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Here’s everything you need to know about Sri Lanka cricket’s Prabath Jayasuriya
For a Sri Lankan cricket that has produced numerous elite spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, and Rangana Herath, Prabath Jayasuriya is yet another name that makes the list of top-class Sri Lankan cricket spinners.
The fact that a Sri Lankan left-arm spinner is taking wickets regularly is not a surprise. The astonishing thing is the way in which he has emerged as one of Sri Lanka cricket's main assets.
Prabath Jayasuriya shows good results in ODI cricket
Even though he made his ODI debut against South Africa in August 2018, he had to wait another four years to get his first Test cap. And he couldn't have dreamed of a better Test debut against Australia.
In the first Test at Galle against the Aussies, the 30-year-old took his first five-wicket haul and finished with figures of 6/118. In the second innings, he took another five-wicket haul.
As a result, Jayasuriya finished with the best figures by a Sri Lankan bowler on his Test debut, taking 12 wickets for 177 runs. Only Narendra Hirwani and Bob Massie had taken more wickets on a Test debut than him (16 each).
He also was the second Sri Lankan bowler to take two five-wicket hauls in his Test debut and was unsurprising, declared man-of-the-match for his performance.
As a result of his performances against the Kangaroos, Jayasuriya was called up for the Test squad for the series against Pakistan. Against the Greens, the 30-year-old carried his momentum and used his incredible trickery to frustrate the Prabath Pakistani batsmen.
In the first innings of the first test, he took another five-wicket haul, which was his third in as many Test innings. He was the third Test bowler after Tom Richardson and Clarrie Grimmett to take five wickets in each of the first three Test innings. All of the three five-wicket hauls have come at Galle. He was pivotal in restricting Pakistan to 218 runs.
Can Prabath Jayasuriya Full Murali And Herath's Boots?
Prabath Jayasuriya has also become the third Sri Lankan spinner after Muttiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath to claim three five wicket-hauls in consecutive Test innings. Even though Sri Lanka eventually lost to Pakistan in a close encounter in the first Test, it adds another chapter to the relatively small career of the 30-year-old.
There was one moment in the first innings when Jayasuriya was incredibly close to getting his first hat trick, but Yasir Shah was lucky to escape the hat trick ball. The victims in his third career five-wicket haul included Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Unfortunately for him, he couldn't achieve the impossible target of taking four five-wicket hauls on the spin in a Test match. However, he managed to pick up four wickets in the second innings of the first test-match and took the all-important scalp of Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
The right-handed batsman was completely bamboozled by the 30-year-old's spin from over the wicket as he chose to leave the ball that turned from behind him and onto the stumps.
If Jayasuriya had taken a five-wicket haul in that innings, he would have become the first bowler ever to secure four consecutive five-wicket hauls in his first four Test innings.
By the end of his first two Tests, the left-arm spinner had already taken 21 wickets. The record was 24 by the Indian leg spinner Narendra Hirwani. Moreover, Alec Bedser and Bob Massie were the other two bowlers to take 21 or more wickets after their first two Test matches.
With the potential he has already shown, Jayasuriya doesn't look like stopping and he has shown that in the ongoing second Test against Pakistan so far. In the first innings of Pakistan, it was the Ramesh Mendis show as he joined the party by taking a five-wicket haul of his own.
However, it was Jayasuriya once again who took the most important scalps. Firstly, he got rid of Azam again as the right-handed batsman played on a low ball delivered by the Sri Lankan spinner.
Secondly, he picked up the wicket of Salman Ali Agha, who was playing his career-best knock of 62. He was also the highest scorer for Pakistan in this innings as he nicked one to first slip with a few overs left in the day's play.
On the third day of the Test match, Hassan Ali fell prey to his wizardry, who can also be a pain in the back with some important runs in the late order. With 24 wickets in his first five innings of the test, Jayasuriya is on the cusp of being a superstar for Sri Lankan cricket for many years to come.
Sri Lanka cricket shouldn't have ignored Prabath Jayasuriya at all costs.
With the potential Jayasuriya has with his spin bowling, Sri Lankan fans would be disappointed that he wasn't discovered earlier on. He is currently at the age of 30 and has only played a total of six ODI and Test matches for Sri Lanka. Even though they had great spinners before him, they shouldn't have ignored Jayasuriya at all costs.
However, it is all part of history now and Jayasuriya can achieve a lot in the remaining years of his professional career. He is a typical left-arm off-spinner that beats batsmen on the flight and can turn on the ball on virtually any surface.
With a spinning wicket in a place like we have seen during Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan cricket bowler can be a tough customer to handle.
The biggest strength of Jayasuriya is his flight. He shows consistency with his line and length as he tries to make the batsman play. As he keeps the ball wicket-to-wicket, the batsman has no other choice but to play.
As there are more right-handed batsmen in a Test side compared to left-handers, Jayasuriya tends to operate from around the wicket. However, he can also surprise the batsmen with his spin from over the wicket. If you have seen the dismissal of Babar Azam in the second innings of the first test, you would understand what we mean.
Despite playing so little cricket so far, Jayasuriya has already made his mark on the Sri Lankan team. If he keeps on performing as he has so far, Sri Lankan cricket would have a new darling in Test cricket.
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