England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day June 24, 2014

The pearl and the bank clerk

The stories of Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath sum up the Sri Lanka team, an under-prepared, under-financed group who refused to be beaten by England
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Sri Lanka's GDP ranking in 2013 was 112, the UK were 21. They have a very small population compared to the other subcontinent cricket nations. Transparency International ranks them as the 91st least-corrupt nation on earth. They have only one really big modern city. Their cricket is mismanaged by selfish inept politicians. The team is signed off by the government. They don't always pay their cricketers.

But this year they have beaten the world. And now they've beaten England with men who have lost their houses in tsunamis, been shot at by terrorists, competition winners and a tubby man who works at a bank.

Sri Lanka is a special place.

---

At the Sampath Bank headquarters in Colombo there is a round-faced man smiling happily, wearing a polo shirt with the bank's logo on it. He is being felicitated. He is a finger-spinning maestro. He is a World T20 winner. And this man, Rangana Herath, is also an employee at the bank.

Not in a ceremonial way. Not just to beef up their cricket team. Herath actually works at the bank. Doing things that people do in banks. He probably has his own coffee mug there. When Herath sees the Sri Lanka cricket schedule, one of his first calls is to his bank manager. To ask for leave to travel to the tour.

Herath worked there when he made his comeback to Test cricket in 2009. Herath worked there this while he took more Test wickets than any other bowler in 2012. Herath worked there even while he was ranked the second-best Test bowler on earth.

Twenty-four days before his felicitation, Herath took 1-23 in four overs. Sri Lanka won the World T20 that day.

---

Sri Lanka Cricket is currently in debt. An exact amount is unknown. It was at one stage supposed to be US$70m. That is to pay for new stadiums that replaced the old stadiums that were in some cases not that old. This led them to not pay their players.

According to Forbes, MS Dhoni was worth US$30m last year. He captained the side that Sri Lanka beat in the World T20 final. In sport, money does buy wins. Internationally, less so. But Sri Lanka are playing cricket off the field in a way that the other countries haven't done for decades. Their support staff is understaffed, undertrained, and at times seemingly not able to do their own research. They rely on the touring journalists for a lot that cricket board staff would usually do. They are comically unprofessional.

This is the first Test series that Sri Lanka had sent players over early to properly acclimatise before the tour. Herath and Shaminda Eranga both came over. It was a step towards professionalism in a sport that has been professional for years.

---

North of Colombo there is a town called Chilaw. There is an ancient Hindu temple in Chilaw that was once visited by Gandhi. Every year they have the Munneswaram festival. It was once famous for pearls. And they have a first-class cricket team: the Chilaw Marians Cricket Club.

Shaminda Eranga comes from Chilaw.

Like many in Sri Lanka, the cricketers from Chilaw are largely invisible inside the system. There are Test-quality cricketers playing on the streets of the Hikkaduwa right now that will never play with a hard cricket ball in their life.

Eranga was not playing first-class cricket. He was not in the system. He shouldn't have made it at all. But like his seam-bowling partner Nuwan Pradeep, he made his way to a fast-bowling competition. He bowled fast. But five guys bowled faster. Somehow the sixth-fastest bowler in that completion was picked for Chilaw Marians Cricket Club. Five years later he would clean bowl Brad Haddin with his second ball in international cricket.

Eranga is the closest thing Chilaw has produced to a pearl in a very long time.

Sri Lanka played gritty, tough, bits-and-pieces cricket that mostly was just keeping them in touch of England, nothing more. They just refused to be beaten. They just refused to go away

---

Herath has been in Test cricket since 1999. He invented a carrom ball. He disappeared back into first-class cricket and the bank, and was in club cricket in England when he was picked for his comeback.

There are no billboards in Sri Lanka with his face on them. He's not famous like Kumar, Mahela, Lasith or Angelo. Even Ajantha Mendis is sponsored by chicken sausages. Herath may be a Test bowler with over 200 wickets who has carried a poor attack for years, but he's just a really good player, not a star or legend.

Against Stuart Broad, Herath had bowled around the wicket with a low arm action. Broad takes a big step forward when he defends spinners. Herath bowled the ball exactly from the right angle, with the right amount of turn, to ensure that Broad would miss one.

Against James Anderson, he bowled over the wicket with a high arm action. Anderson gets right over the ball when it's full, and can dangle his bat when it's slightly shorter. Herath was trying to find either of these two dismissals.

Broad missed his, Anderson survived.

---

Eranga spent most of the first innings not getting anywhere. There was some swing, but not enough. He bowled a great line and length to Sam Robson, but couldn't get the edge. England just moved further and further away with the game. Even the second new ball did nothing for him. Sri Lanka were all but gone. But then they got the wicket of Ian Bell. It was Eranga's wicket. He added Moeen Ali's wicket to it. The next morning he had Chris Jordan and Anderson as well. They were still behind, but they were within some kind of touch.

In the second innings, Eranga bowled the worst he had in the series. At Lord's he was the pick of the bowling; in the first innings at Headingley he inspired the comeback. But when his team really needed him to help win the game in this innings, he couldn't get it right. He lost his line and length. He didn't make people play. He was too short. The only time he looked good was when he just tried to knock Joe Root's mouth off. That didn't work either. Then when he took a wicket, that of Jordan, he also overstepped.

Eranga's first 23.4 overs were just not great.

It was probably mostly luck that he received the last over. Dhammika Prasad had bowled the second last over. Herath could not outfox Anderson. Pradeep looked spent. And Angelo Mathews had lost his first innings magic.

Eranga was just the man who was left.

---

Sri Lanka feel like they don't get the credit they deserve. They feel that when they win, it is Yuvraj's (or whoever else that game) fault. Or the home conditions helped them. Or the other team was just useless. On Monday at Headingley, they started one of the great comebacks in modern Test cricket. Their captain played one of the great knocks of modern Test cricket. They were on the verge of their first ever series win in England. Their first major series win outside Asia for almost 20 years.

And the next day the cricket world talked about the other captain who had a shocker.

Before the tour they lost their coach to the opposition. While here they have been accused of breaking the spirit of cricket. Their spinner was accused of breaking the laws of cricket. Their bowlers were pop gun and a glorified county attack. Their batmen were suspect against the moving and short ball. They would be bombed by the short ball. They were sent in to be annihilated here. They felt under siege.

At Lord's it got even worse when Broad and Anderson attacked them with the ball, and the English players, lead by the extremely mouthy Root, came at them very hard. Pradeep was almost beheaded. After that they were upset by Cook's comments about Sachithra Senanayake's action. And England had dominated them for eight straight days of cricket.

They were sick and tired of being plucky cheerful losers. They wanted a win. They saw one. And they became very vocal. Root's ears will be ringing from his entire innings. Broad's unscheduled toilet break 20 minutes into his innings probably got more of the same.

---

This is not the strongest team Sri Lanka have brought to England. They've had Murali, Dilshan, Jayasuriya and Vaas to bring before. This team has two all-time greats, one potential great, and the second-best spinner they have ever had.

It also has Nuwan Pradeep and his bowling average of 72.78. It has Dimuth Karunaratne, who is immune to going out early, or making runs from his starts. Lahiru Thirimanne, who stopped believing runs existed. And Prasanna Jayawardene, who looked a spent force with bat and gloves.

Mahela Jayawardene never made a hundred. Herath never took a five-for. Nuwan Kulasekera was dropped after the first Test. But people kept stepping up. They had batted an entire fifth day to save an overseas Test only once before. But they all chipped in and did it with one of the worst batsmen in world cricket somehow surviving. Their bowling could never compete with England's, so their fielders took many more of their chances. Their middle order slipped up in the third innings at Headingley, so their tail made runs.

It was gritty, tough, bits-and-pieces cricket that mostly was just keeping them in touch of England, nothing more. They just refused to be beaten. They just refused to go away. They didn't smile, or play nice. They clawed and screamed.

On paper this Sri Lanka should never beat England. They should have been outgunned in almost every way. In preparation. Financial. Backroom. Coaching. Facilities. And even in the players who were involved. Virtually every single thing about England should have been better than Sri Lanka.

---

Anderson was playing for England by the time he was 21. He's the embodiment of a professional cricketer. You can see his face on the back of buses in London. He has won games with the ball all round the world. He's saved games with the bat. Today he faced 54 balls with the knowledge that any mistake and his team would lose a Test, a series, become a joke. Yet he played almost every ball well. Stoically. Until Sri Lanka very nearly gave up.

On the 55th ball, a world-class professional sportsman was bounced by the sixth-fastest bowler from the North Western Province and caught by a chubby slow guy from Kurunegala.

The pearl and the bank clerk. Sri Lanka is a special place.

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sol09 on June 26, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    A very unusual, well-written article. It is amazing how a poverty-stricken and, up to recently, war-torn country can produce world-beating teams. Sri Lanka, and the ICC, were ridiculed when they were admitted to league of test nations in 1981; 15 years later they won the world cup. With so little financial support, they are able to beat the most prosperous countries with all their mod cons. Sri Lanka IS a remarkable place.

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    Its the hunger to win and what you do on the field that matters more than the backroom expertise you pack in. For years, Sri Lanka's cricketers came from privileged backgrounds but now there is a new breed with that hunger....... the hunger to win and excel and show off the beauty of this tiny pearl!

  • SLC-2020 on June 28, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    I salute you for writing this fine article touching all bases of SL cricket. I wish, local journalists had the same vision to highlight those deeply rooted stumbling blocks, generating within & outside SL.

    As you have nicely summarized, the Success Story of SL Cricket has been, always based on the collective efforts of a FEW actual work-horses in the side. They always have to pull the weight of the privileged bunch, riding on courtesy tickets issued by the upper echelons of the hierarchical system prevailing in SL. Cricket. Great players are the frequent victims of this system. Sanga, MJ, Malinga, Dil, Herath etc had faced this force in various forms during the past. Tharanga is the latest victim of this menace! What else can we expect from a system filled with, politically influenced comical mismanagement?

    A few Perls & Clerks emerged on pure talent bring success for SL to be swanked by SLC as their achievements! By now, SL should have been #1 in all 3 formats, if not for SLC.!

  • on June 28, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Jarrod, this is one of the best cricket articles I have read about Sri Lankan cricket. You are absolutely correct. Great job. One question? Why did you guys stop two chucks?

  • on June 28, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    As to how the boy's behaved after they won against England was a bit unruly except for Sangakara & Mhhela Jayawardede who were out of the picture when this happened the board should teach some of them to act more decently like gentlemen & not behave like a pack of Kids when they win a match & not roll on the ground.It's good to win but things should orderly & not go to extremes.Please the Board should teach this to the boys.

  • SaraJeff on June 27, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Correct me if I am wrong.We never saw an article like this so highly appreciated and valued by people across the cricketing world.

  • KK47 on June 27, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Highly entertaining but a bit over-the-top article. But it emphasizes one very critical and generally forgotten thing. ITS THE SKILL OF CRICKETERS WHO WIN OR LOSE MATCHES, NOT ANY OTHER PERIPHERAL STUFF. Every team should realize this central point and the boards should look to improve their players game rather than just hoping for favorable results by poaching or appointing fancy people as support staff. Well done SL. Deserved winners.

  • on June 27, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    A very special message. The real story of Sri Lanka cricket. Read through, if you have the time. Thank you Jarrod Kimber.

  • Dimesh on June 27, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    I red similar story about 1996 WC by Roshan Mahanama. How Sri Lankan Players prepared for it over the years with having painful days which Big Cricket Greats Smashing Ball like rockets at them and the players with broken pads and guards hiding there pain and face the great bowlers.

  • DilumSL on June 27, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    If you are a Sri lankan and you love cricket(almost 90% sri lankans do), you will be wetting your eyes after reading this. Thank you Mr.Jarrod Kimber

  • Sol09 on June 26, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    A very unusual, well-written article. It is amazing how a poverty-stricken and, up to recently, war-torn country can produce world-beating teams. Sri Lanka, and the ICC, were ridiculed when they were admitted to league of test nations in 1981; 15 years later they won the world cup. With so little financial support, they are able to beat the most prosperous countries with all their mod cons. Sri Lanka IS a remarkable place.

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:50 GMT

    Its the hunger to win and what you do on the field that matters more than the backroom expertise you pack in. For years, Sri Lanka's cricketers came from privileged backgrounds but now there is a new breed with that hunger....... the hunger to win and excel and show off the beauty of this tiny pearl!

  • SLC-2020 on June 28, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    I salute you for writing this fine article touching all bases of SL cricket. I wish, local journalists had the same vision to highlight those deeply rooted stumbling blocks, generating within & outside SL.

    As you have nicely summarized, the Success Story of SL Cricket has been, always based on the collective efforts of a FEW actual work-horses in the side. They always have to pull the weight of the privileged bunch, riding on courtesy tickets issued by the upper echelons of the hierarchical system prevailing in SL. Cricket. Great players are the frequent victims of this system. Sanga, MJ, Malinga, Dil, Herath etc had faced this force in various forms during the past. Tharanga is the latest victim of this menace! What else can we expect from a system filled with, politically influenced comical mismanagement?

    A few Perls & Clerks emerged on pure talent bring success for SL to be swanked by SLC as their achievements! By now, SL should have been #1 in all 3 formats, if not for SLC.!

  • on June 28, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Jarrod, this is one of the best cricket articles I have read about Sri Lankan cricket. You are absolutely correct. Great job. One question? Why did you guys stop two chucks?

  • on June 28, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    As to how the boy's behaved after they won against England was a bit unruly except for Sangakara & Mhhela Jayawardede who were out of the picture when this happened the board should teach some of them to act more decently like gentlemen & not behave like a pack of Kids when they win a match & not roll on the ground.It's good to win but things should orderly & not go to extremes.Please the Board should teach this to the boys.

  • SaraJeff on June 27, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Correct me if I am wrong.We never saw an article like this so highly appreciated and valued by people across the cricketing world.

  • KK47 on June 27, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Highly entertaining but a bit over-the-top article. But it emphasizes one very critical and generally forgotten thing. ITS THE SKILL OF CRICKETERS WHO WIN OR LOSE MATCHES, NOT ANY OTHER PERIPHERAL STUFF. Every team should realize this central point and the boards should look to improve their players game rather than just hoping for favorable results by poaching or appointing fancy people as support staff. Well done SL. Deserved winners.

  • on June 27, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    A very special message. The real story of Sri Lanka cricket. Read through, if you have the time. Thank you Jarrod Kimber.

  • Dimesh on June 27, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    I red similar story about 1996 WC by Roshan Mahanama. How Sri Lankan Players prepared for it over the years with having painful days which Big Cricket Greats Smashing Ball like rockets at them and the players with broken pads and guards hiding there pain and face the great bowlers.

  • DilumSL on June 27, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    If you are a Sri lankan and you love cricket(almost 90% sri lankans do), you will be wetting your eyes after reading this. Thank you Mr.Jarrod Kimber

  • on June 27, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    Brilliant...how true... Hope SL gets a third test

  • on June 27, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    Brilliant article... So aesthetically put.. Loved every word of it.. :) It was one of the exciting day of Test Cricket, which embodies the fact that Test Cricket is the most beautiful form of Cricket.

  • ms2000 on June 27, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Jarrod this is the 4th time i read your article. Its just amazing. You added a fan! Few on earth say what you have mentioned. Few on earth will apprcciate this tiny Island and its people. You are compared to our great friend of Sri Lanka Late Tony Greig. Thank you Jarrod for such a fine article. Welcome to Sri Lanka!!

  • Julian12 on June 27, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    Brilliant piece of journalistic writing. sometimes it feels as though the Srilanka are the most underestimated bunch, they are smart cricketers that can read situations ver well. I think the only thing they lacked over the years would have been that aggression which they have had in dribs and drabs.

    Its Heartning to seea nation who have one of the lowest populations and resources out of the Major Test playing nations find their Fire.

  • kila995 on June 27, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    WOW this is well written article , hats off .

  • on June 27, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan I am really thanking Mr.Jarrod Kimber for writing of a such a article. please visit Sri lanka and enjoy with our people. we have enormous talents people. please protect Sri Lankans.

  • anoop3301 on June 27, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    Hats off to SL for pulling off a fantastic win. They have played breath-taking cricket this summer and fully deserve all the accolades.

  • GVKM on June 26, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    very interesting article Jarrod, always look forward for your articles.

  • shiyanaero on June 26, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    @ Indunil Sameera Danthanarayana Not 60 million, it's just 20 million

  • on June 26, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    "Sri Lanka feel like they don't get the credit they deserve. They feel that when they win, it is Yuvraj's (or whoever else that game) fault. Or the home conditions helped them. Or the other team was just useless" So true...

  • YogifromNY on June 26, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    Jarrod, absolutely - brilliant - article. Fantastic writing that really conveys a deep sense of who and what this Sri Lankan team is. I am a supporter of the Indian team based in the US and I have all respect for these Sri Lankans and the way they play. They deserved the T20 World Cup and they truly earned this Test win in England.

    If the ICC really cared about cricket, they would fund cricket in places like SL(and a host of other nations, like Pakistan, West Indies, NZ, Ireland, Afghanistan, Kenya, and Canada) instead of just focusing on enriching the Big Three Boards. A thriving sport in all these countries would ultimately mean long term survival and enrichment of all, not just a short term enrichment of the few.

  • AnkCric on June 26, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    Aha....what an hearty read!!!!

  • ami77 on June 26, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Nicely written article. Love reading it till the end. It must be a special place when they can produce world class players with relatively low financial support and being a small country compared to most other cricketing nations. Almost everybody come from Sri Lanka are from Colombo. It's like all the other cities in Sri Lanka is not open to the world. There has been a time where all the cricketers in the national team come from Colombo and things have started changing only from recent times after Murali and Jayasuriya joined the team. If they can spread the cricket and give some facilities to other small cities in the country they will find many more world class players.

  • on June 26, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    A fine example of good journalism. Well written article. Really enjoyed reading it. Sri Lankans have always had the 'Never give Up' mentality. And our boys displayed that against England. We are a country of less than 60 million people, yet we continue to produce cricketers that are as good as any on Earth.

  • HTNVR on June 26, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan, thanks Jarrod for the obviously well-intentioned words, and yes, it was a fabulous performance! At the same time I should add that Sri Lanka is not at all the miserable sounding place that this article might (unintentionally) project! Not even close. Sure it has its problems, we are all aware of it, but at the same it these problems don't occupy a disproportionate part of our thoughts or lives. Not even close. All countries have their problems, of course, and my gut feeling is that our problems feel just the same size as most, give or take :) Of course, this does not mean Sri Lanka is not a special place. It is. :)

  • on June 26, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Deeply analysed about SL's Situation and produced a really good article by Kimber. Loved every word of it.

  • IMG_SL on June 26, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Extremely well written article by Kimber. Loved every word of it...

  • Aditha on June 26, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    What a great read..fascinating !

  • on June 26, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    best cricket article of the year

  • on June 26, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    Cricket was played in Ceylon since 1870s, and so was rugby for that matter. facilities available at leading schools and clubs for both cricket and rugby are some of the best you'll find outside Eng,Aus and SA. There is a sizeble population with an excellent education and English tastes in Colombo, Kandy and even in other major towns around the country. yes SL is a relatively poor country on statistics, but we never believe we are poor in ability or skill when we compete with other nations. Very proud to be a Sri Lankan.

  • on June 26, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Well deserved credit to all.

  • on June 26, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    Jarrod Kimber i really appreciate that in this article you highlight how much our country has achieved despite all its problems, and I appreciate that although our country doesn't have a good and properly professional system we manage to get world class results and are producing great cricketers, and this context should not be ignored when measuring our achievements. However at the same time this should not be the only yardstick by which our performance is measured. In Test matches granted we still have a way to go, but in limited overs cricket Sri Lanka has demonstrated it's world class over and over again, and is better than most teams in World Cricket, in Test cricket it still has a way to go to be considered amongst the upper echelon of cricketing countries who perform well consistently, however in limited overs cricket it has won every tournament at least once ( something Australia, South Africa and England have yet to do) and beating countries bilateral series wise for a while.

  • on June 26, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    I like this article but I think the gulf between Anderson and Herath isn't that large.Anderson has performed really well but is much better at Home than overseas, especially done terribly in Australia. Herath has done well in South Africa ,New Zealand places where Spin isn't extremely suited and was decent in Australia, he has saved games with the bat as well, not just this one time at Headingly. However actually I must concede that on thing that does differentiate Anderson and Herath, is as a matchwinner and I guess thats the only stat that matters, Anderson wins more matches than Herath, but then again Anderson had Broad and Swann at the other end, whilst Herath really only had Eranga ad that was recently (although if Lakmal can get back the pace he showed in the Pakistan series then watch out) .Herath has played 40 less matches and has more 5 wicket hauls and 10-wicket match hauls than Anderson, but he does have a higher strike rate than Anderson.Anderso good but Herath not far beh

  • on June 26, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    Great Article! Excellent Writing! I wish Bangladesh Cricket Team learn same intensity from Lankan Lions! Respect from Bangladesh to SL Cricket Team!!!

  • on June 26, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Well written article.. Hats off..

  • Dimesh on June 26, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    Patchmaster, what if cook wins in Next series?

  • on June 26, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    The pearl and the bank clerk & Sri Lanka is a special place...yah it is ........... i love how he finished this...well said Mr.Jarrod Kimber...This is a very hard pill to swallow to Englishmen & others haters who insult or try to ruin Sri lankan Pride ..

  • mahlon on June 26, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    What a fantastic article. One of the few that makes you sit up and realize the achievements of SL. Great Great Article.

  • prashan911 on June 26, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    "Sri Lanka feel like they don't get the credit they deserve. They feel that when they win, it is Yuvraj's (or whoever else that game) fault. Or the home conditions helped them. Or the other team was just useless. On Monday at Headingley, they started one of the great comebacks in modern Test cricket. Their captain played one of the great knocks of modern Test cricket. They were on the verge of their first ever series win in England. Their first major series win outside Asia for almost 20 years. And the next day the cricket world talked about the other captain who had a shocker. " 100% True !!! Hats off!!!

  • on June 26, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    Jarrod Hats off to u Sir !! Great Writing ....

  • on June 26, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    what a great piece of writing. absolute class. thank you Jarrod.

  • Hasi21 on June 26, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    Great artical.. Its all about succese of Sri lankans, They are never give up

  • SLT20WCS on June 26, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    @Sol09, Sri Lanka is not poverty stricken at all my friend. You've talking about some other Country I guess? Yes, there are the poor (Name me one Country where there are no poor) but we Lankans are not poverty stricken at all. Please do some fact finding before you write. Thanks you...

  • on June 26, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    This is master piece mate. Probably the best article I read here in Cricinfo. And this article is within my alltime top 5. Nicely shaped. All the very best Mr. Kimble.

  • on June 26, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    well said. . . . gd luck lions. . .

  • on June 26, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    Wonderful piece of writing. All this pre match talk of Srilanka being an county side and could be beaten easily proved to be a boomerang . Congragulations srilanka on an epic win.

  • on June 26, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    Such a wonderful article :) Huge credit should go to Sanath Jayasuriya as well he was the guy who is behind all these new moves picking up the correct guys and keeping the team together, He planed all this he sent the players early to England likewise he truly wanted to make this tour a success and he is the only guy who can control the political interactions as he is doing. Lucky to have him truly and huge credit should go to ECB and paul farbrace for giving Sl team the Motivation !!!

  • on June 26, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    Very proud of Eranga. As a fan from chilaw, the city of pearls. I hope he will be an inspiration for many more talented young guys lives around the cost of pearls. Pearls are not that rare there, but it's a matter of crack the shell and give em a wipe.

  • WTEH on June 26, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    One of the best impartial honest articles written about Sri Lankan cricket by a foreigner. We salute for your passion for cricket.. bravo

  • on June 26, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    Exceptional piece of writing!

  • on June 26, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Thank you Jarrod. One of the best article which I read from Cricinfo.

  • on June 26, 2014, 2:18 GMT

    This is the best article i have read. This is the article that all the people want to read. what is the background of our cricketers and what happened in English soil. hats off lionssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • on June 26, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Great piece.Wished to the SL team!

  • priya65 on June 26, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    This is disguised denigrating of SL as well. Englishmen can go to sleep thinking that theirs is the better team. People don't seem to understand how and why Sri Lanka wins. It is their resilience, every touring sri lankan side is rated as no hopers. People don't get it. You need 10 good balls to get a side out. Sri Lanka produced that before the others did. People should now realize that Sri Lanka performs well when they feel cornered. it is better not to intimidate them. Matches are not won on paper, speed guns and academies. They are won on the field. Opponents of SL should realize that. Winning or losing doesn't depend on GDP or transparency. Herath is a local hero, and banks employ them for their marketing value. This is not a David Goliath thing. England is no Giant. They don't play good cricket and fairly and squarely beaten, There is no Eight day dominations, In this test they dominated for day and two thirds, After that it was all sri lanka.

  • vatsap on June 26, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Super. Test cricket is not easy business and the Sri Lankans have just given it a fresh lease. Hope this is the first of many and they can win in Australia and India. The story of the humble Herath and other simple folks like Eranga is why we love the game. Pretty sure Herath would be back in his bank shortly. Matthews is doing a splendid job, he will need more support from the batters once Sanga and Mahela retire.

    Hard luck England, it is always so depressing to lose after coming so close to save it.

  • KingPower on June 26, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    Phenomenal article from Jarrod Kimber.....you are truly one of the Greatest Cricket writers I have come across, in a long time! Kudos to CricInfo!

  • on June 26, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    The pearl and the bank clerk. Sri Lanka is a special place. what an article. master piece of writing.. hats off to Jarrod...

  • sarupya on June 26, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    What a great article. It;s the first time I have read Jarrod Kimber and I am deeply impressed. Hats off to you, Sir! You are indeed a scholar. You have whet my appetite and I look forward to reading as many of your articles as I can.

  • Patchmaster on June 25, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    Cook's negativity basically lost the test for ENG and Sri Lanka certainly latched onto Cook's flacid captaincy.

  • Puffin on June 25, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    Well, hats off big time to SL for the win: it is something special to win overseas in alien conditions, where the things that work at home don't work so well. SL plainly prepared themselves for the job, and it worked. It's not first time they have been badly underestimated (see 1984 at Lords). There was me wondering what might happen with Murali gone - I can't see any huge problem. Yet England lose a world class player, and look what happens.

  • Happy_hamster on June 25, 2014, 22:31 GMT

    As I have stated before as an Englishman I really like SL, for a small country (by Asian standards) with limited resources they always exceed expectations; and when they lose they do not come up with a hundred excuses. They won a tight well contested mini series and now the initial disappointment has gone I can reflect on some real positives for my team with players coming through well. Moeen, Jordan, Root, Balance and Robson will be the nucleus of a new era for England, as long as we can remain competitive during the transition, losses like this I for one can stomach.

  • amuni12 on June 25, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    Jarrod's writing is an exceptional piece of art. What a skill! I always love his writing. I hope England will bounce back from this. There is a saying that attitude is like a flat tire. Unless you fix it you won't go anywhere. English cricketers should learn to respect the opponent.

  • ygkd on June 25, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    I love the way the Lankans play their cricket. But I can't say I love two-Test series all that much. It's like a FIFA World Cup final played in one half, not that I love soccer either. Another match would've been very interesting. Could the Poms have come back? Anyway, it's still a win and a great one at that, so congratulations to the most watchable cricket team in the world. I wish more teams played with their spirit.

  • Philip_Gnana on June 25, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    They came, they saw and they conquered. What better way to put it. It reminds me of the British Military going to Iraq 10 years ago sharing arsenal when compare to the Yanks who had arsenal and equipment to spare.

    You could call the team made in the likeness of a patch work quilt according to some pundits.

    So a bowling attack which was less than a country outfit beating a team which was less than a county team in effect. Did not the amateurs stuff the professionals? I have read this article that has been written with a sense of passion, guilt and admiration all put together. Compelling read Mr Kimber and well researched too. I am more educated and knowledgeable now after this read. Thank you for having dissected the truth and expanded on it and made it more truthful. Philip Gnana, Surrey.

  • on June 25, 2014, 21:40 GMT

    Jarrod you sound more like a Sri Lankan, I wonder whether even a SL sports journalist can produce a wonderful article like this, it's so nice to read, you remind me of Tony Great (sorry Greig) who was a lover of SL cricket and did not hold back when he had to give credit to cricketers, well done write more about the reality of cricket in SL

  • on June 25, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    nice article. SL is moving upward. this year is theirs for sure. been winning almost everything. winning against BD, asia cup, world t20, odi and test series against england. the best thing is that young players are playing huge part in these successes. captain is improving day by day and his own performance is great. credit must be given to selectors and management as well for the results.

  • on June 25, 2014, 20:25 GMT

    not the best by jarrod, dunno why's everyone raving about the article ( mostly lankans ), yes the facilities in sri lanka r poor but not so much, it is a special place with special players, de silva, sanath, kumar, mahela, etc. but that is xpected cuz amazing role models!! eranga still not a pearl cuz this was a poor england side (look at plunkett's shot) nd herath is good but not very, he wont exvel in difficult cnditions ever!! look at his strike rate!!

  • awesomefan on June 25, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    Great writing.. Ease and catchy.

  • on June 25, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    One of the best articles my Mr Kimber , a person who is madly in love with the game can write this , thanks Mr Kimber !!!

  • Naguleshwaran on June 25, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    Great article and Well written.Hats off to you Jarrod.

  • on June 25, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    Very nice article thank you. Herath needed this and Eranga too.

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    England got their own medicine when ROOT was getting the in his ribcage and when ANDERSON got that final delivery, this goes to show the SL too can provide hostile deliveries.

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    What an Extraordinary piece of Writing...

    Modern Masters of White Ball Cricket taught the Teacher of Red Ball Cricket how to play TEST CRICKET...

    Sri Lanka is a Special Place!!! :)

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    Dear Mr. Kimber, you sir are a gentleman and a scholar. I take my hat off to you. Superb article.

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    Congratulations to SL team and fans

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:07 GMT

    Extremely well written , true fighters the lankan lions Namo Namo Namo Namo Maata

  • Prabhash1985 on June 25, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    How do you know all these Jarrod? Really like your funny but deep talks...

  • on June 25, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    weldone sri lanka one of best side of cricket

  • on June 25, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    This is not only an article. Jarrod mentioning some areas inside of the srilankan cricket and how politics effects to SL cricket. As a international jurnalist he is did well. Go head Jarrod!

  • on June 25, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Thank you Jarrod... for the very special article you created for all Sri Lankens, you sound like our bellowed Tony Greig for ever.

    All comments you stated are the very fact of Sri Lanken cricket. Wonder is their many wonderful human being like you.

    Thank you again

  • on June 25, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Saminda must follow dale stayn. Both have similarities and saminda can improve his speed and swing. Also he must follow aggression of stayn. Then our next world cup team include best fast balling combination. Mali - Saminda (Stayn) - Kula. Good luck suminda.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    Well written Sri lanka truly deserve all the credit. This puts a huge amount of pressure for Indians to perform

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    Excellent article Jarrod. You exposed interesting facts about Sri Lankan cricket to the world and that adds spice to the victory. The bits about Chilaw and Eranga touched me most as I have a lot to do with the region. St Mary's has produced a rare pearl!I would not forget Dhammika's five for and the bank clerk's defiant 48. In short Sri Lankans' passion and committment towards the game has overcome all other obstacles! Well done Sri lanka. You gave us something to be ecstatic.

  • eddie_1 on June 25, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    Thank goodness for the IPL.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    what an article beautiful wow .............

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    Believe me there will be many more from here.....That's for sure..

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Believe me there will be many more from here.....That's for sure..

  • CrikBug on June 25, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    I was sharing the same feelings with many of the comments already published, by the time i was done reading this great article, INCLUDING liking Jarrod to Lankans' great friend Tony Greig! Love from Sri Lanka Jarrod! Respect! A word to the Big3, by the way - dont poke the sleeping lion!...ha ha ha

  • mikeindex on June 25, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    Very nicely written piece. Jarrod Kimber is definitely my favourite Cricinfo correspondent and high up among current cricket writers.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    Outrightly Well Written and Well Informed ... This Was Worth Reading ... For Cricket Lovers Something Good In Midst Of #FIFA14

  • BNG2010 on June 25, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Awesome article, the likes of Zimbabwe could learn a thing or two from Sri Lanka

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Great article Jarrod

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    This is the best article that i read for years in cricinfo.. in my opinion this article should be awarded... Great Work ..

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    SL Have Achieved Much Expected Test Win Through Hardship.Full Credit to Mooen Ali Defending and Controlling the Game in Favour of England.It is Ali Who Made the Mistake Giving Anderson to Face the Last Over.Ali Was well Set and SL Bowlers Unable to Grab His wicket Untill the last over Being Bowled.Perhaps this Test Match also would have Drawn. England would have Share the Honour.However i am Happy Sl Fought to the End, Cool Captain Did Not Panic.Congratulations to Srilanka,

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    This is how a true sportsman is .... amazing article and wonderful players

  • nishans32 on June 25, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    Srilankan Players perform a thousand times better when they play for the National team. This is one reason why we have done ever so well in the recent tournaments , why we have punched well above our weight in a lot of tournaments.

    Think about it... we are all proud be Srilankan especially when it comes to sport (Not so much when it comes to politics etc... ). We support our country passionately but always respectful towards our players, other teams and supporters of other nations.

    We feel very proud it when good things are being said about our little island and this Article is right up there

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:06 GMT

    One of the finest piece of sports article I have ever read. Thank you Jarrod. Want more from you.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:06 GMT

    One of the best articles written in cricinfo. It was like a novel. Still it was a good study and an analysis. Hats off to Jarrod. Thank you.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    fantastic article.it is different and nice writing.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Great article. Congrats Sri Lanka.

  • on June 25, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    bitter truth

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    A great article!!!! wonderful !!!!!!

  • Cricthink on June 25, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    Great article, bring tears when you read and have experienced it in Sri lanka. Every word is true. God bless you Kimbler for penning such an emotional article. I have followed Sri lanka Cricket since 1996. There's a quote" Dad, what's the meaning up Giving up? - We don't know son, we are Sri lankans". We lost few WC finals, may be more than any other nation. 2007,2011- 50 Overs, then 2 T20's before winning one in April 14. Sanga was asked in a Q & A session, " Is the Sri lankan Team labeled as Chokers?". Sanga's response was spontaneous, We have reached almost all world events in Cricket and lost the finals and have had different opponents! that shows we are the most consistent performers and not Chokers. Next generation of Sl Cricketers will have to step up. Once more Kimbler Thanks for this great one. True Cricket fan of SL and World Cricket

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    SL won the series by their hard work. Eventhough, Moieen held one end until the end, he can't change the destiny.England can go back to their dressing room and prepare well for the upcoming series with India. They have to show their ability in the field to get the acknowledgement.Generally any team from Asian countries has gone through a tough period in England so far. But the tide is changing and no one is unbeatable.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:54 GMT

    wonderfully written. Great deeds described in great words with telling effects.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    A great piece of work,and a well balanced one,unlike the other regular posts.It's so true that every win that is achieved by Sri Lanka is criticized in one way or another.

  • Charindra on June 25, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    How does Jarrod knoww so much about SL?? Beautiful, beautiful article :)

  • Thuram3 on June 25, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    Wow, absolutely fantastic article, loved it!!!

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    Superb article..truley inspirational

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    Awesome piece of writing. I liked the way Jarrod has presented the real situation of SL cricket and the historic win. Yes I did watch the 2nd and 3rd sessions of play till the last ball on both the 4th and the final day.... SL definitely played better cricket than England and hence they deserved to win.... I would only hope this series victory brings in more corporate funding into the SL cricket administration and of course I would also pray for the funds to be utilized in the most appropriate manner for the development of SL cricket

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    That hit the sweet spot. Keep it coming

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    Great article. Congrats Sri Lanka.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    Srilanka really a special place that many people fail to see.It is true we are backward in GDP but that does not mean srilanka is poor in many other matters.The way our great ambassadors,cricketers showcase on and off the field is indicative of the virtues of Srilankan society.GDP does not reveal the two great pillars of Srilankan society, free education and health system have been the important factors in upbringing the srilankan society.Cricketors too came through this system.

  • Sir_Ivor on June 25, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Angelo Mathews is a wonderful captain apart from being a fine all rounder, He is sure to take this team to the top or thereabouts in all formats of the game as captain. Apart from his own skills, what is unique in him like it is in most lucky captains is that average players also become match winners and the good ones peak to their best form. The other ingredient of someone who has destiny on his side that good opposition players lose form or get injured. And Angelo with Sidney Poiter looks and calm demeanour is what avery captain should strive to become. He also knows what he is doing on the field and as we saw in the World 20/20 and the England series ,his men do just as he bids and do it well. Pradeep and Eranga have been around a while but have never bowled as well, Here we saw him hit the length that the great bowlers hit in England. Trul has he brought about a change in this band of talented cricketers by instilling in them the vital ingredient of self belief.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Super article.... Srilankan deserves this win.The way whole series they played absolutely brilliant.

  • SaraJeff on June 25, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Breath taking article.A question to Jarrod,How come you missed the field change Mathews did just before second last ball of the match.Mathews actually made umpire stop Eranga on his way as he was making this field change.Mathews brought Rangana from off side to short square leg and asked Eranga to bounce the ball.You can see this clearly on highlights.We would love to hear your expression on this in your style of English writing.

  • Bang_La on June 25, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Very delicious yet encouraging article. Thank YOU, Jarrod Kimber.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    Wow! Jarod Kimber: One couldn't describe better the strange atmosphere still surrounding SL cricket. You have made very good observations. Outstation cricketers are finally getting a chance.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Jarrod Kimber should be given a award for this article

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    This is one of ESPN Cricinfo's best articles to date.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Nice article, never give up till the very end inspirational.

  • on June 25, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    an awesome article, sri lanka's spirit is truly admirable

  • Naikan on June 25, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    Only Game I am crazy about - Cricket. Why? For one I am an avid reader and I hardly find any other game that is so conducive to being written about or one that can be narrated like a novel and a short story at the same time. You, Jarrod are a fine example of one who does that. Then, there is hardly any game that brings so many skill sets to one platform. As a result Cricket is able to display extremes like no other game can. Think of any other game a good player gets defined by certain superlative physical attributes of height, musculature, bone structure, etc, et al the body perfect. But that does not hold true in cricket. A diminutive 5 foot batsmen can get the better of a giant trundler. A tubby spinner or for that matter a polio victim like Chandra can out fox entire teams with their guile. Last but not not the least hardly any other game can be played on the field in the manner of Chess like Mike Brearley or some others did with Cricket. Thanks for the wonderful article.

  • Bansam on June 25, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Fantastic piece of writing. A great article summarising the Sri Lankan tour and players. Missed mentioning the efforts of Angelo, Kumar and Mahela but cannot blame the author because he is focussing on the lesser known and the two people who took the game away. Congratulations Jarrod on a interesting reading piece.

  • ARad on June 25, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    A filmmaker to a wonderful cricket writer. Kimber rulez!

  • on June 25, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    A great great article. Sri Lanka is indeed special

  • old_chap on June 25, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    the best article i have ever read on cricinfo..this is a masterpiece..grand work jarrod..

  • andrew-schulz on June 25, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Geez, Jarrod, these Sri Lankans really love you. Perhaps you should, stay with it, bec

  • on June 25, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    A wonderful article! Great job Jarrod!

  • ken51 on June 25, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    At last, a proper cricket article that gives perspective to everything that has happened in the last two Test matches.The most telling observation:That England had superior finances,backroom staff,facilities etc at their disposal,yet were beaten by a team with several part-time players, from a country in crisis and without the resources available to their competition.The hungry team prevailed over the fatcats.

  • on June 25, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Interesting and informative read this. By the way, what happened to the 5 faster guys?

  • Thiru85 on June 25, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Emotional article...Thank you fro Sri Lanka

  • SL_legacy on June 25, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    What a wonderful article this is! Truly one of the best... JK seems to be another Tony Greig for us Sri Lankans. He's written this with pure passion. love it!!! Every word is true... Feel proud about our lads. They might be the bunch who play the hardest cricket out of all international sides given the circumstances they have to face both locally & internationally. Respect lions!!!

  • freeuds on June 25, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    Just to add a little bit of criticism to the article though, a team which has Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardana and Angelo Mathews is a very high class team, specially the first two are two of the best players in the history of the game and to say that England were above all department in the comparison is pretty unfair. Otherwise as I said a great article..

  • freeuds on June 25, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    What a great article! really tells the true story of some of these great Sri lankan players and it's also a very humbling experience! Given all the odds that have been stacked against them Sri lanka constantly play well and our world beaters now they have shown that not only are they brilliant T20 or One day players but they have the guts and mentality to come up in Test cricket too. I have met this Sri lankan team off the field and they are some of the nicest guys you can come across no ego's just really special cricketers, they truly and thoroughly deserve the very best!!!!!!!

  • on June 25, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    great article and would like to read more

    thanks

  • on June 25, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    Casual SL bowling made test artificially interesting, they should've won by tea & situation simply suited defensive Moeen slow game

    The difference b/w an overrated accumulator: Dravid & a match winner:Marhews is evident here. His aggressive 100s saved SL the 1st test & won them the 2nd. Dravid scored 3 100s in 2011 Eng tour & Ind lost all 3 tests

    Sachin's 100s at least helped Ind draw a large proportion of matches, most of which Ind could have won, but for toothless Ind bowling Ind didn't

    Cook as captain lacks desperation for victory. In 1st test he should have asked batsmen to attack from lunch & should have declared at tea on 4th day in 1st test, giving bowlers enough time to take 10 wickets

    Cook & co will score huge runs vs friendly Ind bowling

    ECB removed legends KP, aggressive bowler Finn & a world class spinner Swan & Eng lost all series.

    Broad is the most overrated toothless bowler

    Finally DRS's proved its worth as its corrected decision in 1st test decided series

  • CricketPissek on June 25, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    JK at his best. Love these alternative articles. @Bukansi - the 1998 one off test win is arguably Sri Lanka's greatest ever overseas victory, but a one off is a one off. it's not a series. semantics.

  • RoshJ on June 25, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    Great article Jarrod...worth the every word!

  • Jigar_Shah on June 25, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    One of the most Brilliant Articles I have ever read on Cricinfo. Beautiful Story!!! thanks for this.

  • on June 25, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    God what an article...... truth. to its ultimate stage..... this article was amazingly written..Thanks to Kimber..

  • JudeG on June 25, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    What a great article! Hats off to Jarrod Kimber for his research and a well written story!

  • SDeepalV on June 25, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    The man who was born on 1980, writes articles as sweet as poems in 1880s. Who slammed Don saying "Don Bradman wasn't that good" praises Lankan batters. Who slammed spin and sledging praises Lankan attitude in UK...... Kimber you beauty.... Great article again... By the way wanna see you at Galle Face..ha... Cheers... Deepal V

  • ceyloncric on June 25, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    Mr.Kimber, one word "Beautiful"

  • on June 25, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    What a great article, dovetailing the action from yesterday with the context of what the series means for Sri Lanka and the backgrounds of the two players involved in the final dismissal. Lovely stuff Kimber, keep it coming!

  • on June 25, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    @Kavum, you are one hell of a class-less person. What Jarrod has tired to capture is the spirit of SL cricket, not a socio-economic data sheet for god's sake. Please take the article in it's spirit. Of everyone knows that Herath does not do teller duty. It is obvious. Only a person with a narrow vision like you will try to shout it loud. Geeeez

  • Palitha-Ferdinands on June 25, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    This is story telling at best. Thank you Jarrod. You and Andrew FF are my favorite Cricinfo writers. A poet and a story teller.

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    What a beautiful and witty piece of writing as always by Kimber! Summed everything up perfectly.

  • Lakpj on June 25, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    You don't need to high tech stuff and don't want to be highly professional to compete. You just need motivation and courage. SL have shown it and few countries in the FIFA world cup had shown it. With the group stages just about to finish 3 countries that have the biggest football leagues in the world are already gone home and some lesser fancied teams have made history. Even after 30 years of war SL still has a literacy rate of more than 95% and there are number of Sri Lankans who have studied here and are working in almost all the big companies in the world and they hold very high positions.

  • Bukansi on June 25, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Someone help me, Sir lanka beat England in England in the one off test against them in 1998 or was it 1999, does that not constitute a series win as this is being reported their first series win in England?

  • jackiethepen on June 25, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Nice piece from Kimber. But perhaps not acknowledging that England is not the team it was and is still sorting itself out. The Series was in fact very close with huge swings one way and another. England may well have drawn the match if Jimmy didn't have the last over to face and it had fallen to Ali instead. Ali's lack of experience showed in not farming the strike well - compare with the Sri Lanka captain who was masterly. Broad took a 20 min toilet break? What? Does rizwan know that is not possible? Broad took his break during the drinks interval and there was hardly any delay. Where does this stuff come from?

  • NarenPuppala on June 25, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    A team that has Sangakara and Mahela in it, along with now Angelo is neither short of ability, will, nor of class. The Pearl and the Bank Clerk are among a few of the many exhibits of winning natural talent that the sub-continent throws up aplenty. Excitement is often about the new debutant Pakistani fast bowler, Sri Lankan & Bangladeshi spinner, Indian Batsman, etc. Can't remember the last English debutant cricketer who excited the cricketing world, who was not an import (as are 4 players in the current team). Getting poetic about the backgrounds of some cricketers seems pretty at first glance but the nuance is unmissable: this article is terribly condescending. Everyone has a background.

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    As the others before me said, this is a fantastic write-up...hats off to you Jarrod...your articles highlights lot of valuable points about Sri Lankan cricket. Good lessons to be learned for all Sri Lankans...Don't complain...do your best with what you got....

    I personally feel every time our team takes to the field, they fight against two opposing teams...one on the ground and the other off ground...the latter being our own inept Cricket Management system.... Cheers!

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on June 25, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    While the majority of attention will inevitably be on England and their troubles I am glad to see this article on a great achievement for the Lankan team.

    These Lankans are simply a champion team that have overcome all manner of obstacles any of which would be used as an excuse for failure by most others. Another brilliant success by this very special group.

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    Can anybody tell Jarrod that he is Paulo Coelho of cricket. :)

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Why do you always have to make it a David versus goliath story? just tired of endless post colonial bemoaning

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    There were plenty to take from this tour for both teams. Same times there were many excellent articles throughout the tour and i rate this as BEST among them. Giving statistics, records or comparison are usual but linking insight background into the game requires some short of specialism!

  • venkatesh018 on June 25, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    Jarrod you summed it up all in your own cheeky yet eloquent way.

  • rizwan1981 on June 25, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Lovely Article -Kudos for the research and back story ( the late Peter Roebuck, who was very knowledgeable about the socio, ethnic and byzantine politics of Sri Lanka would have approved)

    '' here is an ancient Hindu temple in Chilaw that was once visited by Gandhi. Every year they have the Munneswaram festival'' - I would bet that 99 % of the Sri Lankans were not aware of the titbit about Gandhi .

    Broad took a 20 Minute TOILET break - Is that allowed when Broad hardly spent an hour at the crease and your team is trying to save a test match? Is that within the SPIRIT of the game ?

  • Kavum on June 25, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Well done Mr Kimber. Your name means something very special in SL's majority language and you have proved it. Full of pathos, sentiment and emotion, your piece may rival some of the best writing produced by SL journo fan boys. No hint of gratuitous condescension colours your article - for that generations of Sri Lankans will laud your skill on the keyboard. Just a note: Kurunegala is the eponymous name of that District and is the Capital of the NW Province and is also adjacent to Puttalam District within said Province. Chilaw is a town within Puttalam District. and has less of a history of pearling with the heart of industry being just slightly to the north. Herath is no mere chubby bank clerk having played for Hants. and Surrey in the past as a pro cricketer. He does not do teller duty or sit in front of a terminal for any period of time.

  • on June 25, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    Honestly this is simply a beautiful article for poetry and how to beautifully construct a beginning to and end. Just so well written. Awesome.

  • St.John on June 25, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    What a well researched, informative, and innovative piece of writing. It tells it all really, from Sri Lanka's humble stars facing adversity to England's sneaking of their cricket coach. None, not even Mahela and Sanga are even remotely close to matching Dhoni's earnings, but they possess a grit and determination to match any Forbes list.

  • Nmiduna on June 25, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Thanks jarrod! Great piece.. yes we do feel we dnt get enough credit! Cz itz very rare to find a writer/commentator who is free of preformed notions and biases. Even after this win, bumble and Nazar enthusiastically praised us, while few others were reluctant! May be they were too upset with england's perfomance! But this victory is still greatly remarkable coz the odds were against us sri lankans, we were supposed to be beaten, not england!

  • on June 25, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    very good and neatly analysed.. they blokes deserved it from every corners.. they gave answers to their crtics and opponents with fine display of ball and bat.

  • on June 25, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    Hats off to you Jarrod Kimber.... Lions will keep this on their mind forever! Cheers...

  • Priyankara.D.A on June 25, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    Mr. Jarrod Kimber, you are a great writer. You have seen reality of Sri Lanka cricket and management failure .Your criticism much more needed for the development... Excellent writing...Finally, Sri Lanka cricket demonstrated that they can play any kind of format of the game... This will keep it up..Well going Sri Lanka...Win or lost, what ever... You are always our heroes......

  • isuru4ud on June 25, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    What a nice article hats off to you sir! It has everythng proud to be a small guy in that small country with a big heart!

  • on June 25, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    this article is really valuable one.

  • on June 25, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    This is a very good sum up. One of the best pieces of writing I saw in this site.

  • on June 25, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Beautiful, brilliant article about the struggles and realities of Sri Lankan Cricket Jarrod Kimber. Just, thank you.

  • on June 25, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    much...needed timely write-up! this earth needed. thank you. :)

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    much... needed timely write-up! to lift up this earth spirits!!! thank u. :)

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    The tiny little nation who keeps us going no matter what. We love you Lions. We love you mother lanka. Great peice of writing.

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    Thanks Jarrod for your insight. Sadly, it is only cricket that gives people here something to smile about at the moment.

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Wow ... Just Wow .. this just gave some tears on my dried eyes .. very touching .. Its all about team work and passion for the cricket nothing more .. when you starts to liking something you do it with the whole happiness in your heart and the mony and other factors doesn't matter at all .. our boys proved it .. thats the spirit for the game and that the thirst we have for the victory ... = )

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    This article is more than the value of pearl. Lovely one!! Write more and more...

  • caldruid on June 25, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Good article with a lot of history thrown in. SL fans - Your team achieves a lot in-spite of all the hurdles it faces. Let's hope they do very well in the WC2015 and humble other arrogant teams.

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Thank You For writing such a beautiful article!!! #proudlankanlion

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Never been a big fan of your writing Mr. Kimber. Not till I read this piece. Reminds me of Satyajit Ray's movies. Can't tell you why. Just clicked in place. Write more about special places and special moments. Cricinfo will do itself good if it invests more in pieces like this than videos. Great words stick (think Roebuck), images come and go, hear me Cricinfo?

  • Ramansilva on June 25, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    The small nation with small people humbled the so called BIG in its own back yard. The other BIG was already humbled three times this year. Bring on Mighty Aussies now.

  • 9ST9 on June 25, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    forget the stats, facts and figures.Jarrod Kimber highlights the contrasting backgrounds of the two teams in the article and focuses on the true grit and spirit of Sri Lanka. Great article Jarrod. You've just won over a bunch of fans.

  • on June 25, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    It only gets better Jarrod! Brilliant brilliant writing this...

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    The ending of this article,as good as the ending of the Headingley test. Cheers!!

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    Words of heart ♥ to read... Really a wonderful article. Great job and thanks...

  • ms2000 on June 25, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    Very touching.Yes perfectly writen article. I come from a village close to Chilaw. I have seen all what is written there over the years. You are spot on. No words to to say more. Sri Lankans are innocent people but brainless politicians have made a terrible mess of eveything here. Im so proud of our Cricket Team. They have gone through hell to reach this position. If any other criketing nation had this team it would have been a complete diffrent story. Congratulations to teh Sri Lanka team and also well played England. Specially Anderson and Moeen Ali. Both of you are a inspiration to the younger generation.

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Nice piece. But honestly speaking, this English batting is way weaker than SL batting order. They only had the edge in bowling. Still they lacked the variety. ENG got close because of home conditions, if they played in SL, they would have lost this series 2-0 with innings losses. I cannot remember Anderson winning matches in SL. Both sides are rebuilding, but if you forget the money and all, SL looks like they are building into a far better side than ENG with the superb unrelenting captaincy of Angelo.

  • AD45121 on June 25, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    Another absolutely briliant article by Jarrod which captures the spirit of the Sri Lankan cricket scenario. Jarrod has captured the emotions of the cricket playing nation exceptionally well.

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    Truly a master piece mate. Sri Lankan cricket in a summary. #feelin #proud to be a #SriLankan

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Dear Jarrod While congratulating you on an excellent piece, I'm disappointed that you never mentioned that both Rangana and Shaminda have been playing for the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club for the past several years. In fact, the Club is also home to Kithruwan Vithanage, Jeevan Mendis, T M Dilshan, Ramith Rambukwella, Chanaka Welegedera.

    I am writing as a Vice President and the current Cricket Secretary of the Club.

    Its a pity that Cricket writers in Sri Lanka and overseas don't give the Clubs who enabled these guys to hone their skills the credit they deserve! Tamil Union, founded in 1899, is the home of one of our designated Test Grounds the P Sara Oval, and has produced two incredible legends - one from yester-year Mahadeven Sathasivam, who Frank Worrell acknowledged as the best batsman he had seen, and the more recent Muttiah Muralitharan.

    I hope this oversight will be rectified in future articles.

    Thank you very much!

  • Udendra on June 25, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    I don't remember reading an article of this caliber in recent times. wow!

  • on June 25, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Wonderful article,really proud of our guys who have achieved so much in cricket with all odds against them,showing the the true strength and character of the people from the PEAR OF THE INDIAN OCEAN

  • tharuka88 on June 25, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    bring tears to my eyes when reading this.actually im at office so i can't let them expose.very lovely article.

  • ruester on June 25, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Brilliant writing Jarrod, you and George show up the rest of the press corps with your insightful, witty writing. It is so refreshing to read writers who aren't afraid to tell the true story. Great performance by Sri Lanka, England deserved to lose despite Moeens rearguard. I only hope this result will hurry the demise of Mr 'Never quit on anything' Cook. I loved seeing the verbal exchanges through out the series and glad that Sri Lanka never took a step back. England should learn a lesson from this as they could do of done with a lot of the spirit shown by Sri lanka when the England team crumbled against Australia.

  • dns07 on June 25, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    Two great articles for the two test, last week article was great. Now this is the icing of the cake ! Thanx Jarrod, your right, Sri Lanka is a special place, they never wanted to give up easily, like Mathews said in the post match presentation, the game is not over until the last ball is bowled..! Mathews is a true fighter, he know how to get the results from his limited liabilities!

  • VinothSam on June 25, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    Well, Sri Lanka's GDP ranking in 2014 is 67 now and we have more than one big modern cities. Still a good article though.

  • on June 25, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    Thanks jarrod, love your writing..

  • on June 25, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    Mr. Kimber, you have outdone yourself. This is writing of the highest quality.

  • on June 25, 2014, 3:28 GMT

    Most complete article on SLC I have ever read...hats off for the writer....just fantastic....

  • wasimahm on June 25, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    OMG.. Jarrod Kimber seems a must read. Guys check this his other articles too.

  • Akheel on June 25, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    Spot on!! If anything, I will also add Sri Lanka's 'never say die' fans and well-wishes to this piece. Great effort by Angi & Co..thank you guys. Sri Lanka needed this.

  • on June 25, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    Such a brilliant article, loved reading this :) Such is the true spirit of Sri Lankan cricket

  • on June 25, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Excellent article. There are some nations even in Football that do not measure up to the 'big boys' in the resources department but still stand toe to toe in talent. Luckily SL is such a place as well. Many hardships but the passion for the sport is second to none. We love and respect our players in wins and losses. So proud of what they have achieved for the country

  • on June 25, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Being a Sri Lankan is something special. Amid of so many difficulties Sri Lankans find ways anyhow. The secret is more in Sri Lankans mental strength and unity. It's a different place on earth with unique people.

  • on June 25, 2014, 2:40 GMT

    Wow ! What a masterpiece. Its a pearl it self. Well written Jerrod.

  • on June 25, 2014, 1:56 GMT

    great article..it really is a special place :) ....

  • merandy on June 25, 2014, 1:48 GMT

    Superb article about SL cricket by a non Slankan.

  • cric1965 on June 25, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Sri Lanka is a small country with small population compare to other test playing countries. But their cricket talent is not second to every one. That is a real fact every body should accept whether you like or not.

  • on June 25, 2014, 1:33 GMT

    Actually entire story is true, nothing to say anything against your article. Thanks for your good and bad comments also the bitter truth about our cricket management and the states of some of our grate cricketers comparing to the other cricket nations. But remember Sri Lankan team is not an ordinary team, they can beat any team any time, but they are still innocent and friendly team among others. Thanks for your article again.

  • crying_game on June 25, 2014, 1:21 GMT

    Srilanka did show remarkable resilience in first test and grabbed their opportunity and pushed the pedal in the second. Kudos to them. Very good article, Jarrod. Nice little nod to the land of your in laws.

  • glen1 on June 25, 2014, 1:16 GMT

    Jarrod has written a nice article and I am sure it will endear him to cricket fans esp. in Sri Lanka. Cricket is one such team game where a chubby slow guy can find a place, and the projected team strength can be much higher than the sum of the individual parts, depending on cohesion. This is where the Sri Lankan team does well, with a sense of purpose and further both England and India suffer from their individual players not playing around the World, and the additional problem of individual egos. To keep the conversation fair, he needs to compare with New Zealand; the last time I checked, it has a population of 4 about million, is not cricket crazy, and produces pretty good teams. In fact, as the population increases, it will become more difficult to find the right eleven to play, in that sense, small nations have an advantage!

  • silentstand on June 25, 2014, 1:06 GMT

    This piece is beautiful and extremely true.congratz to Sri Lanka, I rooted for you and you didn't let me down

  • on June 25, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Wonderfully written Jarrod. England lost the plot early. Pushing KP out. Then they did the next worst thing. Chirping. More than needed. And paid a price. A huge one. Would England have learnt a lesson before the India series. Perhaps yes. Stop the body line bowling. Stop the chirping. Start performing. Like true professions. An even bigger step. Drop the ego. Get KP in.

  • evenflow_1990 on June 25, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    brilliant piece jarrod. and that bit in the middle is spot on ... every time sri lanka win it's somehow because the opposition made a mistake, not because sri lanka did something right.

  • Jay.Raj on June 25, 2014, 0:09 GMT

    im in tears!proud of u guys

  • TimeKiller on June 24, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    You are the pearl Jarrod ! Good writing !!

  • on June 24, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    well said...brilliant...

  • KingOwl on June 24, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    It's a nice article, but hugely exaggerated. SL is a chaotic place. But they thrive on chaos. It is not trivial, there is a theory to it. Why we have many unorthodox players is because of that. Through chaos often comes creativity and innovation. What is espoused as professionalism is routine, predictable, boring cricket. Sure, not many expected SL to win the test series in conditions heavily in England's favour. But SL didn't win a series before only because they didn't put enough effort. Players cared more about IPL than coming to England early to prepare. Not because the board did not enable it. If Sri Lankans put their minds to something, more often than not, they do it. Have no doubt about it! Talent-wise, England are way over hyped. Take away Anderson and the rest are pretty average. So, SL winning the one day and T20 series is mostly a formality. The competitive nature was just due to lack of adjustment by SL. Winning the tests is more surprising. But this time, they practiced!

  • Twinkie on June 24, 2014, 22:31 GMT

    All that talk from England seemed only to fire Sri Lanka up. Maybe it's time the habitual sledgers on and off the field to rethink their dirty tactics. Backfired for Faulkner, Southee and now Cook, Root and Co..

  • TheKeeper on June 24, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    Sri Lanka sure is a very special place. Just when you think you have come to know her, she will pop you another big surprise; to show you that you can never get the full measure of her. Great place - Great people - Great win!

  • Westmorlandia on June 24, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    The other thing you could have said about Anderson, although it adds some nuance to the picture, is that he couldn't contain his emotions after the end.

    Professional he might be, but he isn't some kind of machine. They're all human - even the English.

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    This article is absolutely great as it illustrates the great divide between the two teams in background and what the fortunes of the SL cricket team mean to the nation (think England in Brazil and one gets close!)

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    One of the best articles I've read here!

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:02 GMT

    One of the best articles I've read here!

  • on June 24, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    This article is absolutely great as it illustrates the great divide between the two teams in background and what the fortunes of the SL cricket team mean to the nation (think England in Brazil and one gets close!)

  • Westmorlandia on June 24, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    The other thing you could have said about Anderson, although it adds some nuance to the picture, is that he couldn't contain his emotions after the end.

    Professional he might be, but he isn't some kind of machine. They're all human - even the English.

  • TheKeeper on June 24, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    Sri Lanka sure is a very special place. Just when you think you have come to know her, she will pop you another big surprise; to show you that you can never get the full measure of her. Great place - Great people - Great win!

  • Twinkie on June 24, 2014, 22:31 GMT

    All that talk from England seemed only to fire Sri Lanka up. Maybe it's time the habitual sledgers on and off the field to rethink their dirty tactics. Backfired for Faulkner, Southee and now Cook, Root and Co..

  • KingOwl on June 24, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    It's a nice article, but hugely exaggerated. SL is a chaotic place. But they thrive on chaos. It is not trivial, there is a theory to it. Why we have many unorthodox players is because of that. Through chaos often comes creativity and innovation. What is espoused as professionalism is routine, predictable, boring cricket. Sure, not many expected SL to win the test series in conditions heavily in England's favour. But SL didn't win a series before only because they didn't put enough effort. Players cared more about IPL than coming to England early to prepare. Not because the board did not enable it. If Sri Lankans put their minds to something, more often than not, they do it. Have no doubt about it! Talent-wise, England are way over hyped. Take away Anderson and the rest are pretty average. So, SL winning the one day and T20 series is mostly a formality. The competitive nature was just due to lack of adjustment by SL. Winning the tests is more surprising. But this time, they practiced!

  • on June 24, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    well said...brilliant...

  • TimeKiller on June 24, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    You are the pearl Jarrod ! Good writing !!

  • Jay.Raj on June 25, 2014, 0:09 GMT

    im in tears!proud of u guys

  • evenflow_1990 on June 25, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    brilliant piece jarrod. and that bit in the middle is spot on ... every time sri lanka win it's somehow because the opposition made a mistake, not because sri lanka did something right.