England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 April 8, 2012

Top marks for Anderson and Jayawardene

Marks out of ten for England and Sri Lanka after the two-Test series


James Anderson
Was already established as one of the best fast bowlers before this tour and his reputation has now soared even higher. Superb in every innings and could easily have had greater reward. Incredible stamina.

Graeme Swann
Went wicketless in the first innings in Galle but was prolific after that. His performance in Colombo was one of his finest for England and he was back beating the outside edge to the right-handers, which added to his threat. Maybe the presence of Monty Panesar has given him a little kick?

Jonathan Trott
Showed England's batsmen it was possible to score during the failed run-chase in Galle and helped lay the solid foundation for victory in the second Test.

Kevin Pietersen
Few batsmen could have played the way Pietersen managed in Colombo and it made a mockery of his previous struggles in Test matches this year. When the mood takes him he remains irresistible.

Alastair Cook
Still can't quite get that 20th Test century after his second 94 of the year but that was a crucial innings to give England a base and also set the tone in the run chase. Missed a few sharp chances at short leg.

Matt Prior
Looked comfortable during the Galle run chase until unluckily being caught at short leg off a full-blooded sweep. Kept well in very tough conditions with the missed stumping (which didn't prove costly) as his only real blot.

Andrew Strauss
For the first time in his career he faced a lot of awkward questions and he never lost his composure. Ugly shots in the first Test; showed all his grit in the second. Captaincy does not always please those who want more aggression but used his resources well. Caught well too.

Steven Finn
Still a work in progress but showed impressive consistency and kept his pace up in the heat. Not a bad option as first reserve and it highlights England's depth in pace bowling.

Samit Patel
Did not look out of his depth. Managed what was asked with him with the ball - his economy rate was very impressive - and batted confidently in Colombo after a difficult start in Galle. Unlikely to see much Test action in England.

Tim Bresnan
Eleven Tests, 11 wins. England's lucky charm worked again. Took useful wickets in the first innings in Colombo and gave Strauss control. Would be perfect if he could be a Test No.7.

Ian Bell
Showed signs of regaining form in the first innings in Galle but again fell sweeping in the second. Wasted a good platform in the second Test. Needs some time in county cricket before the West Indies series.

Monty Panesar
Didn't bowl badly in Galle but could not conjure the threat he had shown in the UAE. Catching reverted to the bad old days and may have played a part in his omission. Still England's second best spinner by a clear margin.

Stuart Broad
Series cut short by injury and did not look his best in Galle after an earlier ankle problem. Bowled eight no-balls. But a minor blip. He's a world-class cricketer.

Sri Lanka

Mahela Jayawardene
The captain led by example with a Man-of-the-Series display. Ended a lean run in Test cricket with two hundreds and almost defied England single-handedly. Remains a reluctant captain but is giving the job his all. Tough gig with limited bowling resources.

Rangana Herath
Confirmed as the leader of Sri Lanka's attack and surpassed all expectations. Was helped by some reckless batting in Galle but also teased with flight and guile. He'll have a heavy workload in the years to come.

Angelo Mathews
Delayed start to the series due to injury and he may struggle to be a regular bowler in Test cricket, if fitness issues continue to plague him. But he twice showed he more than warrants a place as a batsman and appears wasted at No. 6 where he can be stranded with the tail.

Thilan Samaraweera
Rarely pleasing on the eye but a gutsy performer in the middle order. Two important innings in Colombo to keep Sri Lanka alive. If he'd survived the fourth evening the result could have been different. Surprisingly does not bowl these days.

Prasanna Jayawardene
A crucial second innings in Galle which extended Sri Lanka's lead beyond 300 highlighted his value to the middle order. His team could have done with more of the same in the second Test but he should fend off Dinesh Chandimal for a while longer. Tidy behind the stumps.

Chanaka Welegedara
Claimed the important wicket of Pietersen in Galle and offered some useful resistance with the bat before a groin injury ended his series early. One of Sri Lanka's better pace-bowling options.

Dinesh Chandimal
Made two starts in the first Test before giving it away on both occasions but Sri Lanka supporters (and management) need to be patient. He is a key part of the team's future.

Suraj Randiv
Very good in Galle, very ordinary in Colombo. Was taken apart by Pietersen, which has happened to many a bowler, but is worth persevering with. Tall offspinners can be an asset.

Tillakaratne Dilshan
Was more of a threat to England with his offspin rather than the bat. Fined once during the second Test and fortunate not to be done again after the reaction to his dismissal. Debate is starting about how much longer he will be around the Test side.

Suranga Lakmal
Found some swing in Galle but was ineffective in Colombo. Maybe worth persevering with. Showed unexpected stickability with the bat.

Dhammika Prasad
Frustrated England as nightwatchman more than he hindered them with the ball.

Kumar Sangakkara
A rare lean series for Sangakkara, including two first-ball ducks. It left a big hole in the Sri Lanka line-up and he never threatened to get on top of the England attack.

Lahiru Thirimanne
Out of his depth with the bat although he was facing the exceptional Anderson. But excellent at short leg.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jordan on April 10, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    Andrew Strauss a six?! He was woeful in this series. 26, 27, 61 and 0 may not look too dire, but his periods of cluelessness while batting and his dismissals tell the true tale. Strauss, like Michael Vaughan before him, is fortunate that he has the myth of the English captain mastermind to distract from his long periods of mediocrity as a batsman.

  • joel on April 10, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Just watched Kevin Pieterson blow away the chennai super kings . 43 in 26 balls , awsome stuff .

  • Michael on April 10, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    Fair enough, JamesTHEwalldravid, most informed judges agree with you in rating Lillee (and others that you mentioned) in general far above Anderson.

  • James on April 10, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    @stormy16 wooow! getting all high and mighty I see. Come on dude, you won one test and are speaking like you are the king of the world. Calling SL Club level? Calm down. Pakistan certainly made your batsmen look bad, maybe even shall we say "club level"? In fact, no, I have seen better players of spin on the streets of the sub-continent. Also the Pakistan Batsmen were laughing at Swanny. Monty was more effective than him. Swann had decent stats in series, but every time he came on to bowl the Pakistan batsmen looked unconcerned to say the least. They said:" Look our part timer Hafeez is better than this kid". So just relax, smile and practise batting against spin. India vs Eng coming up and can't wait. Don't know who to support. Maybe Eng or Maybe Ind. Huh.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    James Anderson rarely takes tail-ender wickets but if you look up Statsguru, you'll see just how effective he has been against the very best of batsmen. At the moment, Tendulkar is his "bunny", dismissed seven times in ten matches for a player vs player average of 27.71. He has dismissed Tendulkar, Boucher, Clarke, Kallis, Sangakkara, Smith, Dravid and Prince five times or more. Of these, only Graeme Smith with an average of 80.80 for his five times dismissed can be said to have gotten the better of him. If you extend the list to those 18 batsmen Anderson has dismissed four times or more, only Siddle isn't a batsman and only Smith and McKenzie (63.00) have come out on top in their confrontations. Not one of the Indian greats; Tendulkar (7/27.71), Dravid (5/32.60), Laxman (4/21.50) and Sehwag4/4.25 yes, four point twenty-five), can be said to have mastered Andersson.

  • James on April 10, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael you are correct. DK Lillee was a poor choice of example. Indeed Lillee was fare from impressive in the sub-continent and even still I'd take him in my side in heartbeat before even remotely thinking about James Andersen, however I admit you certainly have a very valid point.

  • Dru on April 10, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Only Straus's 6 is an issue - I think he failed and deserves a 4 at best. On Jimmy, he looked lethal each time he had the ball - new or old and knocked over the top order in each innings - can't get better than that in these conditions. The gap between the two attacks is a county mile and more. SL looks club leve at best and it will be pointed that they won in Galle. Sure they did but the blunt reality is Herath is a good spinner at best - the rest are barely club level and Herath wont win SL games unless the conditions are perfect for him. Swan on the other hand troubled quality players of spin consistently in the series. SL's lack of runs continues to be a major concern - their supposed strength. The opening combination puts serious pressue on the batting order and has done for a while now. SL will be the happier team with the series result and Eng will ponder how they lost a test to surely one of the weakest bowling attacks currently in test cricket and a top order that made no runs

  • Mike on April 10, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    Anderson and Swann are the leading Test bowlers in the 2010's, that is to say they are the most prolific wicket takers in the stated time. Pretty sure it was a case of them both averaging in the 20's with Anderson in the low 20's. He now deserves to be talked of as a world class Test bowler in all conditions. That is not hyperbole it is a simple truth, open your eyes Anderson is different class. He will be looking forwards to getting some more wickets this Summer before the easy task of the Aussie top order the following Summer. Of course sandwiched in between this will be the India tour, where I fully expect him to be comfortably the best fast bowler on either side.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    As repeatdely pointed out we have been 3 down for almost nothing in 4 out of 10 occasions in last two series against World No. 1 and No. 2. Only one occasion we crossed 100 before 3rd wicket fell. There is a huge problem with the openers. Sanga has recently failed most of the time when he comes to bat early. Whenever we had put up a decent total on the board bowlers although as a unit not world class have done the job. Dilshan needs to justify his place in the team. I cannot see why Thilan cannot bowl or that the captain does not want him to bow?. He is a genuine bowler not a ranked part-timer like Dilshan. Thilan was dropped during Aus series after scoring 86 runs in 4 innings although he averaged 50+ in previous Eng Series. Now what about Dilshan? A failure against two quality oppositions. No technique to open batting in a test match? Where is the justice?

  • John on April 10, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    @yorkshire-86, isn't it a bit tough calling someone who took 6 wickets in the second innings a passenger? Also, Swann was unlucky not to have 13 in the second Test. I don't necessarily agree with all of Gnasher's evaluations and maybe a few wickets from Swann in that first innings at Galle could have turned the game in England's favour but he did perform very well in 3 of 4 innings and not many people would consider 6 wickets in a match being a passenger.

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