Tall Scores, Struggling Spinners – Marks for the Future

Michael Roberts, 23 March 2010

The recent match between Kandurata and Basnahira North at the smallish Moors ground in Colombo during the Provincial Tournament in Lanka  is significant in several ways:

  1. Thilan Samaraweera,  and Jeewan Mendis indicated that they had the edge over the others who scored over fifty in their staying power and concentration; but the task of all batsmen was rendered easier by what must surely have been a placid pitch.
  2. SO that the more revealing stats are those for bowlers: those who claimed some wickets show that they have the edge in persistence, guile and skill…. that they showed grit in difficult conditions.

In this field let me isolate the spin-bowlers [I bracket out the third innings as a dead innings … Though Randiv’s 3 for 63 in 8 overs should not be discounted entirely].

Kandurata bowling vs Basnahira North

S Randiv 43 – 6—177 –4 wkts –   4.11

S Prasanna           22 – 3— 86 – 0  wkts —  3.90

Jeewan Mendis 11 –1 — 34 – 1 wkt   —  3.09

B-North vs Kandurata

S Serasinghe 39 – 3— 120 –2 wkts – 3.07

M Pushpakumara 18—2— 89 – 0 wkt — 4.94

S. Dissanayake 39 –1—171– 3 wkts – 4.29

I am assuming that Serasinghe was bowling right-arm off spin rather than seam [he opened the attack] for that is how his bowling is described on the cricket site. In this line-up of spinners and in terms of local level cricket we have three genuine allrounders in Serasinghe, Pushpakumara and Dissanayake and one near all rounder in Randiv and one batting allrounder in Jeewan Mendis (who has recently added regular leg-spin to his armoury, and only one bloke, Prasanna, who is classed as “bowler”.

In this “competition” in roughly the same conditions in the longer version of cricket, therefore, it is worth noting that RANDIV and DISSANAYAKE held up some notches above the others. Looked at in other ways Prasanna’s failure to take wickets while yet bowling economically is significant. As significant is the afct that captain Kaushal Silva had more confidence in Serasinghe and Dissanayake as his spinning spearheads than Pushpakumara.

Pushpakumara  may still be a good spinning allrounder option for 50-over ODI teams because his batting stats are not only superior to Randiv but also because he has attacking talent; but in the longer version my hopes about his prospects have dimmed a mite after seeing this result.

Note too that Kandurata included Sachira Pathirana in their various Xis only on a few occasions –they were replete with spinners when Murali was also there. So overall it appears that Herath’s as left-arm spinner in the SL side is under challenge from Dissanayake and Sajeewa Weerakoon rather than Pathirana. But of course mystery bowler Ajantha Mendis is perhaps his No. 1 competitor, while the right-arm legspinner, M. Bandara, is on the fringe. In thses circumstances Prasanna cannot fancy his prospects unless he ups the ante by taking lots of wickets. Herath in the meanwhile did precisely that in the corresponding Provincial tournament  game at Pallekele by helping his side Wayamba to win with figures of 6-1-12-3  and 31-3-129-5 against Basnahira South within totals of 120 and 352 respectively [where Malinga Bandara had 12-2-42-3 and 9-0-54-0 within scores of 246 and 226 respectively].

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