For some reason, sl cricket have always messed up the understanding of "anchor role" in the team.. For starters, Sangakkara was ordered to play the anchor role earlier in his career, meaning he was asked to hold his wicket intact until the end of the innings without bothering about the scoring rate. This seemed a good ploy and sl did not suffer from this as there were other prolific strokemakers in the team, who kept the runrate under control.
But arguably, this did not bring out the best in Sangakkara during that period. He freely admits that he was told to play his natural game after 2009, and apparently was a different and much more fluent player. His average kickstarted and he became a matchwinner, all the while the aim was to score runs, not to block all balls.
Similarly, after Sangakkara , sl repeated their mistakes.. Anchor role was given to players who "held their wicket" without bothering about scoring rate. This time, it didn't work anymore because the impact players like sanath,dilshan, mahela,etc who scored rapidly were not there anymore to hide the scoring rate of the anchor. Hence, sl started losing matches even after having good solid foundation. Sometimes they were even forced to send up players like seekuge prasanna in at 4 to up the run rate.
This clearly is an issue. Even when Chandimal got 6 consecutive 50s, sl still were not in a position to win. Whereas if we take a look at the most successful anchors in world cricket currently, they are not players who just "keep their wicket intact". In fact, they are the players who score easily at all periods. Amla,Smith,Root,Williamson,kohli,Du plessis,etc are some examples.
Hence its clear that anchor roles doesn't mean deadbatting balls, it means scoring runs easily with minimal risk and not resorting to overaggressive approaches at the initial stages of the innings, but having the ability to change gears whenever needed. Hence, sl needs such a player to play the anchor role.
By some good fortune, the ideal one for anchor role have been found in the form of Asela Gunaratne. He bats sensibly, doesn't seem impatient or easily disturbed, handles pressure amazingly well, rotates the strike with ease, has boundary options all around the ground and can change gears at any time.. Besides, his bowling is an enormous plus point as well.. Hence, we don't need to look far for an ideal anchor alongside Angelo Mathews. Asela Gunaratne is the man!!