Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14 January 21, 2014

Sri Lanka seamers make big strides

Sri Lanka's marks out of ten, for the Test series against Pakistan
40

8

Shaminda Eranga (12 wickets at 28.75)
When the dust settles after the Sharjah loss, perhaps Sri Lanka will take time appreciate the efforts of their fast bowlers, who were a revelation on this tour. Accurate, persistent and generating decent movement away from the right-hander, Eranga pips Suranga Lakmal because he was more effective with the old ball, and had also hit higher speeds throughout the series. He had already gained a reputation for hard work, and the leaps he had made during nine months away from Test cricket are evidence of that. He was among the fielders to complain about bad light in the dying minutes of the series, but given he delivered 130.3 determined overs in just over three weeks, perhaps that can be forgiven.

Angelo Mathews (412 runs at 103, 2 wickets at 62)
How to rationalise Mathews' contributions to the series after what transpired on Monday? With the bat, he was extraordinary in three varied innings that were each equally vital to the team. That Sri Lanka went into the Dubai Test on even terms is largely thanks to the depth and hunger Mathews unveiled in Abu Dhabi. Even as a captain, he had not done poorly in the first 13 days of the series, because conservatism appears a sensible strategy for Sri Lanka given the personnel they have in hand. But he went several steps further and embraced negativity in the last two days, and consequently suffered a meltdown in the last two sessions. Had the Sharjah match been rained out after three days of play, Mathews would have got 9. Sri Lanka will hope he will learn from experience, but with the bat at least, he is realising his talent.

7

Prasanna Jayawardene (161 runs at 40.25)
A return to Tests after more than a year away, Jayawardene reasserted himself as one of the world's best glovemen. He didn't shell a chance, and any byes conceded were almost unpreventable. His support behind the stumps will be important as Sri Lanka seek to develop their fast bowling unit. He also struck a good medium between aggression and caution with the bat, and gets half a point for being the only Sri Lanka batsman to show signs of positivity in the second innings in Sharjah.

Suranga Lakmal (12 wickets at 33.75)
Marginally worse figures than Eranga, but with the new ball, Lakmal was perhaps the slightly bigger threat. In days gone by, it would have been inconceivable for Lakmal to average 43 overs in three back-to-back Tests, but again, his fitness is testament to his work ethic. Could do with a ball that moves in appreciably off the seam, but plenty of encouragement can be gained from his progress.

Kaushal Silva (307 runs at 51.16)
A breakthrough tour after being perennially overlooked, Silva provided security to the top of the innings, and made strong indications he is a long-term prospect for Sri Lanka. He was almost perfect in defence to both seam and swing, but did not allow too many poor balls to pass by either. Best of all, he is said to have a terrific attitude, and was also a major asset in the infield throughout the series. His 95 in Dubai was vital to Sri Lanka consolidating their position in the match.

6

Mahela Jayawardene (227 runs at 45.40)
A horror first Test and then a courageous return to form in the next match, Mahela's 129 with a stitched-up left hand was not his most attractive innings, but it outlined his understanding of the game, as well as his enduring love for it. He missed out twice on half-centuries in Sharjah, when he had seemed set for one of his big knocks. He was not on the field for most of the final day - apparently with a back complaint - and perhaps if he had been on hand to provide advice, Sri Lanka might not have been so clueless.

Nuwan Pradeep (5 wickets at 22.40)
The key ingredient to effecting Pakistan's first-innings collapse in Dubai, Pradeep reached the highest speeds of the three frontline seamers, and also moved it both ways off the deck. Will perhaps never be the persistent, reliable line and length bowler that Eranga and Lakmal promise to be, but he could in time develop into a fine attacking weapon - a good first-change bowler. His effort subsided in the second innings in Dubai, suggesting he is not as fit as the other two men in the battery, but perhaps that has also something to do with his fragility.

Rangana Herath (14 wickets at 36.64)
The pitches were clearly not as conducive to spin as expected, but for the most part, Herath found ways to be effective, often bowling in helpful tandem with either Eranga or Lakmal. Pakistan had learnt to defuse the carrom ball that had undone them in previous series, but Herath has also become more wily since they last played. Did not deserve the indignity of almost being reduced to a circus act in that final Sharjah innings, where he bowled almost exclusively outside leg stump and still went at more than five an over.

Dimuth Karunaratne (198 runs at 39.60)
Only one fifty in six innings, but runs are runs, and Karunaratne played a role in stabilising Sri Lanka's top order. He had been exposed outside off stump in Sri Lanka's last away tour, in Australia, but appears to have improved in that regard. Silva took some time to get settled at the crease, Karunaratne's positivity ensured the fast bowlers did not exert substantial pressure early on. He knows he must build on starts in the future, but there is enough about him to suggest he can succeed in the long term.

5

Kumar Sangakkara (166 runs at 33.20)
A strange series for Sangakkara, who had not missed making a hundred against Pakistan in six previous series. He was sometimes troubled by spin, as he struggled to employ the sweep effectively, but he perished softly several times, middling the ball straight to fielders, in the air. Failure often makes him hungrier. Bangladesh beware.

Dilruwan Perera (95 runs at 51.50)
Was picked in Sharjah for his bowling, but he did so little of it in the match, this mark is largely a reflection of his 95 in the first innings. He is highly rated in first-class cricket and will no doubt have more opportunities. If he can maintain a good record with the bat as well and show penetration with the ball, he could become a player that helps balance the Sri Lanka XI.

4

Dinesh Chandimal (125 runs at 25)
Hit an unruffled 89 on a flat surface in Abu Dhabi, but was otherwise disappointing, though he did get some very good balls. Those who have seen him play fine innings in Australia and South Africa cannot doubt his aptitude for Test batting, but given his poor returns in limited-overs cricket in the past few months, he will know a he needs a few big scores in Bangladesh.

3

Sachithra Senanayake
Had the misfortune of debuting on a surface that made the two best spinners in the world appear toothless, and could not take a wicket in his 23 overs in Abu Dhabi. Did good work as 12th man in the remaining Tests, and though he probably slips behind Dilruwan Perera in the spinners' queue, he will likely have more chances at this level.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sinhaya on January 25, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1 and Fast_Track_Bully, Indians took 19 years to register their first test win but Sri Lanka took barely 4 years. That shows how pathetic have India been in cricket for the past 70 years.

  • Sinhaya on January 23, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1and Fast_Track_Bully, India often Indians get humiliated by getting all out for double digits. That 54 all out in Sharjah highway, 66 all out in Durban are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • on January 23, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    abishek verma- they are miles ahead than your ashok dinda, umesh yadav, and not to mention ishant sharma.lol. cricinfo please publish

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 23, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1. No wonder why SL against 2 tire system, they will easily be at the bottom of group 2 below Nepal and PNG.

  • Yousufahmed1 on January 23, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    It is great to watch this associate level play.it is irony that SL is bloking other teams like uganda or png to enter to the top 10 in place of SL.i think uganda has more talented bowlers or batsmen than Sri Lanka.i hope they get a chance.

  • SriLankanYoungBlood on January 23, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    Bofore 2013 SL team is not most existing spirited team. Not only SriLankans,BD,PAK even Indian Fans regularly watched SL matches. But last year or so SL team became most ugly cricket playing nation with bunch of aged,tried,ruined seniors. not only players,selectors ,SL Media also responsible that. Most of the time i highly appreciates this writers reports because of he always see the ground reality and bitter truth but not this time. pls andrew not to be like regular SL media.

  • Yousufahmed1 on January 23, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    BIG STRIDES??? Towards what?? Extending the coveted record of not winning a single series outside SL since 2000.

  • on January 23, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Great job of Misbah Ul Haq for victory of Pakistan.........

  • on January 23, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Dont understand whats the fuss about Lakmal, Eranga, Pradeep.. They are absolutely ordinary and an average of around 30 confirms that they shouldn't have got 8/10 marks. On the other hand look at Junaid and co. Much better than these Lankans. Cricinfo stop giving high marks just for the sake of it

  • DreamCricketer on January 22, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Dreamcricketer: What happened to Chandimal?? Not mentioned about is performance here.. Also he's going to captain the T20 teams.

  • Sinhaya on January 25, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1 and Fast_Track_Bully, Indians took 19 years to register their first test win but Sri Lanka took barely 4 years. That shows how pathetic have India been in cricket for the past 70 years.

  • Sinhaya on January 23, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1and Fast_Track_Bully, India often Indians get humiliated by getting all out for double digits. That 54 all out in Sharjah highway, 66 all out in Durban are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • on January 23, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    abishek verma- they are miles ahead than your ashok dinda, umesh yadav, and not to mention ishant sharma.lol. cricinfo please publish

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 23, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    @Yousufahmed1. No wonder why SL against 2 tire system, they will easily be at the bottom of group 2 below Nepal and PNG.

  • Yousufahmed1 on January 23, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    It is great to watch this associate level play.it is irony that SL is bloking other teams like uganda or png to enter to the top 10 in place of SL.i think uganda has more talented bowlers or batsmen than Sri Lanka.i hope they get a chance.

  • SriLankanYoungBlood on January 23, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    Bofore 2013 SL team is not most existing spirited team. Not only SriLankans,BD,PAK even Indian Fans regularly watched SL matches. But last year or so SL team became most ugly cricket playing nation with bunch of aged,tried,ruined seniors. not only players,selectors ,SL Media also responsible that. Most of the time i highly appreciates this writers reports because of he always see the ground reality and bitter truth but not this time. pls andrew not to be like regular SL media.

  • Yousufahmed1 on January 23, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    BIG STRIDES??? Towards what?? Extending the coveted record of not winning a single series outside SL since 2000.

  • on January 23, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Great job of Misbah Ul Haq for victory of Pakistan.........

  • on January 23, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Dont understand whats the fuss about Lakmal, Eranga, Pradeep.. They are absolutely ordinary and an average of around 30 confirms that they shouldn't have got 8/10 marks. On the other hand look at Junaid and co. Much better than these Lankans. Cricinfo stop giving high marks just for the sake of it

  • DreamCricketer on January 22, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Dreamcricketer: What happened to Chandimal?? Not mentioned about is performance here.. Also he's going to captain the T20 teams.

  • yorkslanka on January 22, 2014, 17:40 GMT

    Cont..sorry meant dilruwan Perera rather than seekuge prasanna...

  • yorkslanka on January 22, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    I hope that for Bangladesh tour we give youngsters a chance and so rest Sanga and Mahela with Thirimanne to come in . My test team and batting order is 1. Dimuth 2. Silva 3. Thirimanne 4. Chandimal 5. Mathews 6. prassana J (wk)7. Prassana 8. Herath 9. Lakmal 10. Eranga 11. Pradeep With this team we have seven batsmen, three quicks (& Mathews) and two spinners...

  • partyanimal on January 22, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    If you want to win Good positive Mind set,Pure Sportsmanship,Good captaincy and then lastly talents.

  • greenluv on January 22, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Cap is young should be more aggressive than playing negative cricket. However it is always good to see them playing and usually they are fighter. luv frm Pak

  • King Maker Niraj on January 22, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    i guess if your no3 batsman had 2 50+ scores out of 6 innings and a average of 33 you would give a pat on the back and say well played but for sanga its a quite series ???

  • Tweety20 on January 22, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    Good to see Andrew highlighting SL's +ves after his last article showcasing their negatives. For all who crucified SL for raising concern about badlight,is it against the spirit of cricket to enquire to the umpire about the light?doesn't a team have that right? or is it the timing of the complaint that was out of spirit? With all due respect to Pak team and fans,Misbah would'nt have agreed to the badlight query knowing it will stop the match and they won't be able to win so even if he can't see the ball,he won't say anything and continue as long as they can win even if it meant batting beyond the allocated time unfortunately even the umpires allowed it.So why criticize one side for asking a legitimate question?

    ofcoz,i'm not saying that SL didn't have any faults (blame SLC for the test cricket drought),just critical thinking and I welcome reasonable responses. Besides,with the new ICC proposal handing power to the big 3,cricket and the spirit of it will be long gone.

  • Sinhaya on January 22, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    As this analysis is about SL bowling, conclusion is that it has improved where they can impress perhaps in 1 in 3 tests but cannot sustain a series. That was why the 3rd test was lost. Misbah Ul Haq is known for safety first approach where he opted not to chase 100 in 15 overs with 7 wickets in hand in the 2010 Dubai test against SA and instead called off the game in the last hour. Howeiver, he chased against SL knowing the weakness of our bowling attack. Herath may be on the downhill and to bolster our spin department, Tharindu Kaushal is the best ad he can bat and is young too. Not convinced about Lakmal playing in the test team and I think SSC paceman Charith Jayampathi is a better idea.

  • Sinhaya on January 22, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    This tour was no doubt a good comeback for Sri Lanka after a lengthy layoff from tests. Lasting all 5 days in all 3 tests was simply brilliant. Prior to the series I was of the view that Pakistan may win the tests 2-1 or 2-0 but it was not the case in the end. No doubt Mathews has improved as a player to be player of the series but his captaincy is still questionable. I guess worth checking how he performs in England before making any changes to captaincy.

    In the batting department, Kaushal Silva was the main find along with Eranga and Pradeep being the finds in the bowling front. Karunaratne gave starts but could not convert it so worth giving him a chance in Bangladesh too. Opening partnership has been a problem over the years. Drafting Shehan Jayasuriya into the test squad sooner the better as his bowling is great for a top order batsman since we need a 2nd part time bowler present on top of the 4 full time bowlers for a test match. Reason we also lost was due to our weak bowling.

  • on January 22, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    The last sanga was in poor form (in the previous ipl) he struck back (in the champions trophy and against south africa) with match winning and career best hundreds, along with an agression that had never before been seen in him. Indeed, bangladesh beware...

  • SriLankanYoungBlood on January 22, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    Going through this i understood writer Over Praised Sanga,Mahela and Hearth same time UnderPraised Mathews,Dilruwan,Eranga and Lakmal performance. what the meaning of Bangladesh beware when it's come to Sanga, he might get his old form in BD tour but what d point of even getting 200 against minnows like BD without getting runs against quality team like PAK. Instead of Sanga if SL emplyed Withange or Priyanjan in last PAK team might be end with good result. Now Playing Sanga against BD both 2 young batsmen missed another opportunity to prove. This article is written clear to give unrealiztic joy to frustrated Mahela,Sanga fans

  • dalpadadu on January 22, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    i am really dissapointed to see that our team has gone to worst.first of all try to remove chandimal from the team becasue he dont have a good average at all since his 100 in uk.also mathews has to take the big responsibility loosing the third test he scored 4o add runs facing 100 odd balls.if you go through our second innings scorecard nobody went above 50 percent on striking rate as far as all pakistan players went above 50 percent.mahela has taken 216 balls to sore 46 he need to keep his possition in the team.out batsmen didnt play well against two spinners but pakistan batsman played well against herath and dulruwan so we are just fools to watch this drama.at last our players will not loose their salaries.if we underferformed in our jobs superiors will reduce our salaries or terminate our job but in cricket no punishments or reductions at all.

  • stormy16 on January 22, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    I reckon Dilruwan needs to be a spot higher while Sanga and Chandi need to be a spot lower. Sanga was a major dissappointment and his shot selections were really bad and at critical times. For such and experienced player to throw his wicket at such critical times in the series is simply not acceptable. Not sure why Dilruwan is in the same bracket - the guys was brilliant with the bat and got a wicket when he was given the chance!

    Chandi I am afraid had a poor tour and worringly there appears to be no real improvement or tightening of his game whcih is what I thought he was doing when he opted out of the last IPL. There is no doubt about his talent but that can only get you up to a point and that is why he has a good record in test. But to take the step he needs to tighten his defense and improve his shot selection. He still looks the same as when he came in which is dissappointing as you want a youngster to improve and get to a higher level.

  • anver777 on January 22, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Part of the credit must go to bowling coach Vaas too, for his role in the team....

  • rshan on January 22, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    Well done the Seamers, Eranga, Lakmal and Pradeep, and also credit to Vaasi. There is much room for improvement. More dedication and continuous hard training is required for consistency. Lets hope the trio will keep up the good work.

    Sachithra Senananayake doesn't seem suitable for tests. ODI and T20 is his stregth. Dilruwan Perera seems more a test player. Should persist with Dilruwan to support Herat, also since he can bat.

    Much has been said about Mathew's shocking captaincy. No doubt he utterly failed for been negative, was awful and clueless during the Pakistani onslaught. The good that has happened is that he values his wicket since been appointed captain. His batting has improved heaps which is great for Sri Lanka cricket.

    Chandimal was really out of sorts and reckless. Consistency is required for any player to stamp his place in the team. Should send him to play for the A team to find form and prove himself, like Aussie did to Warner.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on January 22, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Aged local legends seems to be liability of the SL team. But blind fans happy with their performance. No wonder, they got what they deserved.!

  • Udendra on January 22, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    IMO, Sanga & Chandimal don't deserve even this much of points. Lakmal's problem is he doesn't stay consistent throughout a series or a match.

  • InternationalCricketFollower on January 22, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Glad Kaushal Silva was in the XI for this series. He should have been selected long time ago. Hope he becomes a key player in all formats. This guy has so much potential.

  • on January 22, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Most of Sri Lankan young cricketers have been proved their selves except chandimal. I think Chandimal's batting techniques will never help him to survive at highest level. I have seen that there was huge gap in between bat and pad when he attempt to play drives. eventually he balled at several time in a raw with this bad technique. Chandimal should play only limited over game I hope. Hong Kong Sixes should be ideal!!

  • MelbourneMiracle on January 22, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    Who gives these points? Mathews should certainly be given 9 points because of his Man of the series performance. Chandimal's aptitude for test batting? Really? Yeah we saw that from the shot he played to get out in the 1st innings of the last test. He never got out to a good ball. Even in the 2nd innings, he got out to a rash shot more than to a good ball. Commentators nicely explained it to us using several replays. No need to just whitewash him. He's just an average player who wouldn't get a chance to play even in Afghanistan team. Cricinfo please publish this!

  • MelbourneMiracle on January 22, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    Days are numbered for Chandimal...Mark my words!

  • Sandasiri_Asitha on January 22, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    What more to expect from a team who plays once a year...?? I think it's really good tour for SL even though they miss a chance to win the series. After years, fast bowlers showed up for SL. One gentle knock from Sanga could have give SL ez win. Weldone guyz....

  • mensan on January 22, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    SL bowlers did well on non-responsive wickets.

  • on January 22, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    Very good analysis. Dinesh Chandimal never deserves to be in the test side and Matthews captaincy performance - tactics needs to be closely looked at. Very poor tactics on day 3 - and if you are a cricket lover without taking sides Paks were outstanding compared to a very negative approach by SL. Well done Paks - even if you cannot play cricket in your own country without many facilities and luxury life in Pakistan you deserve the credit - well done Mr. Whatmore !

  • CricketFever11 on January 21, 2014, 23:03 GMT

    Although, SL lost the last test due to poor strategies and poor captaincy, Sri Lanka displayed a massive improvement as a test playing nation during this series. Fast bowling stocks has grown in confidence. Last test will be a massive lesson to young Mathews. Actually, we didn't lose anything than gaining more.

  • Kelum_w on January 21, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    SL need to beef up Lakmal, Eranga and Pradeep while running miles and miles and doing regular yoga and who knows they all might reach the magical 150KMPH :-).

  • on January 21, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Definitely this tour of SL team was a great upcoming of youngsters. Pretty happy performance from them. At least now we have new hopes.

  • musfiqur.mishu on January 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    Sri Lanka has found a good captain who is capable with the ball when needed and bowl too I mean Angelo Matthews. I rate him 10 out of 10

  • on January 21, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    Mathews does not deserve 8, he disgraced Cricket by being negative and trying to stall game with unsportsmanlike delaying tactics.

  • on January 21, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    Srilankan need more fast bowling like malinga change fast bowling

  • on January 21, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    I would give Mathews 9 out of 10 for this series. 1 less because of his poor captaincy in last 1.5 days of last test match. he will learn more from this loss and will become a good captain.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 21, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    I would give Mathews 9 out of 10 for this series. 1 less because of his poor captaincy in last 1.5 days of last test match. he will learn more from this loss and will become a good captain.

  • on January 21, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    Srilankan need more fast bowling like malinga change fast bowling

  • on January 21, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    Mathews does not deserve 8, he disgraced Cricket by being negative and trying to stall game with unsportsmanlike delaying tactics.

  • musfiqur.mishu on January 21, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    Sri Lanka has found a good captain who is capable with the ball when needed and bowl too I mean Angelo Matthews. I rate him 10 out of 10

  • on January 21, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Definitely this tour of SL team was a great upcoming of youngsters. Pretty happy performance from them. At least now we have new hopes.

  • Kelum_w on January 21, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    SL need to beef up Lakmal, Eranga and Pradeep while running miles and miles and doing regular yoga and who knows they all might reach the magical 150KMPH :-).

  • CricketFever11 on January 21, 2014, 23:03 GMT

    Although, SL lost the last test due to poor strategies and poor captaincy, Sri Lanka displayed a massive improvement as a test playing nation during this series. Fast bowling stocks has grown in confidence. Last test will be a massive lesson to young Mathews. Actually, we didn't lose anything than gaining more.

  • on January 22, 2014, 1:36 GMT

    Very good analysis. Dinesh Chandimal never deserves to be in the test side and Matthews captaincy performance - tactics needs to be closely looked at. Very poor tactics on day 3 - and if you are a cricket lover without taking sides Paks were outstanding compared to a very negative approach by SL. Well done Paks - even if you cannot play cricket in your own country without many facilities and luxury life in Pakistan you deserve the credit - well done Mr. Whatmore !

  • mensan on January 22, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    SL bowlers did well on non-responsive wickets.

  • Sandasiri_Asitha on January 22, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    What more to expect from a team who plays once a year...?? I think it's really good tour for SL even though they miss a chance to win the series. After years, fast bowlers showed up for SL. One gentle knock from Sanga could have give SL ez win. Weldone guyz....