A look back at 2022 – Sri Lanka’s top performers in an eventful year!

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A look back at 2022

2022 has been a remarkable year for Sri Lankan Cricket, possibly the best post Sanga-Mahela retirement in 2015.

Now it’s time to have a look at the record books and see how well the team performed throughout the year and the key performers of the island’s success.

Sri Lanka has played 44 international games across formats in the year 2022. They managed to win 20 out of them, lost 21 of them and drew 1 game recording a winning percentage of 47.61.

For a team that had been maintaining a modest winning percentage in the 30s in last 6 years, this number is good and reflects the progress the team has made in last 12 months.

The numbers obviously suggest the rise in the standard of cricket that Sri Lanka has been playing at present. Let’s get to the breakdowns in terms of formats and the key performers for the island nation.

Sri Lanka played 8 Tests in 2022. They played 2 home series against Australia and Pakistan and 2 away series in Bangladesh and India. The Lankans won 3 Tests in 2022 while losing 4 and managed to draw 1 game.

The standout Test batter of the year was Dinesh Chandimal who scored 719 runs in 6 matches at an average of 102.71. The right-hander ends the year as the 5th highest scorer in the world.

His staggering batting average of 102.71 is the highest in the world this year among cricketers who have played over 5 Tests. His unbeaten 206 runs against Australia in Galle was the knock of the year in Tests for Sri Lanka. He hit 2 centuries and 4 half-centuries in 10 innings overall.

Apart from him, senior batters Angelo Mathews and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne stood out with the bat scoring 615 runs and 569 runs in 8 matches respectively.

On the bowling front, Sri Lanka’s new spin hero Prabath Jayasuriya has been the most successful Test bowler for Sri Lanka in 2022 as he managed to claim 29 wickets in just 3 matches.

Jayasuriya who had a memorable Test debut against Australia in Galle, claimed a match bag of 12 wickets, registering figures of 6/118 and 6/59 in the two innings. His match figures of 12/177 are the best ever by a Sri Lankan bowler on Test debut. His astonishing start to Test cricket earned him the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award for July this year.

Jayasuriya’s spin partner Ramesh Mendis was the 2nd highest wicket taker this year with 20 wickets in 6 matches while speedster Asitha Fernando sits in 3rd place taking 16 wickets in 4 matches.

Fernando picked up a 10-wicket haul against Bangladesh in Mirpur, becoming only the second Sri Lankan fast bowler to have claimed 10 wickets in an away Test after Chaminda Vaas achieved the feat in 1995 against New Zealand in Napier.

Now let’s move towards the ODI format. It was a very satisfying year for Sri Lanka in the 50-over format as they managed to win 2 out of 3 ODI series played in 2022.

They defeated Australia 3-2 in a 5-match series and Zimbabwe 2-1 while drawing the 3-match series against Afghanistan 1-1. Overall, Sri Lanka played 11 matches in 2022, where they won 6 and lost 4 matches.

The ODI series win against the mighty Australians was very special for the islanders as they beat the Aussies in a bilateral ODI series at home after 30 years!

Sri Lanka’s star batting troika of Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka and Kusal Mendis dominated the ODI batting charts for 2022. Nissanka was the highest run-scorer as he aggregated 491 runs in 11 matches at 49.10.

Asalanka was placed 2nd for the second consecutive year, scoring 426 runs in 11 matches at 53.25 while Mendis accumulated 388 runs in 11 matches at 48.50.

Nissanka’s 137 against Australia at the R. Premadasa Stadium in a record run-chase was the knock of the year in ODIs for Sri Lanka in 2022. It was Nissanka’s maiden ODI ton which led Sri Lanka to chase down the highest successful run-chase (292) against Australia in ODIs.

On the bowling front, two wrist-spinners Jeffrey Vandersay and Wanindu Hasaranga dominated the wicket-takers list. Vandersay who played 7 matches managed to claim 14 wickets at 18.78 while Hasaranga picked up 10 wickets in 5 matches at 25.80. The seaming all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne also impressed with the ball during the said period taking 10 wickets in 8 matches at 24.40.

The left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage who debuted against Australia this year, managed to top the most wickets list in the 5-match series against the Aussies, claiming 9 wickets.

2022 was a mega year for T20 cricket, thanks to the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. For Sri Lanka, Asia Cup was a memorable tournament as they ended as the winners of the tournament after 8 years!

Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan in the final of the tournament played at Dubai clinching the Asia Cup title for the 6th time. Though Sri Lanka entered the T20 World Cup as the Asian Champions with renewed confidence, their campaign wasn’t satisfactory as they failed to reach the Semi-Finals of the tournament after registering only 2 wins in 5 games in the Super 12 stage of the tournament.

Sri Lanka played a total of 25 T20Is in 2022 and won 11 out of them while losing 13 games. Sri Lanka’s opening batter Nissanka who topped the ODI batting charts, showed his skills in the shortest format too, dominating the T20I batting charts, scoring 713 runs in 24 matches at 31 with a strike rate of 112.99.

Mendis was Sri Lanka’s 2nd highest run-scorer in T20Is as he made 521 runs in 20 matches at 28.94 with a strike rate of 132.23. Skipper Dasun Shanaka also had an impressive year with the bat as he accumulated 497 runs in 25 matches at 27.61 with a strike rate of 135.79.

Two T20I knocks stood out above the rest for Sri Lanka in 2022. One is Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s match winning 71-run knock played in the final of the Asia Cup. Batting first, Sri Lanka were in dire straits at 58/5 in the 9th over of the innings, but Rajapaksa played a blinder of an innings, changing the total complexion of the match. Rajapaksa made an unbeaten 71 off 45 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes at a strike rate of 157.78.

The second-best knock was skipper Shanaka’s 25-ball 54 which scripted a stunning victory for Sri Lanka against the visiting Australian team. Shanaka gave a furious late charge hitting 5 fours and 4 sixes at a strike rate of 216 and helping the hosts clinch an unlikely win chasing down a target of 177.

Sri Lanka’s spin maestro Hasaranga ended the year as the World’s No.1 T20I bowler. Hasaranga picked up 34 wickets in 19 matches at 15.67 and finished as the highest wicket-taker in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup held in Australia.

Hasaranga’s spin partner in white-ball cricket, Theekshana was the 2nd highest wicket-taker as he claimed 22 wickets in 22 matches at 26 while the speedster Lahiru Kumara snared 16 wickets in 11 matches at 20.12 sitting at 3rd place.

Pramod Madushan who debuted this year, bowled the spell of the year for Sri Lanka in T20Is claiming 4 wickets for 34 runs in the all-important Asia Cup final against Pakistan. His 4-wicket spell included the scalps of Pakistan’s two dangerous top order batters Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman, which helped Sri Lanka win the game and clinch the title.

The 22-year-old left-arm fast bowler Dilshan Madushanka’s career best spell (3/24) against India during the first round of Asia Cup was a noteworthy bowling performance. The Sri Lankan rookie rocked India when he cleaned up Virat Kohli for a duck. Madushanka who came into this match against India with only a cumulative experience of 3 T20Is under his belt, dealt against the strong Indian batting lineup with huge confidence delivering an important spell which helped Sri Lanka win the match by 6 wickets.