The first test is done. So we thought we might try our hand at a little report carding.

Paranavitana.

Plucked out of the opener’s carousel and slotted into be Dilshan’s latest partner. Although going by stats Paranavithana and Dilshan form Sri Lanka’s 2nd best opening combination in history. We liked bringing him back. Slow yes but probably a little steadier than Thirimanne. Looked alright against the quicks but played Ajmal like he was trying to swat flies with his eyes closed. It didn’t work nor did it look particularly healthy. As an opener you might think batting against spinners isn’t that important a factor but every great opener has been at least competent at it. At the moment the competent line is a dot in the horizon for Paranavitana. The problem for him will always be that he will never be guaranteed an extended run to gain valuable experience at the openers spot. You can almost be certain that if he fails in this series he will be dropped for the next. It can’t be easy playing with one eye always looking over your shoulder. Confidence must be nurtured for players like Paranavitana who need time in the middle more than anything else.

Dilshan

This is probably the best you will see Dilshan play in this format of the game. Too often he plays as if his brain is in a vegetative state. However for this test, the intelligent, controlled Dilshan turned up. And when he does he bosses attacks around. His aggression was subdued but was always a threat. He was never tied down. The scoreboard kept moving and that helps guys like Sangakkara to come in and play themselves in without any real pressure. The most important factor in Dilshans batting in the first innings was his SR against Ajmal which clocked in at 60. By not allowing the opposition’s main threat to settle into a rhythm he put Sri Lanka in control. Early. He also played perfectly in the 2nd innings when Sri Lanka needed quick runs. This is the Dilshan that Sri Lanka needs to show up to test matches

Sangakkara

We’ve highlighted in the past how Sangakkara has started a dangerous trend in starting a test series poorly over the last year. Barring the Pakistan tour to the UAE, he has had an almost abysmal record in the first few innings of a tour. What that immediately meant was Sri Lanka’s first innings totals suffered. Scores of over 300 have been rare. Under 200 too often. In short, Sangakkara is a huge chunk in Sri Lanka’s batting line up. And that is not a secret. In this test he built and built and built in an almost robotesque manner. The King is a man of process and every little drill he practices at the nets was on display in this marathon innings. Throughout the innings we couldn’t help but feel that this is what remains of Sanga. An unrelenting machine who has had a few oil leaks recently. We doubt we will ever see the free flowing Sangakkara who flayed the Australians in Hobart. The new Sangakkara or rather the last days of Sangakkara will probably be seen in the same light as Tendulkar in the manner they score their runs. There wasn’t anything particularly brilliant about it but rather just the construction of runs. He looked steady against the quicks but didn’t seem completely settled against Ajmal but that is his asset. To score ugly runs. Sangakkara has always been a better player of pace than spin and it will be really interesting to see how he fares if he has to come in early with Ajmal on song and pressure.

Jaywardene

To counter Sangakkaras monotony, Jayawardene brought a lazy elegance to both innings. His strike rate of nearly 90 against Ajmal proves just how good a player of spin he is. He was never hurried or under pressure. But the problem with Mahela has always been that he allows his flair to get the better of him. In both innings he played shots he didn’t need to. The fact that Sri Lanka were so ahead probably allowed to him play this way but Jayawardene should know he is better than to throw it away. In the field he didn’t really need to do much in the first innings as Pakistan imploded on the face of some good bowling. But the decision on the follow on was rather poor. With 372 on the board and Sri Lanka having bowled on 50 over’s spread across two days, there wasn’t a logical reason for opting to bat again. We believe it goes down to the Sri Lankan culture of ensuring that the team do not lose first instead of going all out when they smell a bit of blood. Pakistan had shown no capability to make Sri Lanka bat again and Sri Lankans bowlers were in no real need of a rest either. It’s a negative move that tells us that Sri Lanka are still not ready to trust themselves to be ruthless.

Samaraweera.

Looked uncomfortable against Ajmal and had a very poor test. For all of Thilan’s strengths, high quality spin bowling is probably not one of them. The fact that Ajmal, Singh and Swann feature in the top 5 bowlers who have picked him up confirms this theory. This is a concern considering that at no5 Thilan plays the pivot in which the entire batting line up revolves around. But if anyone can find a way to get to the light at the end of the tunnel it is him. It’s rare for him to have a poor series these days so expect him to come back strong in the next two games

Mathews

Another poor performance in test cricket. In a couple of years time Mathews will probably not be bowling in tests. And the question is whether he is capable of playing as a pure batsman. The answer right now is no. His technique against spin is poor. But his biggest problem right now is that he does not appear to know how to approach a test innings. One thing that you immediately notice when Mathews bats is that he has no shots to get off strike. He either blocks it or tries to go for a bigish shot. He is also very tentative and needs to feel bat on ball hence the reason why you see him getting out searching for the ball or lunging at it. All this adds to Mathews being a little out of depth as a test batsman. He is fine when he needs to chase a target in a limited number of overs. He handles pressure well, we know that. But give the man a chance to build an innings – he crumbles. We once felt it might his maiden hundred hoodoo. That came and went and Sri Lanka is still waiting on the promise of Mathews. Right now he is being played on what he can achieve than what he actually is. But for how long. Chandimal anyone?

P.Jayawardene

PJ came out in the first innings when Sri Lanka looked like they were going to let go of the initiative that Dilshan and Sangakkara had built. But as with most of his innings recently Jaywardene set about in a workman like fashion to put SL back on top. He is also probably Sri Lankas 3rd best player of spin after Dilshan and Mahela. And it showed. He was never really troubled by Ajmal and he handled the quicks equally well. And at the moment, you’d have to think that his batting is far more important to Sri Lanka than Mathews. He was safe with the gloves but still looks to be searching for his best form. A good all round game.

Randiv.

How Randiv is now a test specialist can only be explained by Sri Lankas selectors. We’ve always felt that Randiv is a bowler who will only get better with time and his return of 7 wickets for the game shows that he is slowly maturing and is supporting Herath perfectly. He got bounce and turn but I guess at Galle you always do. At times he was a bit short but in general a good confidence builder heading into the rest of the series. The challenge for him now will be to prove that he can consistently pick up wickets.

Herath

Steady and dependable as ever. His arm bowl appears to be Pakistan’s kryptonite. It has been quite brilliant watching Herath emerge out of the shadow of Murali over the last year and a bit to stand as his own man. He is easily Sri Lankas best bowler and the most consistent. There is a steely fire in the man that you have to appreciate. He has dropped his bowling average by 7 pts over the last year. And it continues to drop. The biggest plus for Herath is that he picking up wickets against pretty much every opposition and everywhere he bowls.

Kulesekara

An inspired selection based on current form. Kulesekara has no real business being in a test side but he bowled quite superbly to dismantle Pakistan. Over the last 6 months his consistency has been brilliant. He has added to his repertoire and proved that on form he can be as good as anyone. Sangakkara is already calling him a spearhead which is probably a little premature given that it’s been one game and against flaky opposition. The question was always going to be whether he could translate his ODI form in to the tests with the red ball. He did that and then some. It will be interesting to see his stats in the rest of the series. Pakistan’s technique outside the off stump was quite poor and will surely be one of the areas that they will look to tighten up on. Challenge accepted Kule ?

Pradeep

Bowled steadily but didn’t hit a consistent enough length to trouble anyone. His pace and movement were encouraging and he ran in all day with the same vigour. All good signs. Hopefully Sri Lanka plays him for the full series now that Welegedara is also out. In fact there is no real need to change the playing XI at all.

angelo mathews mahela jayawardane nuwan kulesekara paranavitana prasanna jayawardene sangakkara Sri Lanka v Pakistan 2012 tilan samaraweera

Greetings. We are back from our hiatus. Obviously.

Bigger (literally – thanks to Moms cooking) and hopefully with a few new tricks up our sleeves. There is plenty to get to. But all in good time. It is a little diffucult to keep up with the SL cricket news these days. Unconfirmed reports have filtered through to us that the Sri Lankan team cook has been sacked and will possibly be replaced by Dilhara Fernandos mom who is reputed to be an excellent cook of Kiri Bath and Sri Lankan curries.

In the meantime, we have actually recorded a podcast. It has everything you could possibly want. Me saying a lot of  ‘you know’ like a valley girl. Horrible production. Ranjith Fernando. Bad sound. And Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yes.

Enjoy.

This time arond we talk about Dilshan and how he lost the captaincy + how badass Thilan is.

Pls feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. If you have any complaints about my nasaly voice please direct them to my parents.

Part I – Dilshan and Captaincy

Part II – Thilan is badass

dilshan mahela jayawardane podcast sangakkara tilan samaraweera

Well it’s not like he wouldn’t fit in at all – He is Royalty after all.

I know who Gossip girl is but I cant tell you
I know who Gossip girl is but I cant tell you

sangakkara

The Kardashians got nothing on this family.

Sanath Uncle – Your favourite uncle. He’s life of the party when he arrives and everyone flocks around him to hear his fantastic tales. Always sporting the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. Gets along with the grown ups and kids alike. His fashion sense is unique to him and usually wears mismatched ties with suspender pants. Built a massively successful business from the ground up. Now in his 80s, many relatives are waiting to see who he will leave the business to. Lives for Weddings and Baila music – where you are often embarrassed when he breaks out those ancient Baila moves.

Tharanga Malli- Son of Sanath Uncle. Growing up you played with him every time the family met up. During his formative years he was a brilliant student. Straight A’s all the way. The whole family thought he would take over his dads business till he got into some trouble. Lately he’s been a bit moody and struggles in Uni. Some think he had his dad had a fall out over a girl he did not approve.

Mr. Mahela – Born and bred in Colombo. Went to a private school.  People find him unapproachable at times. No body thought he would do well but everyone knows he’d had success because he drives a Porche and has a pretty wife. You never spoke to him as a kid because he always seemed so serious and never smiled a lot. Usually reserved and quiet Mr. Mahela shies away from attention and never joins family trips because he hates leaving Colombo.

Samaraweera Ayia- Affectionately called the ‘entrepreneur’ by the rest of the family. Having grown up in the outskirts of Colombo he opened a bakery which doubled as a cafe at the back. After some moderate success he converted the whole thing to just a cafe. Business was slow but he saved up and relaunched it as a fast food joint. Profits tripled and the rest is history. He recently went abroad to expand his business and earned his other nickname – “the uncle who got mugged”.

Mr.Sangakkara – People suspect his family are the last descendants of the Royal family in Kandy. Grew up in a huge mansion and moved abroad after Kindergarden. You never see him apart from family gatherings. Relatives avoid talking to him because they can’t understand his accent. Even when he talks in Sinhalese. Smokes a pipe and wears a tweed coat with a creveat and top hat almost all the time. Recently bought a majority share of Mr. Mahela’s business and is thinking of moving the Business to India.

Dilshan Ayia-Grew up in a tough neighbourhood. Didn’t have a lot of money but worked extremely hard. One day he won the lottery and bought a franchise from Sanath Uncle. Now he comes to weddings in designer suits and bling to match. There are rumours of him appearing in a movie soon. Some relatives secretly think he is too flashy and shows off too much, but are afraid to get on his bad side because they know he is on the lookout for a business partner.

Mathews – Spent his teens abroad where he got into Xtreme sports. Having recently moved back home he finds it a little hard to fit in at family gatherings. Mr.Sangakkara has taken him under his wing and they are often seen together around the city. The young girls go crazy when he talks with his rough accent. Mothers are uneasy around him because they think he is a bad boy.

Ajantha Malli –Considered an academic genius – he was the youngest in the family to attend Uni and promptly aced the first year. Then he got in with the wrong sort and has struggled since. The whole family thinks he could win a Nobel prize if he puts his mind to it. Having lived most his life outside the capital he is quite shy and is always seen with his mother at family functions.

Murali Uncle – Having grown up in the hill country, he never did things the normal way. Not many in the family know that during his childhood Uncle Murali was a wild child. Always got into trouble with the authorities. His dad sent him abroad to boarding school but it didn’t matter. After getting through those rough years, he dedicated his life to charity work and helping others. His nonprofit organisation  grew steadily and after a few years it ended up being a remarkable success story. Has a soft spot for Ajantha malli and has promised him a job at his company when he graduates.

Nuwan Malli – usually hangs out with Ajantha Malli. Doesn’t drink or smoke. The young girls think he has a lovely smile. Mothers adore him. Bit of a mama’s boy, Just got his drivers license and is proud of it. Very shy and smiles with everyone.

Malinga- Dropped out of school in his teens and moved down the coast to become a Surfer. Seems to have a permanent tan. Recently changed his name to just ‘Malinga’. When the family gets together he usually ends up behind the bar mixing funky cocktails. Attends weddings with a half buttoned Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. A ladies man, the only thing Malinga enjoys more than the lassies is getting the crowd going to a Fugees song on the dance floor.

anjelo mathews dilshan flyslip jayasuriya sangakkara tilan samaraweera

Oh Dreary me.

This series has been built up around a whole bunch of mini shows.

Tendulkars 20th year in cricket. That’s a long time to be playing cricket Sachin. Lucky sod.

The tussle for the ICC No1 Test Ranking. Apparently either team could attain this. Which of course would be confusing to most as England are clearly no1, given that they won the Ashes.

The fact that no one really knows who will play for either team.

Sri Lanka’s batting is probably the same it was when we lost their last. I havent checked but I am sure Sanath Jayasuriya must be playing.

But Sri Lankas bowling will be interesting. We are hoping the selectors don’t do a doosey and actually pick 3 spinners. I mean ok, its India but 3 might be slightly overkill.

Nuwan, Thushara,Herath, Murali , Mathews is our choice. Do we still love Splendid? Yes, but Herath is more interesting and more importantly, in form.

The dude who got shot and King Kumar and his boi-friend Mahela need to bat well. A couple of phycotic centuries from Dilshan wont hurt.

The Indians probably dont know who they will bowl either. Zaheer is always a threat so he might get a go, although the only cricket he’s been playing is probably on his Xbox.

Ishant still rides around on the back of a performance in some test in Australia.

The key will be Harbajan and Mishra, if they are on song – Sri Lanka will struggle.

It will also be King Kumar’s first real test as a test captain.

Ok so may its not gonna be dreary after all.

ajantha mendis anjelo mathews dhoni dilshan flyslip mahela jayawardane prasanna jayawardene sangakkara splendid mendis sri lanka in india 2009 Tharanga Paranavitana thilan thushara tilan samaraweera