaraveera! wud b interesting 2 see hw he performs in oz

  • POSTED BY ian_ghose on | January 13, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    I guess the title of 'subcontinet bully - overseas silly' has been snatched away from Samarweera by none other than - Virender Sehwag :)

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    Great analysis. For anyone who thought Thilan is not in the same league as Mahela, they got that right. (Nothing against Mahela but he seriously lacks consistency in overall)

    As you had pointed out, Aravinda's average of 39+ should count for a lot more,considering the time he played. It's also important to remember that Aravinda scored a ton of run against Pak in Pak in the 80's against Wasim,Imran Qadar and Co (at their peak, in a time when Pak created bowler friendly wickets), which has not been considered here.

  • POSTED BY merandy on | January 13, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    Rajesh this is a good article. But I want to correct that late inclusion of Thilan to the test squad not selectors' afterthought or to cover up for Mahela. It was just politics. Dilshan did not like Thilan to be in the team. See what his comments on not inclusion of Thilan in ODI squad. SL all out for record breaking 43 and Dilshan thinks Thilan has no place in ODI batting order! Then Duleep Mendis the chairman of selectors said Thilan is old and he is not a part of SL team's future plans. What do you prefer non performing great batsman or two (just one year younger than Thilan) or performing "old" batsman. Why Mendis did not apply his theory to Sanath when the team toured England last year. Former selector Aravinda had a vision. Mendis does not have a vision at all.

  • POSTED BY fast_gun on | January 13, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    All sub continent teams should be given more opportunity to play on these types of pitches, and blood the young talent to learn on them as well! They are the future of cricket after all. ICC should do something about this

  • POSTED BY Pablo123 on | January 13, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    to perform like this in South Africa is the best thing for him. Selection should be automatic now. Well done

  • POSTED BY MENDIS_Forever on | January 13, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    You won't see advertisements,banners,cutouts,fan pages for this guy.But he is the Xavier of our team.Long live Samare!.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    I saw Samaraweera play a superb innings at the Rosebowl v England in 2011 which surely would have earned him a richly deserved century but for a rain intervention on the last afternoon. On what I've seen he would be the first player I'd select in current Sri Lankan XIs, followed by young Chandimal, but it seems that others can fail as often as they like and still get selected.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    he's under-rated. never given enough credit. great article. shows him capability. the problem is Sri Lanka lacks opportunities in Aus,SA and etc to play enough test matches

  • POSTED BY Philip_Gnana on | January 13, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    I see that the writer is comparing Samaraweera with the players from the sub-continent and the Sri Lankans. Rajesh, the point needs to stressed the Samaraweera has been the best of them all not just from from the sub-continent. Sangakkara has been averaging over 40 against the biggies out side the sub-continent and this should not be taken away from him. Whilst praising and applauding a super performance from Thilan, lets not start to be appearing to be condescending and too critical of the rest. By being critical of the SL players you are hiding the non- performance of the rest of the players including those from India & Pakistan too. Jayawardena and Sangakkara have scored hundreds and have had some super performances in England in the past. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • POSTED BY drnaveed on | January 13, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    plz make sure mr duleep mendis also reads this article. being head of the SL cricket board, he and his team of selectors made two mistakes in quick time, one not selecting samraweera for series agianst pakistan at all (had he been selected in the side ,i think the result would have been a bit different).two not selecting him for the one day series against SA. it is not samraweera who should pack up things ,.....

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | January 13, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Samaraweera derves all the accolade especially after being wounded most after a vicious gun attack;which international player could beat him to that?Well done Thilan! Ranil Herath-Kent

  • POSTED BY evenflow_1990 on | January 13, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    brilliant article. hadn't actually noticed any of this until you brought it to our attention ... superb stuff mr rajesh!

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | January 13, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    This guy is way under-rated and should be spoken of in the same breath as Sangakkara, Chanderpaul, Jayawardene, Pietersen, Bell, de Villiers, Younis Khan etc - and he is certainly one of the great Sri Lankan batsmen. Samaraweera was dropped during the series against Aus last August/September and wasn't named in the squad for the series in SA. In my opinion he was made a scapegoat for the SL board after a number of really bad team performances in a couple of series [following Murali and Malinga's retirements].

  • POSTED BY FatBoysCanBat on | January 13, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    @Narbavi: It's not about whether it is too late in his career or not...this is about the fact he is immensely under-rated and has out-performed Sangakkara and Jayawardene [two players who get a lot more recognition then he does].

  • POSTED BY Sulaimaan91 on | January 13, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    @Narbavi, he proved himself a long time back, its only now that people are realizing this and giving him credit.

  • POSTED BY Dhushan on | January 13, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Thank you very much Rajesh for these interesting & EXTREMELY VALUABLE stats. I'm sure our selectors though would have no idea about this unless someone shows them this article. This is why they were stupid enough to drop him from our team. What a joke! Thilan easily has another 2 years, or maybe even more left in him to contribute to Sri Lankan cricket. I hope politics & personal favourations will not interfere with this cricketer's ability to provide us Lions with more test victories!

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Look, it's easy to criticize Mahela now because he is in a form dip. But in the bigger picture, he has been outstanding. Individually Sanga, Mahela, Thilan and Dilshan has proven themselves over and over again with the bat but the problem is the SL cricket setup. Political interference and corruption is now discussed as matters of fact and no one can change it. The ICC demands elected cricket officials and the same interim committee gets elected unopposed. World recognized captains resigns signaling corruption. The cricket board is constantly bankrupt. One of the best test performers (Thilan) is deprived of the test captaincy and sidelined for apparent reason. I could go on but the point is that SL cricket authorities should shape up or face ICC bans very soon.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    I too have been sceptical of Samaraweera's ability but having seen him in theses tests, i am wrong. But he shud not have played in ODis for WC and that was a bad mistake. In present ODIs , he has no place in mid order so it is good he was not selected. Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    It has always been the brainless selections made the Sri Lankan team unbalaned. Everyone else other than the selectors know that Thilan is the main stay of the middle order. When the top order fails, he is the man who held the middle order together with the tail. We lost the preceding series due to this unwise selections. The problem is who is going to pay for these mistakes. It's not the selectors. Like players, they also should get their performances evaluated. Even after 10 years, the selectors have not realised that Dilahara is not ODI material. Thissara, the best pacie in the last series is not in the team. How can you justify the inclusion of K Kulasekara? For batting/bowling? In every department, Thissara is a better player. Thissara should have played in the place of K Kulasekara and Rangana should have played in the place of Dilahara in the last game for a more balanced attack. Operners never give a good start in tests. Have we ever tested Upul in tests & against Para/Lahiru

  • POSTED BY ---lasitha--- on | January 13, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    samare should be a permanent member of the odi team as well

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    I was stunned when they excluded him from the series, much like I was stunned when they excluded Dilshan from the Autralia tour a few years back. Sri Lanka does not have have a large talent pool and they must use their best experienced players as long as they can as long as they can contribute. Now everyone is coming down hard on Mahela. He looks tired and worn out. So does Sanga. They need a break and they should be given one. They have been the heart and soul of the team for a long time. Mahela single-handedly made the world cup final a good one. His innings now forgotten was masterful. Much more so than Dhoni's, Gambir's or Yuvraj's. However great innings are forgotten in a losing cause. We have a fresh, in form Samaraveera. Use him for a few mores years in both Tests and One dayers. If anything they can rest Mahela or Sanka (never drop them, we need them fresh). They look desperately in need of being home with their families.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | January 13, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Silva also tamed the Aussie in ODIs right thru his career with bot the bat and his crafty off-spin and had a very high average. Pity Silva and Gurusinghe barely got enuf tours to these nations. Sanga and Thilan will be key to SL's fortunes during their tour to OZ next summer. Thilan is now a certified world-class bat and with a huge amount of runs against world-class attacks of Pakistan too.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | January 13, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    The problem is with Indian fans (Indian here) along with some non-subcontinent types who have been dissing Samaraweera and Sangakkara needlessly about their so-called lack of runs away from the subcontinent.(Mahela has finally been found out with no returns in 12 straight innings in Eng and SA). You just need opportunities (not 2 Tests!) and frequent tours like a India gets to refine your game and improve averages on pacy decks of SA, OZ (and in a previous era in WI). Tendulkar has finally improved his average in SA after 5 tours (through he also has 5 100s over 2 tours proving his enduring class against top pace attacks from 1992) whereas Dravid's (2nd highest Test aggregate run scorer) very poor run continues in SA over 4 tours and also in OZ (where he really clicked in just 1 tour out of 4). De Silva was just world class and I still remember his strokeful 167 in 1989 OZ tour listening to commentary on Radio Australia. CONTD.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    "but if Samaraweera keeps this form going, he'll end up among Sri Lanka's best."

    He's already 35+. How long can he play? Maximum 2 or 3 years. Can he cross Mahela and Sanga by that time?

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | January 13, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Great. Somewhere his recognition is missing.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    I must say that I was skeptical of Samarweera's ability to score outside the subcontinent but he proved me wrong. Now my doubts have shifted on to Jayawadene. Sanga no doubt is a class act. But the rest of the Srilakan batting order looks fragile.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    I dont know why samaraweera is not ranked highly by people. To me, he is much better batsman in test than over rater jayawardene as can be been by the overseas record. Jayawardene never perform well on bowling pitches so he is flat track bully. Samaraweera should be treated well by the board and selectors because he is very important for the SL team nowadays because they are having alot of batting collapses.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    I think Samaraweera is an extremely under-rated batsman. He's a typical test batsman with a LOT of patience. New blokes like Chandimal should get a batting lesson from Sam, as he can show how to face raging fast bowlers properly. I think they sort of shuffled him by putting him in the One day side, although looking at what happened in the 1st ODI, it wouldnt have been a bad idea to have him.

  • POSTED BY passionate_cricket_follower on | January 13, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    bring him back in the odi squad before it is too late for Sri Lanka. Don't let him go the VVS Laxman way when it comes to ODIs. he wants to play ODI, and will make a very good ODI player. he has it to contribute for at least 2 more years.

  • POSTED BY samviska on | January 13, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    Good article Rajesh. Had not seen one on an under-rated but class player for a long time. One correction: in the first table, the Thilan's South Africa series should be 2011-12 instead of 2001-02.

  • POSTED BY CricketLover1984 on | January 13, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    you guys should understand that the members in the selection committee back in SL never passed statistics! If they didn't how on earth a guys like Thilan who has got the highest test average since 2008 not been selected to the team initially.! ICC should intervene and help SL cricket right now, as the SL board is thing cricket has seen. These people are corrupted and a disease to this game.

  • POSTED BY Narbavi on | January 13, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    proves an overseas point? yes but too late in his career!! Nevertheless, it was a good tour that he had now....

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  • POSTED BY Narbavi on | January 13, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    proves an overseas point? yes but too late in his career!! Nevertheless, it was a good tour that he had now....

  • POSTED BY CricketLover1984 on | January 13, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    you guys should understand that the members in the selection committee back in SL never passed statistics! If they didn't how on earth a guys like Thilan who has got the highest test average since 2008 not been selected to the team initially.! ICC should intervene and help SL cricket right now, as the SL board is thing cricket has seen. These people are corrupted and a disease to this game.

  • POSTED BY samviska on | January 13, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    Good article Rajesh. Had not seen one on an under-rated but class player for a long time. One correction: in the first table, the Thilan's South Africa series should be 2011-12 instead of 2001-02.

  • POSTED BY passionate_cricket_follower on | January 13, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    bring him back in the odi squad before it is too late for Sri Lanka. Don't let him go the VVS Laxman way when it comes to ODIs. he wants to play ODI, and will make a very good ODI player. he has it to contribute for at least 2 more years.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    I think Samaraweera is an extremely under-rated batsman. He's a typical test batsman with a LOT of patience. New blokes like Chandimal should get a batting lesson from Sam, as he can show how to face raging fast bowlers properly. I think they sort of shuffled him by putting him in the One day side, although looking at what happened in the 1st ODI, it wouldnt have been a bad idea to have him.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    I dont know why samaraweera is not ranked highly by people. To me, he is much better batsman in test than over rater jayawardene as can be been by the overseas record. Jayawardene never perform well on bowling pitches so he is flat track bully. Samaraweera should be treated well by the board and selectors because he is very important for the SL team nowadays because they are having alot of batting collapses.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    I must say that I was skeptical of Samarweera's ability to score outside the subcontinent but he proved me wrong. Now my doubts have shifted on to Jayawadene. Sanga no doubt is a class act. But the rest of the Srilakan batting order looks fragile.

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | January 13, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Great. Somewhere his recognition is missing.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    "but if Samaraweera keeps this form going, he'll end up among Sri Lanka's best."

    He's already 35+. How long can he play? Maximum 2 or 3 years. Can he cross Mahela and Sanga by that time?

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | January 13, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    The problem is with Indian fans (Indian here) along with some non-subcontinent types who have been dissing Samaraweera and Sangakkara needlessly about their so-called lack of runs away from the subcontinent.(Mahela has finally been found out with no returns in 12 straight innings in Eng and SA). You just need opportunities (not 2 Tests!) and frequent tours like a India gets to refine your game and improve averages on pacy decks of SA, OZ (and in a previous era in WI). Tendulkar has finally improved his average in SA after 5 tours (through he also has 5 100s over 2 tours proving his enduring class against top pace attacks from 1992) whereas Dravid's (2nd highest Test aggregate run scorer) very poor run continues in SA over 4 tours and also in OZ (where he really clicked in just 1 tour out of 4). De Silva was just world class and I still remember his strokeful 167 in 1989 OZ tour listening to commentary on Radio Australia. CONTD.