Sri Lanka in New Zealand 2015-16 December 22, 2015

Chameera, Siriwardana give SL hope for future

Marks out of 10 for Sri Lanka's players following a 2-0 defeat on their Test tour of New Zealand
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Playing only his third and fourth Tests, Dushmantha Chameera was easily Sri Lanka's best bowler © Getty Images

8

Dushmantha Chameera (12 wickets at 24)

In Hamilton, Chameera blasted New Zealand out with the short ball. Are Sri Lanka bowlers even allowed to do that? In just his third and fourth Tests, touching 146 kph at times, Chameera was easily the best of Sri Lanka's bowlers, and bowled perhaps the ball of the series, to Ross Taylor in that first innings at Hamilton. He looks a little fragile, though. Whippet-thin at 23, perhaps Sri Lanka Cricket can set up a body-weight exchange programme with some other Sri Lanka quicks.

7

Dinesh Chandimal (192 runs at 48, 5 dismissals)

Irrepressibly peppy behind the stumps and in front of them, Chandimal made Sri Lanka's first innings spark in Hamilton, and gave it substance in Dunedin. He seems lucky at times, because he mishits so many balls at the beginning of his innings, but maybe he is just an excellent judge of risk. When he hits out, he makes sure to give himself room for error. Is probably the best wicketkeeper of the few glovemen in contention for national places, but the team will want him to focus on his batting at no. 4.

6

Milinda Siriwardana (158 runs at 38)

One of Sri Lanka's finds of the year, Siriwardana sparkled with the bat, if only too briefly. He plays a lovely cover drive, always seems confident, and has the seeming adaptability to succeed on most kinds of surfaces. He hasn't quite cemented his place in the team, but he is close. His fielding has also been an asset, though his bowling was not required on these pitches.

Dimuth Karunaratne (152 runs at 38)

Promised plenty with his 84 in the first innings of the series, but was out cheaply twice to the short ball in Hamilton. He had the worst of the batting conditions however, so an average of 38 is serviceable. Caught well in the slips and at least gave the team a start in the remainder of his innings, even if he didn't carry on to something substantial.

5

Kusal Mendis (131 runs at 32.50)

Had some good fortune in both Tests, having had at least three clear-cut chances in total. He was part of two fifty-plus opening stands - something of a rarity for Sri Lanka this year - and played some dazzling leg-side shots that gave a glimpse of his talent. He is clearly a long-term prospect for Sri Lanka, but is very raw at present. The selectors might do well to get him playing as much A team cricket as possible whenever the international schedule allows.

Angelo Mathews (106 runs at 26.5, 1 wicket at 61)

His 77 helped Sri Lanka near 300 in the first innings at Hamilton, but the relative paucity of his other scores makes this an underwhelming tour, by Mathews' standards. He created the occasional chance with the ball, though he may have over-bowled himself sometimes. Sri Lanka's fields also probably veered too far towards conservatism, particularly when they were defending a small score in the second Test.

Nuwan Pradeep (6 wicket at 41)

Didn't exactly create pressure by bowling tight, but did send down some terrific balls nonetheless. Sri Lanka would have expected a little more from him in Hamilton, where the deck suited his style of bowling. Still, he has managed to stay fit for five consecutive Tests, which, for a Sri Lanka seamer, is deserving of some sort of statue or commemorative plaque.

Kithuruwan Vithanage batted too loosely and kept getting himself out © AFP

4

Rangana Herath (4 wickets at 57.75)

The surface at Dunedin gave him the freak wicket of Martin Guptill, but nothing else. By the time the ball started turning in Hamilton, Sri Lanka had already lost the Test. Was attacked in that second innings in Dunedin, but maintained a good economy rate elsewhere. Also batted bravely when Sri Lanka were attempting to draw the first Test.

Suranga Lakmal (4 wickets at 44.25)

Sri Lanka needed control from Lakmal, but they didn't quite get enough of it. He was mediocre in the first innings in Dunedin, where the visiting quicks had first use of a green pitch, and only sporadically threatening thereafter. Eighteen months ago he was looked at as the leader of the seam attack, but, plagued by injury since, he hasn't quite live up to that promise.

3

Kithuruwan Vithanage (69 runs at 17.25)

As ever, Vithanage played some fine strokes, then batted too loosely to get himself out. The selectors keep trying him in Tests, but given his track record, it may be better for him to establish himself in the shorter formats first.

2

Udara Jayasundera (30 runs at 7.5)

A poor first foray into Tests on paper, but given his record, he probably deserves a longer trial at the top level. Jayasundera had started to play some shots in the first innings at Hamilton before he ran himself out. He was even unluckier to be wrongly given out by the third umpire in the second innings.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • chethana on December 24, 2015, 0:31 GMT

    1.Dimuth Karunarathna 2.Kusal Mendis 3.?????????? 4.Dinesh Chandimal 5.Anjelo Mathews 6.Milinda Siriwardene 7.Kusal Perera; we need to make a decision about the no.3 spot. should we go with a slow runs maker like Koushal Silva or Lahiru Thirimanne who can hold the one end. should we go with a stroke maker like Kithruwan Vithanage who can move the score regularly. should we go with a new player like Udara Jayasundara,Roshen Silva,Niroshan Dickwella. should we go with a experience player like Upul Tharanga,Tharanga Pranavithana,Jehan Mubarak(JM as a short term prospect).

  • chethana on December 23, 2015, 19:01 GMT

    After Herath's retirement Dilruwan & PHT Koushal are the main 2 off spinners for the test team. one is classical & other is wrist spinner. Jefferey Vadersay is the main leg spinner. But left arm spinner not on the scene still. Maybe Amila Aponsu will be the man as he played recent A team matches. Also Malinda Pushpakumara is there who has a wonderful first class record.

  • John on December 23, 2015, 4:46 GMT

    SL made a better series of it than I thought they would, but they are a shadow of the side of a few years ago. The bowling unit isn't bad, but the batting needs a lot of work.

  • d on December 23, 2015, 3:46 GMT

    Roshen Silva-Middle order batsman FC 77mts avg 47.61 Malinda pushpakumara -Slow left-arm orthodox FC 81mts 430wkts @20.52 including 31- 5wkts hauls 12 -10 wkt hauls. These two have enough FC experiences and at least 10yrs of cricket left. SLC should consider giving them opportunities they deserve before its too late. Any more suggestions for the names we haven't heard in FC level??

  • Ted on December 23, 2015, 0:49 GMT

    unless a major shuffle occures in SLC's current policy/decission makers, my prediction is; SL will never address the dire needs in batting unit & keep holding spots secured for prefered nonproductive failures. this stratergy would never change, and we may see musical chairs going on forever between those failures & all the rookies in domestic scene from A toZ, purely as pawns (because they are not yet up to the challenge & therefore the reserved spots are secured).

  • Ted on December 23, 2015, 0:14 GMT

    Really happy with young Chameera & experienced mature man Siriwardane. Quickie showed us what he is made of and Milndha showed us how far, even 10 yrs worth domestic experience could go for a talented batter with maturity. Mr. consistent Chandimal did his job perfectly, but had a hard time without another pair of supporting hands, experienced enough to build long partnerships with him in any situation. Dimuth did his job to a certain extent, although inconsistent.

    Kusal Mendis who purely survived on his lucky stars, is certainly a future prospect that could be ruined soon enough, if pushed prematurely like this. No point talking about the rest, who just filled the numbers in batting unit, including skipper Mathews...

  • Mohamed Afulal on December 23, 2015, 0:09 GMT

    Odd men out of that test series were Vithanage and Jayasundera. Rest deserved to be there but endurance patience and guard against temptation too often are the virtues of test cricket since a test expected to last 5 days and not 3.5 days. Players must be fit to last full distance unless met by an unfortunate accident in play. Looking at the remainder of tour, we should salvage some pride in doing well in ODI and T20 to avoid a clean sweep!!

  • Soy on December 22, 2015, 23:36 GMT

    Good ratings, just some housekeeping for your data integrity though:

    1. Kusal Mendis - 131 @ 32.75 (not 32.50)

    2. Milinda Siriwardana - 152 @ 38.00 (not 158)

    As a data integrity specialist it stood out.

    Really enjoyed the series from over in Aus - I think some SL fans are being a bit harsh on their boys - they won almost as many sessions as NZ did, but KW was the difference (man oh man, the possibilities).

    Loved Chameera's spells in both innings of the 2nd test, just let the boy go, he'll fill out naturally, but let it be natural, his action is a perfect synergy for his current body size. If he bulks too quickly his action will fall out of synergy whereas if he just fills out naturally his body will run with the subtle changes and it won't be a major factor. That's my theory.

  • chethana on December 22, 2015, 20:12 GMT

    Dimuth Karunarathna,Dinesh Chandimal,Anjelo Mathews,Milinda Siriwardene,Kusal Perera those 5 players are the established players in the test team. We need no.2 & 3 or 6. we have only 2 options for no.2 considering left & right hand combination.They are Kusal Mendis & Koushal Silva. Both are 2 good test players. At the moment we can't remove Kusal Mendis as he hasn't done anything wrong up to now. I think Milinda is the ideal player to no.3. In no.6 position he hasn't enough time to play a long inning. If he plays at no.3 ideal player for no.6 spot is Roshen Silva. He has almost 50 first class average. My future test batting lineup; 1.Dimuth Karunarathna 2.Kusal Mendis 3.Milinda Siriwardene 4.Dinesh Chandimal 5.Anjelo Mathews 6.Roshen Silva 7.Kusal Perera; Also there are few test players outside this 11 as well. specially. Koushal Silva,Lahiru Thirimanne,Udara Jayasundara,Kithruwan Vithanage,Niroshan Dickwella,UpulTharanga,Jehan Mubarak,Tharanga Paranavithana.

  • Josiah M. Philip on December 22, 2015, 19:09 GMT

    strength training is important to avoid injuries such as stress fractures and muscle strain

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