Sri Lanka tantalized, never Materialized | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka tantalized, never Materialized

26 March, 2023
Dimuth Karunaratne-Dinesh Chandimal
Dimuth Karunaratne-Dinesh Chandimal

With an innings and 58-run defeat at the hands of New Zealand, Sri Lanka’s chances of making it to the world Test Championship final came to an end.

A look at how the 2021-23 list of events went for the Sri Lankan team from doing well enough to come close to making the final to losing by an innings to end the test championship in dismay raises eyebrows.

Sri Lanka participated in six series, each of which had two Test matches. Sri Lanka has participated in the fewest Tests overall along with Bangladesh and ended in fifth place overall having won two series, lost two series and drawn two series despite being in contention for the championship up to the very last series in New Zealand.

Sri Lanka faced the finalists from the previous year, India and New Zealand, making their schedule one of the harder ones in the Championship. Placed eighth in the previous cycle, the Sri Lankans may have been quite pleased with their performance ahead of the last New Zealand with a chance to reach the final.

On the batting front, the experienced Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, ex captains Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews led the charge. Skipper Karunaratne finished with the most runs (1,054) and was the only one to cross the 1000-run mark. He also finished among the top four run-getters in terms of openers.

Chandimal also had a stellar run, with 958 runs under his belt in just 10 games. His incredible 206 not out against Australia was the highest individual score by a Sri Lankan. Apart from these three players only Dhananjaya de Silva managed to score a century and none of the other Sri Lankan batsman managed to get to the three-figure mark. Spinners Ramesh Mendis and Prabath Jayasuriya were the frontline bowlers for Sri Lanka from the line-up who dominated the bowling department.

Mendis was the top performer from eight games as he took the most number of wickets 38, closely followed by Jayasuriya’s 33. Jayasuriya has had a fantastic start to his Test career.

Mean while fast bowlers Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha are also among Sri Lanka’s top five wicket-takers after putting together some impressive performances in Bangladesh. As evidence of his prowess with the red ball, Fernando also boasts the highest strike rate among bowlers, even higher than Jayasuriya’s.