New Zealand in Sri Lanka 2012-13 November 30, 2012

Rangana Herath miles ahead for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's marks out of 10, for the Test series against New Zealand

9.5
Rangana Herath (20 wickets at 13.9)
 
Rangana Herath is doing his best to fill Sri Lanka's Murali-shaped void, and reaped Murali-like figures in this series to prove it. He bagged three five-wicket hauls in four innings, and made New Zealand look like school cricketers on a helpful track in Galle. At times he seemed like the only Sri Lanka bowler who could get a wicket, and he bore that pressure well. He has moved up to second place on the world Test bowler's rankings as a result of his returns in the series.

9
Angelo Mathews (210 runs at 70)

Angelo Mathews was Sri Lanka's best batsman of the series by some distance, and perhaps the first series in which he truly made a mark as a Test batsman. Mathews had the advantage of batting low enough down the order to miss the best of New Zealand's new-ball bowling, but he didn't allow his side to slip even further against a spirited attack, and his lowest score in three innings was his first-innings 47 in Colombo. In Galle he put on a vital 156-run stand alongside Mahela Jayawardene to lift Sri Lanka from 50 for 5, but his last innings was his best. Batting to save the Test, Mathews soaked up every ounce of pressure New Zealand threw at him, and might have pulled off a famous innings had either Thilan Samaraweera or Prasanna Jayawardene stuck with him for longer on the fifth day.

6.5
Nuwan Kulasekara (7 wickets 26)

The second consecutive series in which he has been Sri Lanka's best seam bowler, which is particularly impressive considering this is only his second series since being recalled to the Test side. Swung the ball well early in the innings, where he took most of his wickets, but at around 125kph, became friendly once the movement had disappeared. Was rarely wayward however, and though he may never become a strike Test bowler, he has proved he can fulfill an important role for his side through his discipline.

6
Thilan Samaraweera (100 runs at 33.33)

A 76 in the first innings at the P Sara ensured Sri Lanka avoided an embarrassing follow-on, and he looked set to defy the visitors alongside Mathews in the second innings, until a mix-up caused his demise. It should also be noted that he batted through pain in both innings after having split webbing in between two fingers in the field. He played the swinging ball better than any other batsman in Sri Lanka's top five, but did not produce the big score his side expect of him.

Mahela Jayawardene (100 runs at 33.33)
Made an important 91 in his first innings of the series, which was also the closest a Sri Lanka batsman came to making a hundred, but he failed to contribute at the P Sara. Appears to still have a major weakness outside off stump, particularly to balls that are pitched short of a length. He will be disappointed with his returns in the series, especially as it was at home.

5.5
Dimuth Karunaratne (60 runs at 60)

Made a duck in his first innings in international cricket, but recovered well in the second innings to make a belligerent 60. Appears to be particularly strong on the leg side, and he has earned a trip to Australia, where his technique will be given a thorough examination if he gets a game.

4.5
Shaminda Eranga (5 wickets at 38.2)

Was good in the Galle Test where there was movement in the air, but poor in Colombo when the ball did not swing. He was erratic in the second Test, often releasing the pressure that Nuwan Kulasekara had mounted at the other end; though he produced a few good balls in each spell, he lacked the consistency to force mistakes from his opponents. He seems to have the ingredients to become a good international bowler, but has much to learn at this level.

4
Prasanna Jayawardene (45 runs at 15)

Kept well but could not contribute meaningfully with the bat until the last day, where he resisted alongside Mathews for 35 overs. Fell to the sweep twice in three innings, and was the only Sri Lanka batsman to be dismissed exclusively by spin in the series. His batting had improved over the past 18 months, but he could not spend enough time at the crease against New Zealand to show that.

Tharanga Paranavitana (71 at 23.66)
Scratched around for 40 in the first innings in Colombo, before collecting a duck in the second innings, to go with his zero from the first Test. His is the only position in the Sri Lanka batting order that is under major scrutiny, and he was far from making the place his own in this series. Was again tentative against the moving ball, especially outside his off stump.

Suraj Randiv (5 wickets at 46, 48 runs)
A poor series with the ball, and though he was perhaps unlucky to not take more wickets in Galle, his two scalps in Colombo were fortuitous. Continues to bowl too many poor balls, allowing batsmen to feel comfortable against him, and he would do well to work on getting more turn as well. Played a decent innings in Sri Lanka's first innings in Colombo, and his commitment in the field was excellent as usual.

2.5
Tillakaratne Dilshan (19 runs at 9.5, 1 wicket at 19)

Missed the first Test through injury, and failed to make any major contributions in the second. He missed a simple, straight delivery from Tim Southee in the first innings, and could not sustain a positive start to his innings in the second.

2
Kumar Sangakkara (21 runs at 7)

It's a rare series in which Sangakkara fails to make a hundred, let alone a fifty, and he will be livid about his performance against New Zealand. He was unlucky to be bowled off his thigh pad in the final innings, but his hook shot in the first innings at the P Sara was a strange stroke to play on zero, while he will feel he should have played the moving ball better in Galle. He has relinquished his No. 1 batting ranking to Michael Clarke, partly due to this lean trot.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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