Nobody gave them a chance at the beginning of the series, including myself, to be honest. But at the end of an exciting series, a young team of Sri Lanka created history by dethroning the world no. 1 Test team in Australia, defying all odds. As we all know, this series win has become one of the best, if not the best, in Sri Lanka Cricketing history.
This post is to introduce some awards for the series, which are imaginary at best, according to the way the series panned out.
1. What am I doing here?
Out of the 420.4 overs bowled by the Sri Lankan bowlers, only 47 overs had been collectively bowled by Sri Lankan pacers, in the likes of Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Angelo Mathews and Suranga Lakmal as the bulk of the bowling was done by spinners. They picked up crucial wickets too, inside the limited bowling spells.
Of these nominees the award goes to Vishwa Fernando, who only bowled 2 overs in the 1st innings for the whole of the 2nd Test in Galle.
2. I have no idea
Steven Smith’s side came to Sri Lanka thinking of a run over win in the series and with the intention of improving their Asian Test record. They came two weeks prior to the Test series, so that they would have more time to adjust to the conditions and to get the maximum preparation possible and played a couple of practice games including an intra-squad match.
But what happened in the end of 3 match Test series is history where by the end of the series they could not adjust to the conditions as much as they would have liked. Their bowlers did well in patches apart from Mitchell Starc who was outstanding throughout the series.
But the main reason for their loss was not being able to capitalize on a good bowling performance, especially in the 1st innings of the 1st Test in Kandy and 1st innings of the 3rd Test in Colombo.
Their batsmen’s most concerned case was not being able to distinguish the turning ball and the slider as they stated continuously, which was also called as the under-cut, and falling prey to straighter one more often than not. Most of their batsmen had no idea what so ever whether to leave or play at the ball and our spinners made full use of the pitch and conditions to their liking.
So the award “I have no Idea” goes to all Australian batsmen.
3. My Bunny
As written by Andrew F. Fernando in his ESPN column where this was a series of bunnies.
Dimuth Karunarathne, Kusal Mendis and Steven Smith got out 5 times each of the same bowler where former two to Mitchell Starc and the latter to Rangana Herath.
Kusal Mendis and Steven Smith had much more success in batting where scored a century and a half century each in the series and played substantial innings before getting out to the mentioned bowlers but for Dimuth Karunarathne, this was a thoroughly abysmal series where he got out to Mitchell Starc for five straight times inside 23 balls, that is a strike rate of 4.6. So clearly, of the nominees, Dimuth Karunarathne takes the award.
4. When will my number come?
As stated above, out of the 420.4 overs bowled by Sri Lanka 373.4 overs had been bowled by spinners. Of the overs bowled by the spinners, Lakshan Sandakan had only bowled 71.4 overs for the whole series to pick up 9 wickets. He bowled only 5 innings and the bulk of the bowling had been done in 3 innings only where he was not asked to bowl in the 2nd innings of the 3rd Test.
In a series dominated by spinners where Sri Lankan spinners collectively picked up 54 wickets, Sandakan must be wondering when would he be asked to bowl and could have been licking his lips but as Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan skipper, trusted his more senior men to do the bulk of the work, Sandakan could have expected more workload over the series.
So since the 2nd Test, he might have been thinking when will his number come in terms of bowling and the awards goes to him.
5. The Best Real Smile
Being asked to bat at 7, and to bowl occasional off-spin, Dhananjaya de Silva had a wonderful debut series to his name. Topping the run charts of the series against the world no.1 Australia, he was instrumental in adding crucial runs with the lower middle order and the tail on the way to a whitewash.
He impressed everyone with his technically correct stroke play filled with lazy elegance and lovely footwork to both spin and pace. Apart from his heroics with the bat in the series the most constant facet of his was his killer smile. Whether he was digging out a toe crusher or leaving a bouncer of Mitchell Starc’s or being cheeky to sweep a ball on the line of the stumps of Nathan Lyon’s or seeing the ball sailing over from David Warner’s bat into the stands off his first bowl in the 2nd innings of 3rd Test, the smile was ever present. No doubt that he might have attracted a few female fans around the world at the end of the series.
The award for “The Best Real Smile” goes to Dhananjaya de Silva.
This is not an effort to insult individuals or team/s, but a meme.