Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2016-17 March 21, 2017

Sri Lanka's old guard proves its worth again

Marks out of ten for Sri Lanka's players after their 1-1 series draw against the visiting Bangladesh side

The Sri Lankan captain was the only bowler from either side to get more than ten wickets in the two-Test series © AFP


Rangana Herath (16 wickets at 18.00)

In a home series, who else but Herath to lead the wicket charts, wrapping his little tentacles around Bangladesh in Galle, then wangling out the tail at the P Sara? For the first time in a year, though, he failed to bowl his side to victory in the second Test - foiled on this occasion by a precise and inspired Tamim Iqbal. He says he has more cricket left to give, and Sri Lanka will probably need him decades into the future, even if he has to approach the crease in a mobility scooter. Herath also shares such a warm relationship with the opposition coach, that the series should unofficially be called the Herath-Hathurusingha BFF Cup.


Kusal Mendis (254 runs at 63.50)

Mendis was deemed "lucky" not to be out first ball at Galle, when he nicked behind only for a no-ball to eventually be called. But if he had simply played and missed at that delivery, we wouldn't remember it at all. There is a chance, however, that the reprieve tempered him. For the next 100 balls, Mendis was as disciplined as he had ever been at the top level, venturing big shots only against the really poor balls. That innings of 194 set the match up for Sri Lanka, but he couldn't cross fifty again in the three innings that followed. To scare him into staying on the straight-and-narrow, one of the coaching staff could show him a montage of horror dismissals from the careers of talented Sri Lankan batsmen who have lost their way. Here's one player Sri Lanka must turn into a run machine.


Dinesh Chandimal (198 runs at 66.00)

Arriving with a long string of failures behind him, a pulseless first innings at Galle suggested there would be more trouble. But then a mature 138 in Colombo, while his teammates faltered, marked a proper return to form. There was restraint in his shot selection during that knock, but he was also restrained in his celebrations and general demeanour. Could this be the onset of a more consistent and productive phase of his career? Is it a false dawn? It's only been a six-year career so far, but it feels like several lifetimes.

Dimuth Karunaratne (195 runs at 48.75)

Coaches often breed confidence in batsmen by sweetly whispering to them that their next big score is around the corner. Karunaratne, though, seems to largely make runs when his place is on the line. His excellent second-innings ton at the P Sara came in genuinely difficult circumstances, and was the only thing that gave Sri Lanka hope in that match. If he is better when he is insecure, would Karunaratne average 50 if the selectors were constantly yelling at him? Maybe 60 if he was forced to travel to the ground on the roof of the team bus? What's the harm in finding out?

Dilruwan Perera (eight wickets at 34.75, 143 runs at 35.75)

There were two excellent fifties with the bat, but also some long fruitless spells with the ball. Occasionally at the start of Sri Lanka's defence of 191 in Colombo, Perera proved expensive, which undermined Herath, who was attacking at the other end. His presence in the side does allow Sri Lanka to field five frontline bowlers, however, and one modest series after a few good home outings probably won't put his place under threat.


Upul Tharanga (156 at 39.00)

Tharanga had an encouraging return to the opening position, if, in a series in which openers had more success than they generally do on the island. Whatever is true about his batting overseas, he does look wonderful in full flow at home - especially adept against spin, but often imperious against the quicks as well. His Galle hundred was perhaps the most visually pleasing of the series' centuries. He got out to a challenging Mehedi Hasan delivery in the last innings of the series. Though, is it that Tharanga has the uncommon misfortune of getting good balls, or does he keep making decent deliveries look uncommonly good? It is honestly too hard to tell anymore.

Lakshan Sandakan (six wickets at 45.33)

Sandakan was better than these unflattering numbers suggest - his team-mates continued to drop catches off his bowling, and he made some vital breakthroughs. Bangladesh read his variations better than Australia had done, but that didn't mean he failed to be a threat. A long career beckons if he can keep working on his control.

Suranga Lakmal's most memorable moment of the series was his decision to stop his 'walk to the pavillion' © AFP


Suranga Lakmal (three wickets at 50.33, 85 runs at 28.33)

After what would have seemed like a dream vacation on South Africa's lush pitches, Lakmal came back to his day job on the island's tiresome, tawny, dust-factories. His colleagues began disrespecting him almost immediately - dropping catches off his bowling, even though he had helped bail the team out with the bat at the P Sara. Lakmal has no choice but to swallow his sadness and keep plugging away on these pitches until Sri Lanka give him another holiday to England, or South Africa, or New Zealand. Two home series and an away tour to the UAE are up next. Pray for Lakmal.

Niroshan Dickwella (129 runs at 32.25, three catches, one stumping)

Dickwella made most of his runs in the easiest conditions encountered in this series, but did have a spark about his batting in Galle. He was out twice playing either the paddle sweep or the reverse paddle - the keeper anticipating and intercepting his shot both times. Perhaps this is part of Dickwella's Test education - you can't get away with it as much at this level. His keeping was mostly good, though far from flawless.


Asela Gunaratne (105 runs at 26.25, one wicket at 58.00)

If not quite a fall from the stratosphere, Gunaratne received at least a gentle return to Earth after his exploits in Australia and his success at the IPL auction. Sri Lanka needed runs from Gunaratne at the P Sara, but he was out lbw cheaply in both innings. Gunaratne's lbw decisions were about the only calls the P Sara umpires got right.


Lahiru Kumara (one Test, one wicket at 80.00)

A tough initiation to Test cricket at home after Kumara's heroics in South Africa. He played on a very flat Galle surface, and though a little expensive, Kumara did at least threaten on occasion.

Dhananjaya de Silva (one Test, 34 runs at 17.00)

Dhananjaya was on the receiving-end of a very good ball from Mustafizur Rahman in the second innings at P Sara, but should have made more of the start he had got in the first innings.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cpur on March 24, 2017, 11:53 GMT

    Olds were guarded well..... but new are not honor their names.......

  • Andrew on March 23, 2017, 11:22 GMT

    @MRoshan: Tharanga took 2 out of 3 catches came to him in the series and Don't forget Sakib was let off at 40 by Chandimal & a stumping was missed by Dickwella in 60s and 3 or 4 chances were missed by many SL fielder's collectively in each inning of this series. So why reduce points from Tharanga who scored a vital ton to win the 1st test and put up 50 runs 1st wkt stand with DK to see through the new ball and most difficult/vital 15 overs in last session of day3. Only a biased fool would deny him points.

  • Roshan on March 23, 2017, 6:14 GMT

    Why don't u reduce points for miss catches.... etc. Tharanga'll never get a plus mark.

  • Andrew on March 23, 2017, 3:48 GMT

    @Deepfreez__ LOL you are so right, 20Average QUALITY Gate Openers are Plenty in SL as we seen during past three plu years. The opener Upul Tharanga who scored the most number of big Centuries (14) from least number of innings in SL odi history and produced at a rate of 50+ score from each 4 innings (39x50+ from 160 ings as opener) should be axed again after producing his latest 119 from 90 balls in SA conditions in his 3rd Odi played as Opener virtually after 3 years in dump, since a solitary match played in 2014 vs Ind. SL will only succeed in another bout of series defeats including next WC and CTT without him for sure.

  • sriyantha on March 23, 2017, 0:00 GMT

    Deepfreezed@: Oh yeah.,the best credentialed/experienced opener we have... need to be axed again, to doom series after series as we seen in past 3 yrs., so we can see the repeat telecast in next 3 yrs as well.! There are plenty of openers around.... like KJP average in the massive 20s after wasting 65 odis, half of it (28 odis ended in single digits under 10 balls yielding 105 runs at astonishing 3.8 Av). Gunathilake is no different after playing 15 odis Av 25. How many tons/50+ scores have we seen from these blossoming OPENERs, in the 100+ ODIs SL played since Tharanga was axed in Jul 2013.... just three weeks after his career best unbeaten 174* in Kingston and the recent 90 ball 119 trashed on a green top in SA vs SA, in his 3rd Odi played as Opener since the solitary match given in 2014 ...? As Opener, Upul had scored 5k runs at 35 Av with 14 x100+ & 25x 50+ . Most of all he had maintained that record over 8 yrs in 150+ odis. BTW how many SL openers got a better record than this?

  • Deep on March 22, 2017, 13:40 GMT

    Tharanga needs to be out of the team. There are too many quality openers around. Tharanga is liability and caused the most embracing and demoralizing defeat in SL history. At this point nothing he does will turn that back, he needs to go.

  • Anver on March 22, 2017, 9:15 GMT

    Hera was the Hero of SL in this series !!! wish Herath will continue for another couple of years !!

  • Shehan on March 22, 2017, 4:55 GMT

    @DEEPFREEZED:Did you forget Tharanga's match winning century in the previous game? Imo it was the best inning of the entire series since he didn't give any chances to the opposition. Even in the second match he provided a fifty opening stand with Karunaratne in the second innings and laid a good foundation to wipe out the deficit, but the the other batsman didn't capitalize on it to change the match in favor of Sri Lanka.

  • wimals9183211 on March 21, 2017, 20:10 GMT

    10/10 to Psara stadium. SLC play all the important matches here.

  • Deep on March 21, 2017, 13:52 GMT

    There is not denying that this is the worst SL cricket team in history. Herath need to retire and give a chance to Pushpakumara. Tharanga need to go back to where he was, he single handedly paved the way to SLs biggest and most embarrassing lost ever. Dananjaya and Asela does not look like they will panout.

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