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Sri Lanka's marks out of 10 following their 2-0 series win against Pakistan
Andrew Fidel Fernando
August 19, 2014
Rangana Herath (23 wickets at 15.13)
Emphatically reclaimed his status as Sri Lanka's chief match-winner after a quieter six months than he is used to. Herath had not lost his guile or accuracy in the series against England and South Africa, but against Pakistan, he rediscovered the rip that transforms him from a wily squeezer to an unchecked menace. His spell on the fifth day at Galle was the turning point of the series. Herath beat both edges of the bat regularly, and even Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan were out twice cheaply to him in the second Test. On a tour in which three frontline quicks were injured, Herath stepped up and took more wickets than anyone ever has in a two-Test series. He has now outperformed Ajmal in each of the last three series between these teams.
Kumar Sangakkara (323 runs at 80.75)
After missing out against his favourite opponent in the UAE series early this year, Sangakkara made up for it with a double ton in the first innings in Galle, helping Sri Lanka take a lead that would later prove invaluable. Rock solid against Ajmal and comfortable against Pakistan's pace, Sangakkara also made an important fifty in the second innings at the SSC, to help set up a daunting fourth-innings target.
Angelo Mathews (198 runs at 99)
The crazy thing about Angelo Mathews' average as captain is that just when you think he is due a failure, it improves with every series. He now averages 86.62 after 13 Tests at the helm. In Galle, his 91 in the first innings and his 13-ball 25 in the second dig where he hit the winning runs seconds before the rain came down, showcased his increasing range as a Test batsman. As a captain, Mathews seems to understand the limitations of attack, but is moving gradually towards embracing aggression. He still leant on Mahela Jayawardene's tactical acumen in the field, so greater challenges for his leadership lie ahead.
Dilruwan Perera (9 wickets at 34.88)
Expensive in Galle, but managed to pick up a five-wicket haul in the first innings, bowling a little more aggressively than he did against South Africa. He threatened the batsmen less on a turning track at the SSC, which left Herath with all the work. No big turner of the ball, but an accurate operator, Perera has done enough to prove he deserves to be in the national mix, particularly as he seems the kind of bowler who will pick up new tricks through experience. Sri Lanka might hope for a little more from him with the bat than the five runs he delivered in this series, though.
Upul Tharanga (168 runs at 42)
Sublime one moment, shaky the next. Sri Lanka would love for Tharanga to firm up his place, but he still seems unsure of himself. He scores his runs quickly, to offset Kaushal Silva's steady grind, and he has done well enough in this series to be in consideration for the ODI outfit. Tharanga seems to have been around forever, but at 29, he is still capable of carving out a long, successful career, as long as he omits the recurrent technical issues that have frustrated him in the past. There may also be a case for moving him to the middle order, where his issues against the new, swinging ball will be less apparent, and his considerable skill against spin can be better exploited.
Dhammika Prasad (5 wickets at 34.60)
More in-your-face than the other seamers in Sri Lanka's pace battery, Prasad got a little bit more out of the pitch than the other Sri Lanka quicks managed in the series. He would almost certainly not have played if Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal had been fit, but his ability to make important contributions is a promising sign Sri Lanka's fast bowling is developing under Chaminda Vaas. Deserves a trip to New Zealand at the end of the year, as long as he stays fit.
Niroshan Dickwella (50 runs at 16.66, 12 catches 1 stumping)
Gets this mark almost solely for his keeping, which was terrific, given the number of chances that came his way. He was tidy keeping to seam bowlers, who at times got inconsistent bounce, but adept to spinners, particularly at SSC, where the ball was turning considerably on day four, and leaping up off a length. Batted positively, but did not last long in his three innings in the series.
Mahela Jayawardene (143 runs at 35.75)
Few players have meant more to a team beyond the numbers they have piled up, and the admiration team-mates and opponents had for Jayawardene was obvious as he bid adieu to Tests at the SSC. He was not at his fluent best this series, but did produce two fifties, both brimming with that characteristic Jayawardene grace. Made five good grabs at slip as well, to finish on 205 Test catches - another hole, apart from the batting and the strategy, that Sri Lanka now have to fill in this format.
Kaushal Silva (122 runs at 40.66)
Steady contributions in both Tests, without a truly standout innings. Fourteen Tests in, Silva does not seem to have any gaping technical flaws, which is not a common trait for Sri Lanka openers. Now reasonably settled in the side, he will hope to take his batting to the next level by producing big scores in his next series. Did some good work as a close-in fielder as well.
Only one Test
Chanaka Welegedara (1 wicket at 87)
Once Sri Lanka's premier seamer, Welegedara has had a long, tough road back from multiple injuries. Though he produced a few good balls, he was not at his best rhythm at the SSC. Still, he claimed the wicket of Sarfraz Ahmed to effectively seal the win, and also gains a point for his 27 not out off 30 balls in the first innings, which elevated Sri Lanka's score from mediocre to competitive.
Lahiru Thirimanne (30 runs at 15)
He was dropped, perhaps prematurely, after a woeful England tour and a modest showing against South Africa, but he did not shake himself into form on his return either. Maybe a little A-team cricket during the break will help him get back to near his best.
Shaminda Eranga (1 wicket at 122)
Eranga was probably rushed back before he had recovered well enough from his hand injury. He was lower on pace than usual, and did not generate the swing he normally gets. He received treatment for his wound after almost every over, and now has a few months to rest and recover from a hip flexor injury, ahead of the New Zealand tour.
Kithuruwan Vithanage (16 runs at 16)
Did not make a convincing play for a long-term spot Sri Lanka's middle order based on his two Tests in the side, but he did bat aggressively alongside Mathews in the Galle chase, to help get Sri Lanka across the line. He was left out of the second Test, officially because of a finger injury.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernandoFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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