Sri Lanka were the 8th team to be given full Test playing status in 1981. The ‘Lions’ won their first Test match in 1985 and have won many matches against all Test nations playing an attacking and intuitive style of cricket.
Sri Lanka currently hold a number of records in Test cricket:
1) They hold the highest score in an innings of 952 for 6 declared against India in 1997.
2) The highest batting partnership of 624 runs between Mahala Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara against South Africa in 2006.
3) Muttiah Mularitharan is the leading Test wicket taker of all time with 800.
The team selected below would, in my opinion, be good enough to win matches against any team and in any venue in the world:
1) Marvan Atapattu
With a textbook technique and a master stroke maker through the offside, Marvin was a late bloomer with his best Test form coming in his thirties. He formed a solid and successful partnership at the top of the order with Sanath Jayasuriya. Marvan scored 6 double centuries at Test level with an average of 39.02 from 90 matches.
2) Sanath Jayasuriya (Captain)
Sanath was captain during Sri Lanka’s most successful period in Test cricket during the late 1990’s early 2000’s. A compact, powerful, nononsense player, Sanath finished with an average of 40.01 with a highest score of 340 against India in 1997 from 110 Tests.
3) Mihala Jayawardene
One of most the elegant and graceful batsman of his generation. A master of playing the ball late with fast hands that allowed him to score runs all around the wicket. Mihala was an expert at pacing his innings to meet the match situation. The lynch pin of the Sri Lankan batting line up for over a decade, Mahala scored 34 hundreds in 149 matches at an average of 49.84. His highest was 374 against South Africa in 2006.
4) Aravinda De Silva
Extravagant flourish, nimble footwork and flamboyant shot making were the hallmarks of Aravinda’s batting. He has scored 2 double centuries in his Test career with a highest score of 267 against New Zealand in 1991. Aravinda’s played 93 tests and registered a batting average of 42.98.
5) Kumar Sangakkara (wicket keeper)
One of the all time greatest batsman to play Test cricket. A stroke maker of effortless grace and elegance who made batting look extremely easy, Kumar is the fifth highest run scorer of all time. He was an agile and enthusiastic wicket keeper for most of his Test career who was prone to sharp sledging of the opposition batsmen. A scorer of an incredible 11 double hundreds from his 38 centuries, Kumar finished with a batting average of 57.41 from 133 tests.
6) Tillakaratne Dilshan
An aggressive and exciting batsman. Tillakaratne performed very well as an opener and this is were he registered his highest score of 193 against England at Lord’s in 2011. He could adapt and perform well anywhere in the top five. He was also a clever offspinner who had the knack of picking up vital wickets. Tillakaratne finished with an average of 40.99 from 87 matches.
7) Angelo Mathews
A physically strong all rounder. A fluid medium pacer who can vary his pace and can get substantial bounce from the most docile of pitches. A brilliant and agile fielder who is a technically sound batsman that holds Sri Lanka’s middle order together. Angelo’s best bowling figures are 4 for 44 with a batting average of 43.35 from 75 tests and a highest score of 160.
8) Chaminda Vaas
Chaminda Vaas is easily the most penetrative and successful new-ball bowler Sri Lanka have had. This left-arm medium fast bowler was multi skilled swinging and seaming the ball both ways. Chaminda’s trademark delivery being the late indipper. His skills made him a consistent wicket-taker even on bland subcontinental pitches. Chaminda’s batting improved throughout his Test career seeing him score his only century, 100 not out against Bangladesh in Columbo in 2007 and registering 13 fifties. A batting average of 24.32, impressive for a strike bowler is supported by equally impressive bowling stats of 355 wickets at an average of 29.58 from 111 Tests.
9) Rangana Herath
Rangana has been Sri Lanka’s go to bowler since Murali’s retirement. He bowls with unrelenting accuracy and subtle variations of pace and flight for long spells. He is equally effective away from the Asian sub-continent. Incredible bowling career stats of 430 wickets at an average of 27.95 from 92 matches. Rangana has taken 10 wickets in a match on 9 occasions and 5 wickets in an innings 34 times.
10) Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah divided opinion throughout his career due to his controversial bowling action. Some thought he was undeserving of his accolades as they felt he threw the ball when he bowled. Muttiah is the leading Test wicket taker in history and what is undeniable was his ability to turn the ball sharply on just about any surface, and bowl the sort of marathon spells that would have seen a lesser man retire after five seasons rather than 18. His wide-eyed stare when bowling was as chilling site for any batsman. An incredible 800 wickets from 133 matches at an average of 22.72 is a record that will take some beating.
11) Lasith Malinga
Lasith never fullfilled his full potential in Test cricket retiring from this level of the game due to a chronic knee injury at the age of 27. It is thought that his wide slinging action placed considerable pressure on his hip and knee joints. A lightening fast inswinging yorker, a menancing bouncer and a well disguised slower ball were Lasith’s main bowling weapons. From 30 Tests, Lasith took 101 wickets at an average of 33.15.
Thank you for reading the article. Let me know yours views on this selection…