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Congratulations to Sri Lanka, as they registered their 100th Test win in 318 Test Matches since 1982. Ireland did well to give of their best in very tiring conditions. They were bowled out for 202 runs , hence lost the Test by an innings and 19 runs. Sri Lanka will be happy with a series win.
Kusal Mendis was adjudicated as man of the series, whilst Prabath Jayasuriya, the player of the match. Kusal Mendis recorded 385 runs , in two innings, whilst, Jayasuriya 17 wickets on a batter friendly series . Both players deserve the honour. Harry Tector made 85 , looks an excellent batter. Ireland will improve, our blessings are with them, they will go from strength to strength for sure. Thanks Ireland for your visit, to Sri Lanka, and a special thanks to commentator, Allen Wilkinson, for his expert views, and the value he added to the live picture throughout the series. Wish the Indian commentators learn from professionals like Allen and Co.
Here in Adelaide, I was not able to see a single ball delivered in the Second Test between Ireland and Sri Lanka in Galle; … though I was able to present ongoing reports on the game from Daniel Byrne and Andrew Fidel Fernando (both friends of mine).
Let me, however, pen my ten-rupees worth of reflections on the two matches in overview.
For those unfamiliar with the recent history of Sri Lankan cricket, let me stress that the Selectors did not have the full complement of Sri Lanka’s stock of players available for selection. Bowling allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga De Silva and stock bowler Maheesh Theekshana are playing in the IPL at the moment (and so too a promising prospect named Matheesha Pathirana — a right-arm sling bowler of the Malinga type).
Hasaranga and Theekshana would have been shoe-ins within the Test side if I was a Selector. So, too, Pathum Nissanka (though I now have to rethink that last certainty in the light of the performances of the batting ‘artillery’ in Galle) …. whose absence was a puzzle (injury?).
I gather, too, that pace bowlers Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha were rested after the rigours of the New Zealand tour. I have never thought much of Kuamra’s intelligence and consistency; so his absence, in my reading, was a plus.
Against this background one must place great emphasis on the difficulties facing a “second tier” squad such as Ireland in coping with unfamiliar and sweaty, and thus difficult, Asian spinning conditions (just as one must attend to Sri Lanka’s difficulties in New Zealand weather and ground condition). So, we must begin with a doff of our cricketing caps to Ireland for the first innings total of 492 runs that they accumulated so efficiently.
This is the point at which I doff my ancient cap to Dimuth Karunaratne and the Sri Lankan lads for their success in amassing 704 runs for 3 wkts and doing that at a rapid rate of 4.46, with Kusal Mendis leading the way by scoring a double century at the rate of 84.19.
|Nishan Madushka||lbw b McBrine||205||339||22||1||60.47|
|Dimuth Karunaratne (c)||c Humphreys b Campher||115||133||15||0||86.46|
|Kusal Mendis||c Humphreys b Hume||245||291||18||11||84.19|
|Angelo Mathews||not out||100||114||6||4||87.71|
|Dinesh Chandimal||retired hurt||13||14||2||0||92.85|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||not out||12||17||2||0||70.58|
|Extras||(b 2, lb 8, nb 2, w 2)||14|
|TOTAL||151 Ov (RR: 4.66)||704/3d|
Let me, however, move beyond the stark OBVIOUS lines of praise to mark performances over the course of both Test matches that may be missed by some.
Take note of the unknown Nishan Madushka, a wicketkeeper who revealed an ability to convert half-chances into catches while fielding at short-leg or close in; while also displaying prowess with the bat. A find! A find! ….. and there was yet another new face displaying competence in both his roles: the keeper Sameera Samarawickrama.
As an aside, let me note that –in step with the cricketing world at large –Sri Lanka seem to have an array of wicket-keeping batsmen: Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Madushka and Samarawickrama within the present XI itself. This recent phenomenon in world cricket demands more careful evaluation and commentary from aficianados –the more so because most of these wicket-keeping batsmen score at a fast-rate.
To reiterate: in the Sri Lankan first innings the total of 704 runs was reached in 151 overs at a rate of 4.66. This was stupendous and was one foundation for the victory.
But, clearly, their bowling and fielding in the second Ireland innings was the final nail on the head. All the bowlers chipped in; but on this occasion it was off-spinner Ramesh Mendis who led the charge—taking 5 for 64 in 27 overs with 6 maidens. He was assisted bymedium-pacer Asitha Fernando (figures = 11.3 -3-30-3) and left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya (32-9-88-2).