After a rollercoaster ride in 2014, Sri Lanka cricket alighted rather expectedly in 2015. Though the outcomes as a whole for the team were unbecoming, there were a slew of individual performances from youngsters that should bode well for Sri Lanka’s future. Dinesh Chandimal found his mojo with the bat back, Kapugedera made his international return count, Dimuth Karunaratne cemented his spot in the team as an opener, Thirimanne averred that Sri Lanka could place its hopes on him as a number three in ODIs, Kusal Mendis’s potential was plainly visible in his painstakingly persistent innings in New Zealand, Dhammika Prasad emerged to be the leading fast bowler, Chameera’s raw pace rattled great names and Dhanuska Gunathilaka capped the year proving that Sri Lanka is a land that produces dashing left-handed opening batsmen. 2015 was disappointing but it showed that the future is well and truly safe.
Here we take a look at the highlights of the year in numbers.
Highest run scorer- Dinesh Chandimal
After an untoward 2014, Dinesh Chandimal returned to his best in 2015, scoring 901 runs in 20 innings at an average of 47.42. His 2015 included two centuries and five half-centuries. The feather in the cap was his 162 not out against India in Galle, which turned a losing cause into an incredible win. He scored his runs at the strike rate of 95.85, which included 4 sixes and 19 boundaries. His innings was rated to be the second highest impact bearing innings in the history of test cricket by Impact Index.
Highest wicket taker- Dhammika Prasad
Suranga Lakmal and Shaminda Eranga were expected to take fast bowling in Sri Lanka forward, but regular injuries to them saw Prasad replacing them in the team as the first-choice fast bowler. But that was a blessing in disguise for Sri Lanka as Dhammika Prasad started felling wickets at will, so much so, that a wicket fell off the first over on many an occasion.
His lion-hearted bowling effort, which had him hit the deck hard whenever commissioned to bowl by the captain, produced 41 wickets last year, with his wickets coming at 24.95 runs apiece. The fact that he played most of the tests in Sri Lanka, a country in which the pitches are more spinner friendly, makes his accomplishment even more special.
His efforts merit a lot of eulogies since even Rangana Herath on Sri Lankan pitches could only pick up 37 wickets with an average that is head and shoulders above that of Prasad.
Best bowling performance
Rangana Herath produced a rock-star kind of a spell to reduce India to 112 to help his team win by 63 runs after having set a target of 176 runs. On a weary Galle pitch, the Indian batsmen had no clue about Herath’s slow left-arm spin as he picked up 7 wickets for 48 runs in 21 overs.
Best batting performance
Kumar Sangakkara’s bat produced the best performance in the year 2015 in New Zealand. On a green Wellington pitch, in which 15 wickets fell on day one, Sangakkara notched up an impeccable 203 runs helping his team get a lead of 135. The greatness of his innings is further emphasized by the fact that most of his runs came batt(l)ing with the tail.
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka’s captain following suite Mahela in the slips, picked up 14 catches in 2015. Taking 3 catches in a match was the best returns for him as far as his fielding was concerned.
Highest team total
Sri Lanka’s 484 against West Indies in Galle is the highest score by Sri Lanka in 2015. In this innings, Dimuth Karunaratne scored 186 while Dinesh Chandimal contributed 151 runs to the final tally.
Lowest team total
In the third innings against New Zealand in Sri Lanka’s last test in 2015, Sri Lanka splurged a winning opportunity by collapsing to 133 all out which is the lowest score they made last year.