SRI-LANKA'S-BATTING-WOES

Sri Lanka had the perfect opportunity to come back strongly after dismissing India for 312 on Day Three. However, disciplined bowling by the Indians and uncharacteristically weak batting saw the Sri Lankan top order stumble like a house of cards. Apart from Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Perera, none of the top seven batsmen were able to provide a solid foundation to the unsteady batting of the hosts. Whether or not Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene’s retirement will hurt the Sri Lankan batting, Sudatta Mukherjee feels the side’s batting average leaves a lot to be expected.

Before the start of the third Test between India and Sri Lanka at Colombo, Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, and Kusal Perera had played 133 Tests combined. Cheteshwar Pujara emulates Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar in India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test

Their batting averages as of the ongoing series are as follows:

Player

M

I

R

HS

Ave

100

50

Dinesh Chandimal

3*

5

270

162*

67.5

1

1

Angelo Mathews

3*

5

229

102

45.8

1

1

Lahiru Thirimanne

3*

5

130

62

26

0

1

Dimuth Karunaratne

3*

5

67

46

13.4

0

0

Kaushal Silva

3*

5

60

51

12

0

1

Upul Tharanga

1*

1

4

4

4

0

0

Kusal Perera

1*

1

55

55

55

0

1

Apart from Chandimal and Mathews, both of whom played crucial knocks in the first Test, and debutant Kusal Perera, none from the others have a batting average that inspires much confidence. India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Colombo: Pujara digs out his value again

After India were dismissed for 312 on Day Three of the third Test, one would have expected the Sri Lankan batsmen to capitalise on the situation. However, the Indian bowlers took advantage when Sri Lanka was left toiling at 47 for the loss of 5 wickets. Just after lunch, they lost Thirimanne as well. With debutant Perera, and tailender Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka reached 127, easily avoiding follow-on. However, Perera did not last long after scoring 55. Cheteshwar Pujara’s century could push Rohit Sharma out

A similar situation was witnessed in the first two Tests as well. In the first Test at Galle, Sri Lanka were 60 for 5 at one point before Mathews and Chandimal pushed the total forward. In the second innings, Sri Lanka were 95 for 5 before Chandimal’s unbeaten 162 revived Sri Lanka’s innings. Similarly, in the second innings of the second Test, Sri Lankan wickets kept falling, while Karunaratne tried to hold the innings from the other end. The vulnerability of Indian all-rounders

The problem for Sri Lanka is not the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, but the inability of the other batsmen to consistently perform at the highest level. For a player like Thirimanne, who has already played 21 Tests, a batting average of 26.13 is absolutely shameful.

Let us look at the batting average of Sri Lanka’s current top six batsmen:

Players

M

I

R

HS

Ave

100

50

Angelo Mathews

51

88

3690

160

51.97

6

22

Dinesh Chandimal

20

35

1414

162*

45.61

4

8

Dimuth Karunaratne

20

39

1260

152

34.05

2

6

Kaushal Silva

21

39

1325

139

33.97

2

9

Upul Tharanga

20

36

1113

165

31.8

1

5

Lahiru Thirimanne

21

42

941

155*

26.31

1

4

Perera, who made his debut in the third Test against India, made a free-flowing 55. Everyone in the above list has played at least 20 Tests. With the exception of Mathews and Chandimal, none from the list have had an inspiring international career till now.

Marvan Atapattu is the coach of the Sri Lankan team. He had played about 90 Tests and ended his career with a batting average below 40. Atapattu did not have a glittering start to his career, but, later on blossomed into one of their finest batsmen. The current Sri Lankan batsmen could learn a bit from their coach’s career, if they want to have a winning team.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English televison show on her laptop. Her Twitter handle is @blackrosegal)