Vice captain Dinesh Chandimal hogged the limelight as Sri Lanka’s most successful batsman in the recently concluded tour of England. The batting form of the 26-year old right hander was the high point from an individual perspective in assessing the ups in a series that went England’s way in the hosts taking the Test series 2-nil and the ODIs 3-nil. Chandimal, who turns 27 on November 18, was the second highest run getter in the test series with 172 runt s from 5 innings with a highest of 126 for an average of 34.40 while he headed the ODIs with a tally of 267 from 5 innings with a highest of 63 averaging 53.40. in the second match played at Cardiff.
It was indeed a sweet rhapsody for the former Ananda College product and NCC player who has a penchant for overseas pitches having made a century at The Oval in his baptismal tour of England. He took four consecutive half tons off the English this time around.
Meanwhile, opening batsman Kaushal De Silva was Sri Lanka’s leading Test run getter with 193 runs. He had a highest of 79 from 6 innings for an average of 32.16. In third spot was young Kaushal Mendis who grabbed with both hands the opportunity given him by the captain of occupying the crucial No.3 slot. Mendis’ confident stroke play saw him score 156 runs from 6 innings with a highest of 53 in the first Test at Trent Bridge for an average of 31.20. Dimuth Karunaratne was the fourth highest with 129 off 6 knocks with a highest of 50 averaging 25.80, and skipper Angelo Mathews fifth with 125 from 5 innings in a highest of 80 averaging 25.00 followed by Rangana Herath 109 off 5 with a top score of 61.
The ODI batting honours saw skipper Mathews placed second after Chandimal with 253 runs off 5 for a highest of 73 averaging 63.25. He figured in a Sri Lankan record of 4 successive half century partnerships with Chandimal at that level. The third highest was Mendis with 169 off 5 with a highest of 77 averaging 33.80 followed by another relative newcomer Dhanushka Gunathilaka 142 in 5 with a highest of 62 averaging 28.40. Upul Tharanga was fifth highest scorer with 96 from 4 outings and highest of 53 not out averaging 32.00.
A noteworthy factor in Sri Lanka’s ODI losses was that lower order batsmen found the odds badly stacked against them having been given a mere 15 overs to up the ante. Pinch hitter Dasun Shanaka hardly got the privilege of taking his time which had he been given, he might have savaged the English bowlers. Analysts were of the opinion that this was due to the top front liners consuming far too many deliveries. There have been opinions going in the international media that Sri Lanka needs to plug this loophole if they are to get their one-day act right.
Meanwhile, the Test series bowling honours went to pace man Nuwan Pradeep 10 wickets costing 316 runs from 5 innings, best of 4 for 107 at an average of 31.60 at an economy rate of 3.29. Pradeep was followed by spinner Rangana Herath 7 wickets giving away 303 runs in 5 innings, best of 4 for 81 and average 43.28, econ 2.84. The third best was Suranga Lakmal 5 scalps for 259 in 4 innings, best of 3 for 90 and econ 3.59 He was followed by 3 bowlers with 3 scalps apiece in Shaminda Eranga 5 for 324 in 5 innings, best of 3 for 58, Dasun Shanaka 3 for 46 in one innings averaging 15.33, Dushmantha Chameera 3 for 64 and Milinda Siriwardena 3 from 2 with best of 2 for 35.
Sri Lanka had three bowlers with most wickets of 5 each in Suranga Lakmal from 5 innings with best of 2 for 65 averaging 41.40, Nuwan Pradeep from 4 with best of 2 for 64 averaging 46.40 and Dhanushka Gunathilaka with best of 3 for 48 from from 4 averaging 25.50.
Sri Lanka had three ODI bowlers tied on 5 wickets each with average-wise Lakmal leading the way conceding 207 runs from 5 innings, best of 2 for 65 averaging 41.40, Nuwan Pradeep 232 from 4 for best of 2 for 64 and average of 46.40, Gunathilaka 102 from 4 for 3 for 48 averages of 25.50, the other noteworthy.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-