Sri Lanka have been well below par in the year 2017 across all formats with just 11 wins in 30 matches; 56 dropped catches inclusive of 6 half chances haven’t helped their cause.
The dropped catches recorded are from 16 ODIs, 8 T20Is and 6 Test matches during the year. 5 of the 11 wins for Sri Lanka during the year have come in the 8 T20Is.
Dhananjaya De Silva’s drop of Hashim Amla in the first innings of the third Test early in the year proved to be very costly as Amla’s century put the Proteas in control for the rest of the game. De Silva, fielding at gully, spilled a relatively easy chance with Amla on just five runs before he went on to make a match winning 134 with Suranga Lakmal being the unlucky bowler.
Sri Lanka had taken the ascendancy in the 2nd ODI having South Africa four down in the 20th over in Durban on the 1st of February, when Faf Du Plessis & David Miller began the rebuilding process. Dhananjaya De Silva was the culprit once again, spilling an easy chance of Du Plessis in the slips before Dinesh Chandimal dropped Miller behind the stumps with Lakshan Sandakan being the unfortunate bowler on both occasions. Both batsmen went on to make centuries helping South Africa post a formidable 307/6 before Sri Lanka crumbled to 186 all-out. The significance of the dropped catches were further highlighted in this game with the next best score apart from the centuries for South Africa being just 26 made by Chris Morris.
Come the 5th ODI of the same series, Dhananjaya De Silva was involved once again –this time as a bowler on both occasions – when Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga dropped chances of Hashim Amla on 27 & 38 as he went on to make a swashbuckling 154 to lead South Africa to a daunting 384/6 before Sri Lanka replied with a sedate 296/8.
Upul Tharanga dropped Shakib Al Hasan on 11 in the 2nd Test at the P.Sara Oval against Bangladesh and Niroshan Dickwella dropped him again on 67 as the world class all-rounder made sure he punished the Sri Lankans for the dropped chances going on to make a brilliant century. To make things worse for Sri Lanka, they went on to lose to Bangladesh for the first and only time in the 18 Tests played between the two nations.
ICC Champions Trophy 12th Match : Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Cardiff, Jun 2017 – Pakistan won by 3 wickets
Perhaps the two costliest drops during the year came from Thisara Perera and Seekuge Prasanna (coming in as a substitute fielder). It was a do-or-die game in the 2017 Champions Trophy against Pakistan when Thisara spilled a dolly at mid-on off the bowling of Lasith Malinga with Sarfraz Ahmed on 38 and Pakistan needing over 50 runs for victory with just three wickets in hand. Malinga deceived Sarfraz with a slower ball that time around before surprising him with a bouncer to create another opportunity only to see Seekuge Prasanna running in from deep square-leg and spilling that chance too with Sarfraz still on 40*. Sarfraz eventually led Pakistan to victory and into the semifinals with a fighting 61* and Pakistan went on to clinch the Champions Trophy beating India in the final.
It is interesting to see that out of the 56 chances spilled by Sri Lanka, 11 of them have been spilled off Lasith Malinga’s bowling with the two dropped chances during the Champions trophy clash between Pakistan standing out. Malinga is involved only in the shorter formats of the game at present and made a comeback into ODIs only during the Champions Trophy played in England.
1st ODI: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Galle, Jun 2017 – Zimbabwe won by 6 wickets
Dhanushka Gunathilake is one of the two men to feature most on this list of 56 dropped catches along with Upul Tharanga. They have dropped five catches each this year while Gunathilake’s costliest drop was off Sean Williams when he was on 13* during Zimbabwe’s record run chase in the opening ODI against Sri Lanka recently. Gunathilake, fielding at backward point, dropped the chance created by Lahiru Madushanka off his first ball in the match and it proved to be costly as Williams went on to make 65 while being involved in a match winning partnership with Solomon Mire.
1st Test: Sri Lanka v India at Galle, Jul 2017 – India won by 304 runs
The most recent drop during the first Test against India at Galle by Asela Gunaratne off the bowling of Lahiru Kumara proved to be a game changer. Shikhar Dhawan was only on 31* at the time but he pounced on the dropped opportunity and went on to make a career best 190 off just 168 balls which changed the complexion of the game completely. Sri Lanka went on to lose the match by 304 runs while Gunaratne had a fractured thumb from the incident and was ruled out for the rest of the match and the series.
The stats were compiled by a die-hard cricket fan Akeeb Mohammed and his friends.