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How the players fared during the Tests between Sri Lanka and Pakistan
July 14, 2012
Bounced back after a poor home series against England with 490 runs in three Tests. Was the only consistent middle-order batsman. Unlucky to miss a double-century in Galle, but was to blame for getting out on 192 at SSC. Tormented Pakistan yet again, and became the quickest to 2000 runs against an opponent.
Back to his attacking best with two centuries. Gave Sri Lanka a rousing start in Galle, which allowed them to bat Pakistan out of the match. Scored his first Test century at home in three years and first since he quit the captaincy late last year. Had to miss the third Test for family reasons.
Expectedly had a heavy workload as the lead spinner. Lucky to get a few wickets to poor umpiring in Galle and toiled on a batting track at the SSC. His 15 wickets bode well for Sri Lanka and he will continue to be their strike bowler in home conditions.
Played one Test, when Sri Lanka picked four seamers in Pallekele. An inspired selection, he dented Pakistan's top order during a four-wicket haul. Blasted 75 to propel Sri Lanka to a first-innings lead as well. Will be tested as a bowler in friendlier batting conditions. A good prospect as a bowling allrounder, he was Sri Lanka's star through the tour.
An underwhelming series with the bat - 100 runs in three Tests - but scored for his captaincy. Succeeded in leading Sri Lanka to their first series win in three years. Kept the spirits high despite payment issues with the board. Goofed up at the toss at the SSC, but achieved what he set out to do, which was to win a series against a strong Test side.
Impressive in Galle, claiming four wickets in the first innings. Rated highly by his captain Jayawardene. Better on pitches offering extra bounce. Needs more top-order wickets to establish himself in Tests.
Played as makeshift opener in his only opportunity, in Pallekele, as a last-minute replacement for Dilshan. Flopped in the first innings but his positive batting in the second raised hopes of chasing 270. Played his natural game. Threw it away after a fifty, which altered Sri Lanka's plans of going for the win. Remains their brightest prospect, but his future is in the middle order.
Under pressure to justify his place coming into the series. Couldn't convert some of his starts, but his 75 in Pallekele was crucial for him and the team, with Pakistan looking to make inroads in bowling conditions. Still circumspect outside his off stump. Should be part of Sri Lanka's plans for the next Test series.
Rated highly by Jayawardene and Sangakkara, who see him as a future Test spearhead. Needs more opportunities. Effective in Galle, and was lucky to have a couple of marginal umpiring decisions go his way, but struggled at the SSC, where there was little seam movement. Capable of making a successful transition to Tests from being a limited-overs specialist. Pace is not his forte, but his swing and cut make him a handful.
An unusually tepid home series, despite a fighting 73 in Pallekele. Dismissed four times by Saeed Ajmal. Handled the moving ball well when Sri Lanka were under pressure. His experience will count on the tour of Australia later this year.
Decent series behind the stumps, especially when standing up to the seamers. Could have had a better series with the bat. Remains Sri Lanka's best wicketkeeper.
Sri Lanka's flawed fast bowler made his 17th Test comeback, in Pallekele. Took three wickets, but two of them weren't with deserving deliveries. In the team for his pace and he injured Adnan Akmal. Will have to compete for a place once the injured fast bowlers return.
A lukewarm Test series, after his heroics in the one-dayers. Managed two wickets in three Tests and was used only in short spells, given his injury record. Capitalised on a good batting track at the SSC. As vice-captain, it's clear Sri Lanka have long-term plans for him as a leader. Needs to watch his fitness.
Currently holds a dubious Test average of 345. Took his solitary wicket in Galle, but went without success at the SSC. But he's among the fastest bowlers in the country and can give variety to the attack. Needs to work on his bowling fitness. Sri Lanka need to be patient with him.
Started as a support bowler for Umar Gul but went on to lead the attack. Praised for his aggression and perseverance. Reversed the ball to right-handers from around the wicket on a flat SSC pitch. The tips from Wasim Akram paid off. Displayed stamina and didn't drop pace despite hot conditions. With 14 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls, he was the standout performer among both sides.
Justified his reputation as a young Test batsman with a strong temperament. Showed attention spans needed to play long innings. Failed in Galle, but made up for it with a patient 157 at the SSC. His 136 in Pallekele was a better knock as it came under pressure, with Pakistan fighting to erase a first-innings lead. Scored more tons than any other batsman in the year so far and also improved his conversion rate.
Tightened his technique and carved out a fighting century in Pallekele. Showed temperament and maturity as a No.6, batting with an injured Adnan Akmal when Pakistan needed to set a strong target. Also had a valuable partnership with Younis Khan in Galle. Has age on his side.
Shrugged off poor one-day form to be Pakistan's leading run-scorer in the Tests with 315 runs. Was given the captaincy in Galle due to Misbah-ul-Haq's ban. Erased self-doubt with a gritty 196 at the SSC. A vital opener in all formats but was under used as a bowler.
Pakistan's leading wicket-taker with 15, but wasn't quite the threat he was made out to be. Mahela Jayawardene said his batsmen played Ajmal better than in the previous series in the UAE. Let down by umpiring in Galle, hurt by the absence of DRS, and struggled to contain runs at the SSC. But remains their most potent spinner.
Batted courageously in Pallekele, braving a fractured finger during a stubborn ninth-wicket stand with Shafiq. His unbeaten 35, which included two reverse-sweeps, kept Sri Lanka at bay when they were trying to end Pakistan's innings early and chase a modest target.
Perhaps Pakistan's best spinner in tough bowling conditions at the SSC. Posed questions with the occasional ball that turned and bounced. Picked up 4 for 78 for his efforts, but was unlucky to miss out in Pallekele because Pakistan played the extra fast bowler.
Not his most memorable series with the bat - 111 runs with one fifty - but Pakistan missed his captaincy and calm presence in Galle. His toughest series since November 2010, when he first became captain, and first defeat. Made a bold declaration in Pallekele, against his normal play-safe approach. The timing of his declaration will be debated, but needs to be commended for making a game out of the Test.
A disappointing series, given his experience. Failed in Galle, where he got a rough decision, but hit back with a positive fifty in the first innings at the SSC. Sri Lanka kept him in check by having the wicketkeeper stand up to the stumps against the seamers. Saddled with wicketkeeping duties in Pallekele following Akmal's finger injury.
An average series with the bat - 167 in three Tests. Struggled in the one-dayers and got a poor umpiring decision in the first innings in Galle. Made 87 in the second, but in a losing cause. A chirpy character on the field.
A strange series for Gul. He picked up one wicket in two Tests, not the numbers you would expect from a senior bowler. Better umpiring in Galle would have helped. He ran in and bowled with pace but wasn't lucky.
Made his 14th Test comeback. Picked up Jayawardene's wicket with a yorker in Pallekele but was underutilised compared to the other quicks. The question is if he has done enough to remain on the selectors' radar.
Was Misbah's replacement in Galle. Tough debut, walking in with Pakistan reeling at 44 for 5. Ended with 25 and 22. The 32-year old has experience in first-class cricket but may not find a middle-order spot, especially with the emergence of Azhar and Shafiq.
Like Gul, Cheema bowled well in patches but didn't produce the results. Wicketless at the SSC. Dropped for the third Test in favour of Sami.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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