Sri Lanka has had a torrid run in the last year and a half, having lost 4 out of 5 bilateral series. In the only series that they have won, they won it against a lack-luster West Indian side. Their run to the World Cup finals has been the only silver lining for them at a time when their team went and is still going through rapid transformations. The loss of Muralitharan has jolted them hard and one gets the feeling that they are still reeling under the same pressure on the bowling front.
The Sri Lankan mainstay for the last 6-7 years have been the duo of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene and therefore it doesn’t come quite as a surprise that they do indeed head the batting impact chart for their team with Impacts of 2.25 and 2.01 respectively in the last one year.
One surprising revelation though in this factor has to be the performance of the opener Upul Tharanga in comparison to his partner Tillakaratne Dilshan. The consensus would go by the fact that Dilshan is a far superior player than Tharanga. However the latter has performed more regularly in his usual laid back attitude and has a batting impact of 1.80 compared to Dilshan’s 1.53 in the last one year.
Angelo Mathews is the only genuine all-rounder (Batting and Bowling IMPACT above 1) in the Lankan lineup. His pressure impact of 0.15 (highest in the team) shows how crucial a cog he has become in the Sri Lankan middle order. His career failure rate of only 38% shows his importance as an all-rounder to his team.
Lasith Malinga as always holds the key for Sri Lanka in the bowling department for Sri Lanka in this tri series. His bowling IMPACT of 2.20 and a failure rate of only 31% in the last one year shows his importance as the strike bowler in the team.
Nuwan Kulasekara’s form has dipped in the recent past and he has repeatedly failed to take wickets regularly upfront for Sri Lanka in the recent past. His last year’s woeful bowling IMPACT of only a 0.9 is a far cry to his career bowling IMPACT of 1.8. For Sri Lanka to perform well, it will be necessary to have both Malinga and Kulasekara perform consistently with the new ball given that both also show the highest ability to build pressure (Pressure Building IMPACT) on batsmen with quick wickets amongst Sri Lankan bowlers.
Even though Rangana Herath has performed reasonably well in the test format in the recent past, his one day exploits has been unheard of. For a bowler to fill Murali’s boots is no mean job. According to IMPACT Index, in the last one year before Muralitharan retired he had a Bowling IMPACT of 2.57 whereas Rangana Herath has a career Bowling IMPACT of only 1.28.
The rest of the bowlers in the team including the likes of Chanaka Welegadara and Dammika Prasad have been relatively untested. Although Welegadara has an impressive bowling IMPACT of 1.96, Dammika Prasad needs to improve on his bowling IMPACT of 1.40 to warrant a place in the team.
Thisara Perara and Farveez Maharoof will fight it out for the number seven spot in the Lankan team. Although Perera is likely to get the nod due to his superior batting as well as bowling impact than Maharoof, a direct result of his bowling skills and his hitting abilities with the bat.