England vs. Sri Lanka: Ranking All 24 Players from the 2014 Test Series

Richard MorganContributor IJune 24, 2014

England vs. Sri Lanka: Ranking All 24 Players from the 2014 Test Series

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    Sri Lanka beat England with just one ball remaining on the final day of the second Test at Headingley on Tuesday to claim a historic first-ever Test series win in the UK.

    And after what has been an absolutely thrilling two matches, these are how all 24 players from both countries ranked during the series in reverse order…

24. Alastair Cook (C)

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    Seventy-eight runs in four innings at an average of just 19 sums up the opener’s woeful series with the bat, whileif it is possiblethe beleaguered skipper has been even more ineffective in the field.

    And this 1-0 series loss must surely represent the lowest moment in the captain’s England career so far?

23. Lahiru Thirimanne

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    A nightmare series with the bat for the hapless 24-year-old, who made the grand total of just four runs in his four innings during the two games, including recording an ignominious pair at Headingley in which the left-handed middle-order batsman lasted for only three balls in the entire match.

22. Prasanna Jayawardene (WK)

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    The stumper only featured in the opening Test of the series at Lord’s after injuring his finger while keeping wicket in the first innings, which partly explains the normally reliable batsman’s disappointing total of just 14 runs in that match.

21. Nuwan Kulasekara

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    The experienced swing bowler disappointed when given the responsibility of opening the bowling in the first Test at Lord’s, returning match figures of two for 148 in what were favourable conditions for the 31-year-old.

    As a result, the medium pacer then lost his place in the team to Dhammika Prasad for the second game of the series at Leeds.

20. Chris Jordan

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    There is definitely plenty of all-round potential to work with there, including the player’s late-order batting and slip fielding too.

    However, the 25-year-old was picked to take wickets and a return of just five in the series—and all in the first Test at Lord’s—at a cost of a whopping 54.6 show there is still a huge amount of work to do before the paceman’s promise actually turns into reality.

19. Nuwan Pradeep

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    In the end, it was the five balls that the paceman managed to keep out from England paceman Stuart Broad right at the end of the first Test at Lord’s that saw Sri Lanka win the series 1-0.

    As for his bowling, the 27-year-old picked up six wickets at a cost of more than 50 runs in the two games, so the tourists may now be looking for another player to take the new ball in their next Test.

18. Stuart Broad

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    Hard to criticise the Nottinghamshire paceman really after he became the first Englishman to take two Test hat-tricks during the second Test, while the 28-year-old produced some impressive spells during the series, particularly in Sri Lanka’s second and first innings at Lord’s and Headingley respectively.

    But in the end England needed more from their experienced opening bowler than a total of just seven wickets at an average of 34.5, including underwhelming figures of none for 86 as the tourists somehow managed to rack up a mammoth 457 on Black Monday in Leeds.

17. Dinesh Chandimal (WK)

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    Came in to replace the injured Prasanna Jayawardene behind the stumps for the deciding Test at Leeds, with the former Sri Lanka T20 captain keeping tidily throughout, while his first-innings knock of 45 also proved crucial in helping to propel the tourists’ total up to a competitive 257.

16. Ian Bell

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    Like much of his international career during the past decade, the graceful middle-order batsman scored eye-catching half-centuries in the first innings of both Tests, before being comprehensively castled in the second when both resilience and grit were the order of the day.

    Consequently, 137 runs at an average of 34.25 in home conditions against such a limited bowling attack is just not good enough, I am afraid, from England’s so-called “best” batsman and new No. 4. 

15. Dimuth Karunaratne

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    An encouraging series for the left-handed opener, albeit without a half-century to show for all his hard work, ended with the 26-year-old compiling 127 at times streaky runs at 31.75.

    Enough promise shown though to keep his place at the top of the order in the future…

14. Kaushal Silva

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    The 28-year-old enjoyed an outstanding first Test of the series in making fifties in both innings at Lord’s and while the diminutive right-hander was not so successful with the bat at Leeds, he still amassed a more than respectable 146 runs in total during the two games at an average of 36.5.

13. Matt Prior (WK)

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    On the batting front, 139 runs at a healthy average of 46.3 is more like the Matt Prior of old, especially the Sussex man’s aggressive 86 in the first innings at Lord’s in what was his first knock for his country since being dropped during last winter’s Ashes series in Australia.

    However, some uncharacteristically sloppy moments with the gloves by the experienced wicketkeeper, including spilling a regulation catch early on in key man Kumar Sangakkara’s first innings at Leeds, will no doubt have caused some concern for coach Peter Moores looking forward.

12. Liam Plunkett

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    Brought back by new head coach Peter Moores for his first Test in seven years with the specific brief of being England’s enforcer-in-chief with the ball in order to expose Sri Lanka’s supposedly brittle batting lineup.

    And while 11 wickets at 30 is a more than satisfactory return from the Yorkshire fast bowler, including figures of nine for 174 on his home ground at Headingley in the second Test, surely Steven Finn is the better long-term option of the two?

11. Rangana Herath

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    Yet another handy contribution with the ball from Sri Lanka’s wily and ever-reliable left-armer, who captured eight wickets at 43.8 in the two-match series, with the 36-year-old playing a key role in particular in the tourists’ last-gasp win at Headingley by picking up three second-innings wickets.

    And the tiny spinner’s spirited 48 on the fourth afternoon in Leeds was also important in his country’s maiden Test series win in England.

10. Sam Robson

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    One hugely encouraging knock in the first innings at Headingley, when the Australia-born opener scored his maiden Test century, sandwiched between three less convincing efforts.

    However, given the state of England’s batting at present, the Middlesex youngster’s debut series can be considered a qualified success.

9. Mahela Jayawardene

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Even when out of form, which the 37-year-old has appeared to be throughout most of this series, England’s bowlers have still needed a fork-lift truck to prize the experienced middle-order batsman from the crease.

    And with vital half-centuries in both Test matches, the No. 4 still managed to play a key role in his team’s maiden Test series win in England.

8. Moeen Ali

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    A superb and gutsy unbeaten maiden Test hundred in an ultimately losing cause on the final day in Leeds means this has been an encouraging debut series for the languid left-handed batsman from Worcestershire.

    And with three wickets to his name as well during the two games, including the prize scalp of Sri Lanka’s best batsman Kumar Sangakkara twice, the 27-year-old will now keep his place in the middle order for the start of the India series.

7. Joe Root

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    One of the few successes with the bat for England after making 259 runs at 86.3 during the two Tests­—more than any of his team-mates—although those impressive numbers are skewed by the Yorkshireman’s unbeaten double-century in his first knock of the summer at Lord’s, for which he was named man of the match.

    Even so, a welcome return to the starting lineup, the middle order and form by the fresh-faced 23-year-old after a difficult past 12 months at the top of the order.

6. Gary Ballance

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    Like Robson, the Yorkshireman also recorded his first Test match hundred, it coming in the second innings of the opening contest of the series at Lord’s.

    And with a well-made 74 in the first innings at Leeds too, the 24-year-old must surely now be inked in for the rest of the summer to take on the poisoned No. 3 spot in this brittle England batting lineup after compiling 201 runs in the series at an excellent average of 67.

5. Shaminda Eranga

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    Only England fast bowler James Anderson took more than the 11 wickets at 32 that the 28-year-old managed to capture in the two-match series, an impressive haul for the inexperienced paceman.

    And there is clearly plenty to work with here for Sri Lankan bowling coach Chaminda Vaas going forward.

4. Dhammika Prasad

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    Brought in to replace the ineffective Nuwan Kulasekara for the deciding Test at Leeds, the paceman responded in sensational style by recording eye-catching figures of six for 125 in the match.

    And this included the 31-year-old’s maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket to help bowl England out in their second innings at Headingley and hand Sri Lanka a stunning 100-run victory.

3. James Anderson

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    The leading wicket-taker in the two-match series, with 12 scalps at a paltry 21.5, represents one of the few bright spots for new coach Peter Moores to take with him into the forthcoming contests with India.

    And while the 31-year-old is clearly moving towards the final chapter of his wonderful international career, on this evidence England’s Player of the Series still has some petrol left in the tank.

2. Kumar Sangakkara

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    Like a fine wine, the veteran batsman just seems to get better with age. At least, that is on the evidence of this two-match series which has seen the 36-year-old rack up just the small matter of 342 runs at a stunning average of 85.5, including a maiden Lord's ton in the opening contest.

    And not only was the elegant left-handed No. 3 the leading run-scorer in the series, but Sanga also managed to become only the fourth batsman in Test cricket to score seven fifties in a row when he passed that mark during the tourists’ second innings at Headingley.

1. Angelo Mathews (C)

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    A truly remarkable series with both bat and ball from Sri Lanka’s inspirational skipper, with the 27-year-old also becoming the first man to captain his country to a Test series win in England after his side’s dramatic final-day win at Headingley.

    The all-rounder, who was named Man of the Match in the second Test and Sri Lankan Player of the Series too, amassed a total of 306 runs in the two games, including two centuries, the second of which at Leeds was his highest score in Test cricket.

    Meanwhile, the skipper picked up four crucial wickets in England’s first innings at Headingley to record his best-ever bowling figures of four for 44 and round off what Mike Atherton called, while commentating on Sky Sports, “the greatest-ever Test match performance by a Sri Lanka captain.”