Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sri Lanka versus Australia- Player Ratings

The series between the middle ranked Teams of Test cricket in Sri Lanka and Australia has petered out to a bore draw. This result giving the new look Australia under Michael Clarke's leadership a one nil series win. It's first series win in 18 months. While on the other side of the field, further magnifying Sri Lanka's struggles post Murali and Vaas.




So what has been the report card on the respective Teams?


Sri Lanka:


The hosts were undone in the first two Tests by an uncharacteristic average showing of their batting line up, that is usually regal in home conditions. Then fate wasn't kind by them by having to bear the brunt of the feisty Galle pitch in the 1st Test.  In which they succumbed meekly leading to the eventual series result of 1 nil for Australia. The absence of Ajantha Mendis from the whole series, a player that loomed large in the lead up was also crucial


Player Ratings (14 Players used):


Lahiru Thirimanne


The 21 year old batsman came in to replace Thilan Samaraweera for the last Test. He replaced Tillikeratne Dilshan at the top of the order, and only got to bat once because of the slowness of the Teams batting, and the sureness of the pitch.


So, hard to judge him on one innings of 28, but Sri Lanka needs to be commended for looking to include youth in their ageing batting line up


Rating- No Rating because of only the one innings we saw him in


Tharanga Paranavitana


Looked distinctly out of depth in the Test arena in this series. Which was surprising going on his very respectable showing in England in conditions favouring bowling, and against a far more threatening bowling attack. He only got past 50 once in the last Test on the road of roads. Then further underlined his lack of test calibre by throwing a way his wicket to a very soft dismissal


Rating- 3/10- Very disappointing


Kumar Sangakkara


In any walk of life you always judge the more gifted in a more critical manner. Before the series, looking at the average nature of the Australian attack, I would have bet a lot of money that Kumar would have dominated. Though Sangakkara was to be honest average, which was a great credit to Australia, but also an indictment on him. In the regard, that he wasn't as switched on and focussed in this series as he is usually. Getting out to Mike Hussey in one innings emphasised this lapse nature.


Rating- 4/10- Harsh rating yes, but Sanga is a star, and duly we expect better from him


Mahela Jayawardene.


The silken Sri Lankan batting maestro was productive in the series highlighted by his 100 in the first Test. Though it was a bit of a what if series. In the regard that he looked so at ease and a master of the Aussie bowling and conditions, but never fully capitalised by dominating the series. The bane of the Sri Lankan batting throughout the series was some very soft dismissals, and he wasn't immuned from this failing


Rating- 6/10- Harsh rating, like his great friend Sangakkara, but with his supreme class. He should have had a more compelling effect on the series


Thilan Samaraweera


The Asian Bradman....sarcastically called this because of his mastery in home conditions. Through, strangely in this series, he left his Superman cape at home, and had a very average series. That ended in him being dropped for the last Test


Rating- 2/10- Bad series, made worse by getting starts, and then surrendering meekly to soft dismissals


Angelo Mathews


The greatest frustration about Mathews was that he was arguably Sri Lanka's star performer, but them threw out the teams balance by his inability to bowl. That aside, his batting throughout was excellent, and announced his maturing on the World scene from a player of immense potential. To one that is starting to turn that into performance.


Rating- 8.5- Showed his calibre as not only a batsman that's ice cool under pressure, but also a natural leader. Though his dithering in the last Test in pursuit of his century meant the difference between me giving him a higher mark


Tillakaratne Dilshan


Very average series, especially in his first two Tests, when in his normal position of opening looked embarrassingly inadequate from a technical and temperament point of view. The last Test, he looked better when he reverted to 5 in the line up, but that was as much about the sedate nature of the pitch. Then further accentuated by the absence of Australia's spearhead Ryan Harris, who had tormented him throughout the series.


On his other roles of Captaincy and bowling he was average at best


Rating- 2- Very lacking in the technical and temperament demands in the Test arena. Though a move to 5 might take the focus off this


Prasana Jayawardene


In England he looked very accomplished with the bat, but strangely here, in his home confines, he looked very substandard. Gifting his wicket away on too many occasions.


As a gloveman, once again he showed he is elite


Rating-5 As a gloveman was elite, but as a batsman very average


Rangana Herath


Excellent series for the wily little spinner. He had all the Australian batmen under threat with his refined variations, and stood head and shoulders above the rest of the Sri Lankan bowlers.


His absence from the 2nd Test was a huge blow for the Team


Rating- 8/10- Great Series


Shaminda Eranga


Only played one Test, but showed enough in it with both bat and ball to indicate that Sri Lanka could have unearthed a potential gem of the future


Rating- 6/10- looks to have a real future


Suranga Lakmal


His figures didn't give justice to his performance in the series. He bowled with good line and length, and showed the ability to get swing with the old ball. A bowler that has improved since England, and will be one for Sri Lanka to build around for the future


Rating- 6- One for the future


Chanaka Welegedera


Like Lakmal, his figures don't give respect for the decent series he had. Big hearted, skilled and able to swing the ball with the new or old ball


Rating- 6- Decent Perfomance


Suraj Randiv


For a player of this off spinners immense ability, he was very disappointing. In a series against a fragile batting line up against spin, he was a virtual non entity in his two Tests


Rating- 0/10- Shameful series for a player of Randiv's ability


Seekkuge Prasanna


One, tests, one innings and no wickets- not much to comment on


Future Prospects of the Team.


The Team has obvious issues within its inner sanctum. That was apparent by their abject performances in the first two Tests, which showed all is not well with the harmony of the Team. Crucially with tough series coming up away to both Pakistan and South Africa they need to appoint a Coach to renew the feeling in the team.


Looking into the future, the batting side of things looks adequate with the class in the line up, and then high calibre youngsters outside of the Team. Names such as Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and the forgotten man of Sri Lankan batting Chamara Kapugedera give hopes for the future.


The the potential shown by the young bowlers in this series was promisingly. Especially with arguably Sri Lanka's brightest bowling talent Nuwan Pradeep to return from injury


Also Angelo Mathews ability to be able to bowl would give great balance to the line up


Australia


You can't praise the Team highly enough from an attitudinal sense. The insipid and shameful performance of the Ashes was replaced by a very focused and enthusiastic display in this series. Mainly due to the cutting of Cancers, like Greg Chappell and Andrew Hilditch out of the Australian set up. Then the refined and imaginative leadership of Michael Clarke replacing Ricky Ponring abject leadership.


In truth, the 1 nil series win didn't give due service to the Aussie dominance in the series


Player Ratings


Shane Watson


The Aussie Vice Captain in this series was hard to judge. For in the one aspect of his play, his batting, he was very average. Especially in the soft nature of his dismissals, that showed his propensity for playing Odi cricket in the Test arena. On the flip side, his bowling was exceptional with him showing a real expertise in the ability to swing the old ball.


Rating- 6- His bowling was a huge factor in the 1st Test win, but his batting was substandard throughout.


Phil Hughes


Despite his last Test century that duly deserves praise. The rest of the series only served to underline Hughes inability in the Test arena. His amateurish technique made him be like a deer in headlights against the swinging ball. The Aussies will persist with him, but until he tightens his game his tenure in the Test arena will be brief


Rating- 5- One innings that was 126 and 4 others that combined were 76


Shaun Marsh


Excellent first series culminating in a debut century, and though we will reserve ordaining him as a potential long term Test player. He showed all the aptitude and technique to indicate that he has a great chance of making that a reality


Rating- 8- Great first series


Ricky Ponting


In the two Tests, Ponting played in this series, it was obvious again for all to see that he is a vastly diminished player. He looked good at some points, but failed to get past 50 in any of his four innings. It might be time for Australia to tap Ricky on the shoulder and whisper in his ear about retirement


Rating- 3/10- The once great Ponting is a shadow of his former self


Michael Clarke


His batting, that was excellent in parts of the series was in truth irrelevant to the effect he had on the series with his leadership. He transformed a Australian Team that was on their knees in terms of morale post Ashes to one that looked as though they would walked over hot coals for him. Some of his imaginative moves, particularly from a bowling point of view were match changing. Like the decision to throw Mike Hussey the ball


Rating- 9/10- Great series, and his first as Captain showed Australia that in Clarke, they might have found a very capable leader


Mike Hussey


Incredible- we don't need to say more!


Rating 11/10- Dominated with bat, took crucial wicket with ball and some spectacular catches


Brad Haddin


Sound with the gloves as always, but with the bat he was very disappointing. Which is strange, for he usually is very dangerous with the willow in hand. We will allow him one bad series, but if the form lapse continues. He might come under pressure from some of the excellent keeper batsmen in Australian cricket,such as Tim Paine and Matthew Wade.


Rating- 3/10-  Not a typical Haddin like series


Mitchell Johnson


Fast and at times intimidating, but the fact that he rarely if ever does anything with the ball means that Johnson for a long time now has been a faded force on the International scene. This series was no different with the Sri Lankan batsmen showing little or no ill at ease against him.


Rating- 2/10- The time on Johnson's International career might be running out soon unless he miraculously improves


Peter Siddle


The big hearted Victorian quick in his one Test showed his meaning to the Australian side. His ability to maintain the pressure on all the batsmen with his line and length, cut off the pitch and swing means he should be in every Aussie Test side


Rating- 7/10- Great performance on what was a dead pitch


Trent Copeland


Adequate debut display. Though it is doubtful that he can maintain a long career in the game due to not only his lack of pace, but the fact that away from the new ball. He does little with ball in terms of swing or seam. So, he is relying on batsmen making mistakes to get his wickets


Rating- 6/10- Adequate


Nathan Lyon


In his debut series, the young off spinner showed that he has a future in the game. His figures were irrelevant, but his knowledge of the art of spin bowling is the key to this statement. Australia's search for spinner might be over.


Rating- 7/10- Not bad at all


Usman Khawaja


Showed grit in his two Tests, but his displays also showed he has potential to be a Test player, but at present is a long way off the level that is required


Rating-3/10- Big heart, but not up to the level as yet


Ryan Harris


If his body wasn't prone to injury, Harris could develop into one of the best bowlers in the World. His display in his two Tests of this series smacked of real class


Rating- 10/10- Stood head and shoulders above any other bowler in either Teams


The future prospects of the Team


The Aussies are set to have two Tests away to South Africa in November, and then a home series against India.


This series served to highlight Michael Clarke's calibre as a leader, but also highlighted the fragility in the Team.


Firstly Shane Watson with every match shows he isn't suited long term for the openers role, and the improved nature of his bowling. From a team sense would dictate that he is moved to the middle order of the line up to utilise it fully. Leaving a vacancy at the top of the order for which Shaun Marsh could fill, but greater sense would see him retained at three, and the precociously talented Nic Maddinson given a go in the role or conversely try Usman Khawaja at the top


Also Ricky Ponting should be pushed into retirement after the Indian series at home.


From a bowling sense, unless Mitchell Johnson turns it around, it would make sense to replace him in the line up. Young James Faulkner would be a great replacement. The attack should be spearheaded by Siddle and Harris with Faulkner, Watson and Lyon in support















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