Lokuge Dinesh Chandimal
November 18, 1989, Balapitiya
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Ananda College, Colombo
Middle-order batter Dinesh Chandimal has been a mainstay for Sri Lanka's Test side in the era after the retirement of their greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. A technically sound batter with strokes all around the wicket, he has also impressed with his temperament to build and pace innings.
Chandimal made his international debut at 21 and impressed almost immediately, scoring 111 in his second ODI, against India in a triangular series in Zimbabwe. Four innings later he made another century, against England at Lord's, but it was in 2012 that his stocks rose significantly, when he averaged 50 on tours to South Africa and Australia, making six fifties In 16 ODI innings. Earlier that season, on Test debut, he had made fifties in each innings in Durban, in Sri Lanka's first Test win ever in South Africa.
Early in 2013, Chandimal became Sri Lanka's youngest ever captain, at 23, when he was handed the reins of the T20 side and was also named Angelo Mathews' deputy in Tests and ODIs. He made back-to-back Test hundreds, against Bangladesh at home, and captained the limited-overs sides off and on over the next four years.
His rise to the national team came after consistent performances with bat and gloves in age-level cricket. That included an attacking century against India Under-19s in August 2007 and an unbeaten 112 in the tri-nation series against England U-19s the following year, which earned him a call-up to the squad for the U-19 World Cup in Malaysia in 2008.
In the Galle Test against India in 2015, Chandimal almost single-handedly dragged Sri Lanka to a win, wrested the advantage back with 162 from No. 6 at nearly a run a ball in the second innings after Sri Lanka were tottering at 95 for 5, having conceded a lead of nearly 200.
In the 2016 home series against Australia, Chandimal was key to Sri Lanka sealing the whitewash, effecting another rescue after a disastrous start left them at 26 for 5 in the last Test, in Colombo: he bedded in for a six-hour 132 in the first innings, and put on a 90-run partnership with Kaushal Silva in the second.
In 2017, after Mathews stepped down from the captaincy in all formats, Chandimal was named as his replacement, but only held the post for little over a year. By this point he was mostly as a Test specialist and not regularly in the reckoning for selection in the white-ball squads. That year, he led Sri Lanka to one of their finest Test series wins, 2-0 against Pakistan in the UAE, to which he contributed with 155 not out in the first match and a fifty in the second. In the series in India that followed, a big hundred from him in the third Test helped wrest a draw after the home side piled up 536 in the first innings.
Chandimal hit a bit of a rough patch after that, with only three fifties and a hundred over the next two years, leading into the Covid pandemic, and he didn't quite thrive in 2021 either. He made up in 2022 with an unbeaten 206 against Australia that levelled the two-Test home series against them, and provided something of an encore, scoring 76 and 94 not out in the next Test, against Pakistan in the series that followed. Sri Lanka lost that match but won the next, where Chandimal set up their first innings nicely, top-scoring with 80.
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