Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai January 7, 2014

Always under pressure when I play for SL - Prasanna


There is a chance Prasanna Jayawardene might not have even played his first Test in over a year had Lahiru Thirimanne been fit in Abu Dhabi, but following his unbeaten 67 in the second innings of that game, Angelo Mathews has outlined the importance of Prasanna's experience in the lower-middle order.

The Sri Lanka XI carries three wicketkeeper-batsmen, as well as Kumar Sangakkara, and Thirimanne's ability to contribute with the ball may have made him a slightly more attractive selection for the first Test. Prasanna will not have his place questioned for the second Test, however. Not only has Thirimanne returned to Sri Lanka, Prasanna has reasserted both his prowess with the gloves and his ability to stablise a top seven that features three batsmen who have played fewer than 10 Tests.

"He gives us the cushioning especially with the gloves in hand," Mathews said. "He is the best wicketkeeper going these days, and also he's very stable when it comes to batting. He has a good technique to survive against good fast bowlers, and he sweeps against the spinners so he upsets their line and length. He's a very good weapon to have in the team."

Among the many casualties of Sri Lanka's barren Test year in 2013, Prasanna played league cricket in England during the summer. He had been left out for Sri Lanka's home Tests against Bangladesh in March, prompting talk that his career was over, but good scores in a domestic first-class triangular tournament in October cleared his route back into the team.

"I was injured during the Boxing Day Test in Australia in 2012, and since then I had no cricket to play. The Zimbabwe Test series was cancelled and the selectors decided to try out youngsters during the Bangladesh series. So I did not get a chance to play Test cricket - not even any first-class cricket. So I went to England and played some league cricket for Woodhall. I did well there. When I came back we had two four-day practice matches and I scored a century in the first match and did well behind the wicket. That's how I got back to the side."

There is increased obligation on Prasanna to maintain a consistent output with the bat, because Dinesh Chandimal and Kaushal Silva are also capable of taking the gloves and Kusal Perera, also a wicketkeeper-batsman, sits in reserve.

"I'm always under pressure when I play for Sri Lanka, but I like that," Prasanna said. "Yes there are few wicketkeepers in the side but I don't see it as additional pressure on me, because if I can do my part well, I won't have any issues."

Prasanna said he was encouraged by the ease with which he settled into his role after his long hiatus. "I was waiting for my chance. It's not easy to play a Test match after one year, especially as a wicketkeeper. It's very difficult to get yourself prepared to play cricket after a long lay-off. I believe I did well in Abu Dhabi."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dru on January 8, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    I am on the fence on this one! Yes Prasana is a decent bat but is he a genuine top 7 batter? I am not sure he is so I would rather opt for one of the keepers in the side and play a genuine batter at #7. The risk is not playing the best keeper may cost a wicket or two and with SL's attack, every chance is like gold so I see the sense in him playing. Difficult one this one and I guess it comes down to how good are the other keepers with the gloves?

  • udendra on January 8, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    @Franckie: yes, agree with that.

  • Dummy4 on January 8, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    some people suggest Chandimal should stay as a pure batsman, but looking at his records as a wicket keeper batsmen I guess he should be the one taking gloves from Prasanna and Kumar. Also the fact that Kaushal and Kusal both are better in the outfield should be taken into account too.

  • Mesith on January 7, 2014, 22:52 GMT

    Yes Prasanna has still got fuel left in him, so he should continue to play test cricket for SL

  • Prabath on January 7, 2014, 21:35 GMT

    Dreamcricketer: Its time now for SLC to drop the consistent failures including some senior players and get these guys to the team. because no point having failures in the team any more.

  • manjula on January 7, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    Good wicket keeper is better than part time bowler. They can produce wickets. They also can make success out of difficult chance. It is like good field creating runouts out of nowhere.

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2014, 17:44 GMT

    They should not drop Prasanna until either Kaushal or Chandimal score consistently in Tests. Then they should gradually shift the keeping gloves to one of them and let Prasanna fade away with dignity!!!

  • mainul on January 7, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    If the pitch is a turning one than it will be a boomerang for Pakistan.Pakistan is the worst spin playing team in subcontinent (their records suggest that. You can check the record of Murali, Warne, Kumble, Herath, Tahir and Swann against Pak).Herath and Senanayeke will prove a horror to Pak. If Pakistan want to win, they have to prepare a wicket that assists pacers a bit. Abu Dhabi wicket was the best one.

  • ESPN on January 7, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    A player with very good attitude, believe he should be in the test at least till 2015 to give stability to the team. He is the best wicket keeper since 1998, as per then captain Arjuna as well.

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    No tests! No ipl!! But still performs when the chance is given. SL needs more of these kind of players!!

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