Bangladesh – a good fight
The last 12 months have been pretty productive for Bangladesh, they have managed to run a few teams close, discovered a few good players and generally had a couple of good days of test cricket.
Shakib Al Hassan is undoubtedly a star and the best player to have come out of Bangladesh to date. He scored the most runs and wickets for his team. He did it with style and with balls. You cant ask for much more than that from a player. We doff our caps to you sir.
The main weakness for Bangladesh is though their inability to handle pressure. Put them in nervy situation and their knees buckle. They had about 3 clear cut chances to get past Sri Lanka,
-on the 1st day of the 1st test when Sri Lanka were 171-6 and should never have scored 200,
-at lunch on the 5th day in the 1st test when they only needed 144 with 4 wickets remaining
-and when they had SL at 75-4 in the 2nd test.
All three times, Bangladesh’s weak ticker showed. The fault may lie with Ashraful, who is a very negative captain, its almost as if they are afraid of what would happen if they go all out for the win.
Ashraful likes to sit back and wait for mistakes, bowling with no more than a single slip at most times. Thats not going to win you test matches.
The top order needs to learn to bat longer. Throwing it away after scratching around for 30 or 40 runs is on par with crimes against humanity. Its like foreplay without the sex. Its good, but never good enough.
Mortaza and Shadat form a good new ball pairing but they lack the ability to go the distance in a single day.
In Shahadat’s case he needs to stop wasting his energy on his annoying Sharapova grunt.
Sri Lanka – Finally performs as a team.
It had become so rare that some people had given up on seeing a team performance from Sri Lanka.
The top order made runs, the bowlers got wickets. Sounds pretty easy doesnt it.
The only disappointments were Warnapura and Vandort. Vandort can count himself very lucky if he is picked to play against Pakistan. 196 runs in the year at 18 usually means you will be dropped.
Warnapura has a good future as long as he sorts his technique out, he basically scores with one shot, the drive, anything outside off with some movement has him in trouble. Anything pitching on and straightening also has him trouble because his bat comes from about point.
You cant argue with a man who scores two 100s in a game but Dilshan still needs to learn that test cricket is not all about attack. Its good when it comes off but playing in a team where the batting line up has mood swings on a daily basis a bit more work on the temperament wont hurt.
Samaraweera – easily the most improves test player for Sri Lanka this year.
Sangakkara- Consistent without being too flash, a few more converted 50s wont hurt next time.
Mahela- Yes he got a 100 but lets not get carried away.166 of his 202 runs came in one innings – which tells a different story. Still has problems with his foot work and playing away from his body.
Mahela the captain had another exceptional series, if Ashraful was bad, Mahela was worse, the lack of aggression in his leadership has become predictable now. Even when SL had Bangladesh reeling, he would do away with slips, send out boundary riders, bowl without a slip for the spinners. It’s getting pretty weird now.
He’s lucky that the bowlers are in such good form that they always deliver.
And then there is PJ, I wonder how long SL can afford to carry him purely on his keeping. If not for his incredible glove work, he wont make the SL A team at the moment. A Lot more work to be done PJ.
Some people wondered why Vass was picked for the test team, they probably arnt anymore. Vass doesn’t even need to get wickets. Just him being there gives the other bowlers a sense of direction. He might be aging but he is still good with those 120kmph trundlers. Got wickets with the new ball both games. Top effort.
Dhammika Prasad’s really come a long way, he’s radar is still wonky and needs a bit of work but he is quick, gets movement and practices the dark arts with the old ball. Plus he is crazy enough to be Andre Nel’s brother. We like.
Murali – 13 wickets with his 22nd 10 wicket haul. The Wicket-Machine rolls along. Unfortunately for him Mendis seems more popular than him at the moment. So by the time he gets on its slim pickings. It seems strange that Murali is now 2nd choice to Splendid, but time apparently doesn’t even wait for Murali.
Mendis- Had he played both tests, both would have ended inside 4 days. The Spinning Freak Show marches on.
The Luke Skywalker Award
-given to the player for an outstanding performance even though no one gives him a chance.
Dilshan was curiously picked in the test team and dropped from the ODI team for this tour.
But no one could have predicted the savage beauty that TM delivered in the 2nd test. Add to that the match winning 4 wickets.
Dilshan stole the script, gave himself a starring role with all the cool action scenes, and then delivered an Al Pacino performance.
5 stars from us TM !
The Shivenarine Chanderpaul award
-given to the player who carries the team on his back.
This was a tough one because the top order all delivered at some point.
But it was Tilan Samaraweera who saved SL when they were 171-6 with a ballsy 90.
Chipped in with a gritty half century when Mahela was finding his feet.
And hung out with Dilshan when he was going crazy.
Workmalike, tidy and consistent, Tilan takes this coveted prize. Keep up the good work!
The Sarah Palin Award
– given to the player who was an absolute and total faliure, but a good laugh for the rest of us.
Vandort and PJ fought neck and tooth for this award.
Sadly Vandort couldnt show us his claims in the 2nd test.
So PJ wins it for his extra effort in notching up 37 runs at 12.
27 of them coming in one innings.
Just rewards for some shoddy work.
Keep it up and Sanga will need to start looking for his gloves again.