Report cards: Sri Lanka in Colombo

Blog Opinion

Sri Lanka dominated the second Test in Colombo from day one, and yet they could not take all 20 South African wickets and level the series. Their spinners were impressive, and Mahela Jayawardene's ton was the highlight.

Sri Lanka dominated the second Test in Colombo from day one, and yet they could not take all 20 South African wickets and level the series. Their spinners were impressive, and Mahela Jayawardene's ton was the highlight, but they could not breach the visitors' defenses.

<b>Upul Tharanga</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 11 and 30<br><b>Rating:</b> 5 out of 10

The opener was caught behind off Dale Steyn both innings, and neither time did his knocks make much of a difference in the long run. He was unable to add anything meaningful to the big half ton he made in Galle, though wasn't utterly rubbish either. With the way the deck was playing in the second innings, his 30 wasn't a bad score.

<b>Kaushal Silva</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 44 and 26<br><b>Rating:</b> 6.5 out of 10

Kaushal's first innings knock, alongside Mahela, set the platform for their massive innings score. He batted for nearly two hours as they recovered from 16 for two to 115, when he was eventually removed by JP Duminy. His second innings was a case of adding to Sr Lanka's already hefty lead, so was nothing more and nothing less than a middling knock that brought the declaration closer.

<b>Kumar Sangakkara</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 0 and 72<br><b>Rating:</b> 7 out of 10

The veteran batsman lasted just two balls in his first dig, but made up for it in the second. He scored his 72 off just 90 balls, over two hours, making sure Sri Lanka had enough time to have a crack at the Proteas for a win. It didn't work out that way, but not because Sanga didn't come to the party. His score was the best of the innings on a very dangerous pitch.

<b>Mahela Jayawardene</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 165 and 0<br><b>Rating:</b> 8.5 out of 10

This 284-ball first innings was the reason the Proteas didn't win the series two-nil. After losing early wickets, Sri Lanka were saved by their nearly-retired legend, who batted for nearly eight hours over two days, and used up all the good batting in the pitch. After he saw the side to 421 in the afternoon of day two, it was tough going from then on out, and the visitors were always playing catch-up. His second innings was negated by the catches he took at first slip, becoming only the third player to take 200 Test catches (behind Dravid and Kallis).

<b>Angelo Mathews</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 63 and 63 not out<br><b>Rating:</b> 8 out of 10

The skipper's superb run with the bat continued apace, adding two more fifties to his tally. Can you even call him an all-rounder, given he didn't bowl a single over in the game? He and Mahela put on 131 runs together in the firs innings, and he and Sangakkara put on 81 together in the second. He must be the most in-form captain in world cricket right now, with seven 50-plus scores this year, including two tons.

<b>Kithruwan Vithanage</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 13 and 7<br><b>Wickets:</b> 0<br><b>Rating:</b> 4 out of 10

The all-rounder was below par on all fronts, really. He batted for an hour in the first innings for his 13, but still not very prettily, and failed in the second innings (though many did). His bowling was ineffective and he didn't get too many overs.

<b>Niroshan Dickwella</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 72 and 16<br><b>Rating:</b> 7 out of 10

The debutant was impressive in his first innings, forming a significant portion of the score, and batting for over two hours. He struck eight fours and a six, and was composed given the opposition bowlers. His match was marred by a fine though, after he claimed a catch off AB de Villiers that had clearly bounced before it reached his gloves. De Villiers' incredulous 'Are you claiming that?!' summed up the situation. Still, he was good behind the stumps for the most part, especially considering he was up to the spinners on a highly turning track.

<b>Dilruwan Perera</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 12 and 7<br><b>Wickets:</b> 8<br><b>Rating:</b> 7.5 out of 10

The spinner was a thorn in the side in both innings, taking a five-fer in the first and three in the second, and giving the Proteas all manner of problems. He bagged Elgar in both innings, and had a habit of removing top order wickets, crucial to any decent performance. He'll be gutted that his efforts, and 85.5 overs for very few runs, didn't result in a win for his side. With the bat, he used up an hour in the first innings.

<b>Rangana Herath</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 7 not out and 4<br><b>Wickets:</b> 9<br><b>Rating:</b> 8.5 out of 10

The spinner was always touted as the big threat, and he proved by in this game. The ball spat and spun with every turn of his arm, and he took four wickets in the first innings and five in the second, his 18th Michelle in Tests. He bowled 90 overs, and while his stats will be improved by the effort, he'll likely feel they were fruitless.

<b>Suranga Lakmal</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 4 and DNB<br><b>Wickets:</b> 1<br><b>Rating:</b> 4 out of 10

Lakmal didn't bowl badly… mostly because he didn't bowl all that much. He sent down 23 overs in the first innings for little reward, and just four in the second, as the pitch was even remotely suited to his talents. The Proteas had little trouble against him, and would have liked facing him late on day five just to get a break from the spinners. Not a memorable game for him, but not rubbish either.

<b>Ajantha Mendis</b><br><b>Runs</b>: 2 and DNB<br><b>Wickets:</b> 0<br><b>Rating:</b> 3 out of 10

For a guy punted as the 'mystery spinner' and threat to all batsmen, Mendis was anonymous in this match. Considering how much the pitch helped the spinners, he was unimpressive, and expensive in the first innings.

Fair?

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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