Sanga, Herath and Mathews complete outstanding year

2014 REVIEW



article_image

by Rex Clementine


Mathews also grew in stature as a leader. A Test series win in England had eluded many famous Sri Lankan captains and yet Mathews at 27 was able to achieve the milestone. Mathews also revived his largely neglected bowling and there was quite a bit of success as he claimed ten wickets this year in Tests that included a four-wicket haul in Headingley when conditions helped seam bowling. He was denied a fifth wicket as fielders slipped a couple of catches.

Having painfully watched Sri Lanka being humbled by New Zealand’s pace attack in Christchurch, most observers would agree that there’s plenty of work left to be done for the national cricket team especially when it comes to competing overseas. Obviously there was also the memory of 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Indians not too long ago, Sri Lanka’s first ever whitewash. However, the fact remains that 2014 was one of Sri Lanka’s best years in all three formats of the game.


This year the national cricket team played 12 Tests, won five and lost three while having played 32 ODIs out of which they won 20. Sri Lanka also participated in nine T-20 Internationals this year and won all but one.


Many highlights –


There were many highlights for the Sri Lankans this year. They won the World T-20, the Asia Cup and their first ever Test series win in England. There were also ODI series wins against England both away and home and Test series win at home against Pakistan.


Performance of three players stood out throughout 2014. Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara was outstanding. He scored a maiden triple hundred in Bangladesh and signed a brief stint with English county Durham in order to get ready for the Test series in England. There were rich dividends for the left-hander in England as he completed a maiden Test century at Lord’s. He also completed three other half-centuries in the two-match Test series.


Sanga had not been part of a team that have won a Test series outside Sri Lanka, other than against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and the series win in England was something that completed his impressive CV.


Sangakkara finished 2014 as the highest run getter in both forms of the game. In Tests he scored over 1,400 runs while in ODIs he compiled more than 1,200 runs. Perhaps his most cherished knock in 2014 came in the World T-20 final. Sanga had captained two ICC finals (2009 World T-20 and 2011 World Cup) and played in four of them and finished in the losing side on all four instances. This was perhaps his last chance to win a major title and he made it a memorable one with an unbeaten half-century that sealed Sri Lanka’s six-wicket triumph.


Herath the Lion heart –


The lionhearted Rangana Herath starred in many famous Sri Lankan victories. There had been plenty of setbacks for the left-arm spinner as he underwent knee surgeries and selectors doubted his credentials in shorter formats of the game opting for young talent. But from every opportunity he got, Herath proved that he has not lost any spark despite being one of the oldest players in the side at the age of 36.


He finished 2014 as the highest wicket taker. In ten games Herath picked up 60 wickets at 27.47. His career best figures were also recorded this year when he picked up 14 for 184 against Pakistan at SSC. He picked up nine for 127 in Pakistan’s first innings, his best bowling figures in an innings.


Sri Lanka beat Pakistan 2-0 and Herath’s contributions were vital and he was named Player of the Series.


Herath was the stand out bowler when Sri Lanka toured England although conditions were not ideally suited for him. He only picked up eight wickets in the series, but what was crucial was that due to his excellent control, Angelo Mathews could use him to contain.


Herath’s batting proved to be valuable for Sri Lanka as he came up with some important partnerships including a match winning 149-run stand for the eighth wicket in Sri Lanka’s second innings at Headingley with skipper Mathews.


Mathews steps up –


This was the year where Angelo Mathews proved that he is ready to take over the mantle from Kumar Sangakkara as country’s leading batsman. The Sri Lankan captain, apart from leading the side, admirably came up with some match-winning performances in both forms of the game. He finished 2014 as the second highest run-scorer in the world in both Test and ODI cricket behind Sangakkara.


Mathews hit one century and nine fifties in ODIs this year while in Tests he compiled three centuries and eight half-centuries, including a memorable one at Lord’s.


Mathews also grew in stature as a leader. A Test series win in England had eluded many famous Sri Lankan captains and yet Mathews at 27 was able to achieve the milestone. Mathews also revived his largely neglected bowling and there was quite a bit of success as he claimed ten wickets this year in Tests that included a four-wicket haul in Headingley when conditions helped seam bowling. He was denied a fifth wicket as fielders slipped a couple of catches.


In ODIs, meanwhile, Mathews picked up 18 wickets and 2014 was one of the most productive years for the all-rounder.


Among the top five wicket takers in the world in ODI cricket there are three Sri Lankans. Ajantha Mendis leads the list that includes Sachithra Senanayake and Lasith Malinga.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...