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England Vs Sri Lanka 2021 Series Review: Woakes-Willey-Currans Impress As Sri Lanka Hit Rock Bottom

England Vs Sri Lanka 2021 Series Review. The #1 ranked team in the ODI Super League against the #11 team—a lopsided predictable series.

As we speak, England’s second string team is dominating Pakistan in an ODI series, but England found young guns in the Sri Lanka series as well. Liam Livingstone & Sam Billings progressed their case in the middle order, Dawid Malan & Eoin Morgan silenced their critics, and Joe Root & Jos Buttler did what they usually do. On the bowling front, Sam Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes, and Tom Curran came to the party.

For Sri Lanka, the story goes from bad to worse. Apart from Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Dasun Shanaka, there was nothing much of note. Scores of 129, 111, and 91 in the T20Is along with 185, 241, & 166 in the ODIs shows how much ground the Lankans have lost in the last decade.

Add to that, the bio-bubble suspension of Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilika, and Niroshan Dickwella, contract struggles, Thisara Perera’s retirement at 32, Angelo Mathews’ retirement consideration, numerous captaincy changes, and COVID induced India-Sri Lanka series, Sri Lanka have hit absolute rock-bottom.

Also Read: Top 50 England Cricket Team Players, West Indies Vs Sri Lanka 2021 Series Review

Results, Scorecards, & Video Highlights

T20I Series – England Won 3-0

  1. England won by 8 wickets (17 balls remaining) *Jos Buttler
    • SL 129/7 – Dasun Shanaka 50 (51), Adil Rashid (4-0-17-2)
    • Eng 130/2 – Jos Buttler 68* (55), Dushmantha Chameera (3.1-0-24-1)
    • Video Highlights
  2. England won by 5 wickets (11 balls remaining)*Liam Livingstone
    • SL 111/7 (18 overs) – Kusal Mendis 39 (39), Mark Wood (4-0-8-2)
    • Eng 108/5 (Target 103) – Liam Livingstone 29 (26), Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-20-2)
    • Video Highlights
  3. England won by 89 runs*Dawid Malan
    • Eng 180/6 – Dawid Malan 76 (48), Dushmantha Chameera (4-0-17-4)
    • SL 91/10 – Binura Fernando 29 (14), David Willey (4-0-27-3)
    • Video Highlights

*Player of the Match

Player of the SeriesEngland
Sam Curran
Sri Lanka
Most RunsDawid Malan – 87 Runs
(Best of 76, 29.00 average, 129.85 SR)
Dasun Shanaka – 65 Runs
(Best of 50, 21.66 average, 89.04 SR)
Most WicketsSam Curran – 5 wickets
(Best – 2/14, 9.40 average, 5.22 Economy)
Dushmantha Chameera – 6 wickets
(Best – 4/17, 11.66 average, 6.26 Economy)
England Vs Sri Lanka 2021 T20I Series Stats

ODI Series – England Won 2-0

  1. England won by 5 wickets (with 91 balls remaining)*Chris Woakes
    • SL 185/10 Kusal Perera 73 (81), Chris Woakes (10-5-18-4)
    • Eng 189/5 Joe Root 79* (87), Dushmantha Chameera (8-0-50-3)
    • Video Highlights
  2. England won by 8 wickets (with 42 balls remaining)*Sam Curran
    • SL 241/9 Dhananjaya de Silva 91 (91), Sam Curran (10-1-48-5)
    • Eng 244/2 Eoin Morgan 75*(83), Chamika Karunaratne (6-0-34-1)
    • Video Highlights
  3. No Result
    • SL 166/100 (41.1 overs) Dasun Shanaka 48* (65), Tom Curran (10-0-35-4)
    • Video Highlights

Series Stats

Player of the SeriesEngland
David Willey
Sri Lanka
Most RunsJoe Root – 147 Runs
(Best of 79*, 84.48 SR, 50s-2, Not dismissed)
Wanindu Hasaranga – 100 Runs
(Best of 54, 33.33 average, 68.02 SR)
Most WicketsDavid Willey – 9 Wickets
(Best – 4/64, 16.00 average, 5.33 Economy)
Dushmantha Chameera – 3 Wickets
(Best – 3/50, 32.00 average, 5.64 Economy)
England Vs Sri Lanka 2021 ODI Series Stats

Highlights

England

  • Chris Woakes: 3-0-14-1 (1st T20I), Rested, 4-0-9-1 (3rd T20I), 10-5-18-4 (1st ODI), Rested, 10-3-28-2. Dream figures. Playing his first T20I since 2015/16 season, you would expect him to get a consistent run. Yet he has only played 3 T20Is, 6 Tests, and 7 ODIs over the last two years. Yes, England do play lots of cricket and have tough competition for spots, but Woakes at 32, is in his prime and is bowling beautifully. Resting him after 3 over spells just does not make sense (unless the England team management are hiding something).
  • David Willey & Sam Curran were the pick of the bowlers in the ODI series. In the 2nd ODI, they combined for 9 wickets together. Curran’s opening spell – reducing SL to 21/4 within 7 overs was especially spectacular. Willey has had a stop-start career and has always taken his opportunity. It is time he gets a consistent run. Was unlucky to miss out on the 2019 WC spot due to the Jofra Archer’s emergence.
  • Silencing the critics feat Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, and Tom Curran.
    • Tom Curran produced a 10-0-35-4 in the final ODI after a couple of expensive years.
    • One criticism is that since his record-breaking innings against Afghanistan, he hasn’t had much of note. Performance with KKR in the IPL? Not that great either. Meanwhile, Alex Hales is making runs for fun in the various T20 leagues. Dropping Morgan and picking Hales gained some traction in social media recently. Hence match-winning partnership with Joe Root in the 2nd ODI was timely.
    • Malan, the #1 ranked T20I batter, was under the hammer for below-par performances in slow subcontinent tracks. An exhilarating 76 in the 3rd T20I should solidify his case for the T20I World Cup.

Also Read: Why The World Needs Sam Curran: Calm, Charismatic, Courageous

Sri Lanka

  • Dushmantha Chameera has been the only positive for Sri Lanka fast bowling over the last year. He was the best bowler for Sri Lanka this tour in 3 out of 5 matches. Bowls with good pace, hits the deck—he has all the elements to be a Sri Lankan great.
  • Wanindu Hasaranga has been the find for Sri Lanka since the West Indies tour earlier this year. He is currently averaging 15.76 at 6.75 economy and is now unleashing his all-round potential. In this England series, he batted in the middle order with handy knocks of 54, 26, & 20.
  • Dhananjaya de Silva played a gem of a counterattacking knock in the 2nd ODI, scoring 91 runs. Pure timing and a great catch as well. Unfortunate to miss that century.

Also Read: Lasith Malinga: The Slinga, Slayer, and SuperStar

AwardsEnglandSri Lanka
Emerging PlayerLiam LivingstoneDushmantha Chameera
Comeback KidEoin MorganSL’s Administrative Struggles
Surprise Package Rotation of Chris WoakesDhananjaya de Silva
Broken Cricket DreamInternational Career Over For Alex Hales?Bio Bubble Breach
England Vs Sri Lanka 2021 Series Awards

T20I World Cup Squad Predictions

We look forward to early T20 World Cup 23-player squad prediction as of this series. Who knows how many changes we will get to see with Sri Lanka.

  1. Jason Roy, 2. Jos Buttler (WK), 3. Dawid Malan, 4. Jonny Bairstow, 5. Eoin Morgan*, 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Sam Curran, 8. Moeen Ali, 9. Jofra Archer, 10. Adil Rashid, 11. Mark Wood

Squad: 12. Sam Billings, 13. Liam Livingstone, 14. Tom Curran, 15. Chris Jordan, 16. Saqib Mahmood, 17. James Vince, 18. Tom Banton, 19. Joe Root, 20. Reece Topley, 21. Liam Dawson, 22. Matt Parkinson, 23. Phil Salt

Sri Lanka

  1. Kusal Perera, 2. Pathum Nissanka, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Dinesh Chandimal, 5. Avishka Fernando, 6. Wanindu Hasaranga, 7. Dasun Shanaka*, 8. Akila Dananjaya, 9. Isuru Udana, 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11. Lakshan Sandakan

Squad: 12. Ashen Bandara, 13. Asitha Fernando, 14. Nuwan Pradeep, 15. Oshada Fernando, 16. Suranga Lakmal, 17. Ramesh Mendis, 18. Kamindu Mendis, 19. Dilshan Madushanka, 20. Suranga Lakmal, 21. Dimuth Karunaratne, 22. Praveen Jayawickrama, 23. Lasith Malinga

Upcoming Fixtures – England Vs Sri Lanka 2021

England’s camp was hit by COVID so an entire new squad, captained by Ben Stokes, was picked for the Pakistan series. No Alex Hales picked.

Apart from the Hundred in July, England & Sri Lanka have lots of game time for the two T20 World Cups.

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Copyright: @Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 7/10/2021. Email at bcd@brokencricketdreams.com to get in touch with us.

India Vs England 2021 Test Series Review: Sharmas, Spinners Overshadowed By Umpiring, Pitch, and Rotation Policy

India Vs England 2021 Test Series Review.

We billed this series as the “Final Before the (WTC) Final” and after overseas victories for both India (vs Australia) and England (Vs Sri Lanka), the series had hype for the right reasons.

Instead this series will be remembered for exactly the wrong reasons—Discussions about the pitches in Chennai & Pink Ball Test, rotation policy & England’s treatment of Moeen Ali, and hasty umpiring decisions (along with Kohli’s priceless reactions).

There were some good days for cricket as well with Ishant Sharma’s 100 Tests & 300 wickets, Joe Root’s 218, Anderson’s dream over, Foakes’ & Pant’s wicket-keeping, R Ashwin’s 100 & 9-fer, Ashwin’s 32 & Axar’s 27 wickets, Sundar’s 85* & 96*, Rohit Sharma’s masterclass, and Pant’s reverse sweep (to Anderson) in a brilliant 100.

Read till the end for my picks for the best moments, emerging players, controversies, and much more! COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Results – England Vs India

The reason why I did not enjoy this series as much was due to the lack of competitiveness. 227 runs, 317 runs, 10 wickets, and an innings victory was in complete contrast to the edge-of-the-seat stuff (last session draws/chases) in the Australia series.

Test Series: India Win 3 – 1

* Player of Match

  1. England Won by 227 Runs *Joe Root
  2. India Won by 317 runs *Ravichandran Ashwin
  3. India Won by 10 wickets *Axar Patel
  4. India Won by An Innings and 25 runs *Rishabh Pant
Player of SeriesEnglandIndia
Ravichandran Ashwin – 189 runs (best of 106, average 31.50, 1 – 100)
Most RunsJoe Root – 368 runs
(best of 218, average 46.00, 100s/50s – 1/0)
Rohit Sharma – 345 runs
(best of 161, average 57.50, 100s/50s -1/1
Most WicketsJack Leach – 18 wickets
(best innings – 4/54, best match – 6/178, 28.72 average, strike rate 53.6)
R Ashwin – 32 wickets
(best innings – 6/61, best match – 9/207, 14.71 average, 35.2 SR, 3 5-fers
India Vs England 2021 Test Series Stats

The Highlights

England

1. We Miss The Non-Converting Joe Root

At the beginning of 2021, Joe Root’s stats read 17-100s, 49-50s. After the Sri Lanka & India tours, his stats read 20-100s, 49-50s. His last 6 Test matches show:

  • 228 & 1 (run-out), 186 & 11, 218 & 40
  • 6 & 33, 17 & 19, 5 & 30

Notice something? He converted 3 daddy hundreds, and then followed it up with 3 middling Test matches (mainly due to the intelligent bowling of Axar and Siraj). Now, we should not be too harsh on Root. The law of averages surely catches up, he had additional stress of captaincy, and he even bowled his heart out including a 5/8.

Still, the Joe Root who scored consistent 60s & 70s might have been more than handy on this low scoring tour. The 50th 50 would be cherry on top of his personally successful season.

2. Batting Wins Matches

Catches win matches? Sure. Need to take 20 wickets to secure a Test victory? Maybe.

How about batting with scores of 178, 134 & 164, 112 & 81, and 205 & 135? Definitely Not. This is called batting yourself out of a Test series. Let us dig a bit deeper:

  • Pope 153 runs at 19.12 (best of 34), Sibley 134 at 16.75 (best of 87) – 4 Tests each
  • Burns 58 runs at 14.50 (best of 33), Bairstow 28 at 7.00 (best of 7, 3 ducks), Crawley 67 at 16.75 (best of 53) – 2 Tests each

For international level cricket, if your Top 5 comprises of these players, barely-in-form Root-Stokes, and Buttler/Foakes, then this is just not going to cut it.

Maybe a certain Joe Denly might have been able to weather the storm better. If not the centuries, at least the Denturies would have come.

3. Anderson, Foakes & Lawrence The Bright Stars

Let us take out the stats for the moment, and look at the bright side.

Winning a Test match is not easy. Winning away even harder. Hence, the 227 run victory in Chennai should be regarded as a huge accomplishment, regardless of the 3-1 margin. (The issue was not the score line. Rather, it was the way they lost the final 3 Test matches).

Jimmy Anderson’s 6/40 in Galle & 3/17 in Chennai should rest the ‘Clouderson’ and ‘poor away record’ claims. That 3/17 included one of the best overs of reverse swing you will ever see. A well set Shubman Gill was bowled through the gate, Rahane survived an umpires call appeal, and then carbon copy bowled. Does not get any better than that.

On the turning pitches, Ben Foakes’ keeping was absolutely magnificent. His split-second stumping of Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test were quite something. (His batting showed signs of defiance, but could not reach his heights of his debut). Finally with 73 on debut and 46 & 50 in the final Test, Dan Lawrence showed some signs of steel.

Finally Channel 4 coverage was a win-win situation for the fans.

India

1. Axar Patel Invokes His Inner Embuldeniya, R Ashwin – The Man of the Hour

Just like Embuldeniya troubled England prior to this tour, Axar was the concern this time around. Straighter one, bounce, turn, guile, he had it all.

The best part is that Axar was not even supposed to play this series if not for Jadeja’s injury. 27 wickets at 10.59 with 4 5-wicket hauls & 1-10 wicket haul (best inning – 6/38, best match 11/70). Even got the opportunity to take a five-wicket haul at his home with some crowd. Stuff of dreams.

R Ashwin has got to be the most intelligent player in international cricket. He has a YouTube channel, reads books in his free time, is an engineer, can mess with the batsmen due to the Mankad-threat, talks to the media about a ‘bad pitch’, walks the talk with a 106 on the Chennai turner, and bamboozles the batsmen with skillful bowling.

The dismissals of Ollie Pope (carrom ball, beats the bat, bowled) in the final Test have to be my moments of this series.

2. The Sharmas Come To The Party

Wonderful achievement by Ishant Sharma for his 100th Test & 300 wickets. Just rewards for a brilliant journey over the last decade. Although this series was spin-dominated, Ishant Sharma 4.0 still has several years to offer to Indian cricket.

Rohit Sharma went very much under the radar this time, but India’s series victory was in jeopardy without his contributions. 161 on a tricky pitch was the turning moment of the series, and he followed it up with patient 26, 66 & 25*, and 49. In these low scoring matches, runs on the board provided the cushion for the spinners to dominate.

3. India’s Big 3 Just Not Good Enough, Depth Covers the Spots

Just like many other well-wishers, I had predicted Virat Kohli to come back in this series with a tough 50 at the start and a a double century by the end. The tough 72 in the 2nd innings at Chennai definitely came, but nowhere near the elusive 71st international century. Here are the stats:

  • Virat Kohli: 172 runs at 28.66 (best of 72, 2-50s, 2 ducks)
  • Ajinkya Rahane: 112 runs at 18.66 (best of 67, 1-50, 1 duck)
  • Cheteshwar Pujara: 133 runs at 22.16 (best of 73, 1-50, 1 duck)

I do not remember so many ducks by these 3. Nor do I remember a series where none fired.

Apart from Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, & R Ashwin all outscored the middle order stalwarts. Since India emerged victorious, the cracks are temporarily filled, but questions should be asked.

After that Melbourne innings, Rahane has not done enough. Pujara is doing fine and crucial to India’s line up, but is not converting to daddy hundreds at the moment.

Given India’s depth, is it time to breed in the next generation? Is it time to rotate home/away batsmen as India rotates fast bowlers/ spinners?

Also Read:

Controversies

Umpires

The umpiring decisions in the 2nd & 3rd Tests caught the attention of the public. It was not necessarily the decisions made, but the manner in which they were decided (Ben Stokes’ catch – on field out, but turned over quickly). A standard procedure & muting the umpires’ conversation may be the way to go forward here.

Pitch

By the end of the series, it was easily recognized that England’s lack of batting application led to their downfall, not the state of the pitches. However, 2-day & 3-day matches do not anybody a favor, either. The pink ball Test is supposed to get more public to watch the game, but most of these matches are ending in 3 or 4 days, which is counterintuitive. The first Test may have been the most balanced pitch, even though it was slow & attritional for the first day and a half.

Rotation Policy

Finally, the rotation policy. England’s rotation policy has possibly extended the careers of Broad & Anderson, given a chance to youngsters fighting for a national spot, and is important in the coronavirus era due to mental health. Rotation is not necessarily a bad thing, but how it was implemented in this series was dodgy.

Archer, Burns, & Stokes were rested for the series in Sri Lanka, while the rest of the squad stayed. However, Buttler left after one Test, Moeen Ali finally playing a Test only to go back home (due to miscommunication), Bairstow played the last two, Woakes left without playing, so on and so forth.

I cannot imagine how much the constant traveling & jet lag, inconsistency in selection & unsettled line-ups, and not having enough practice games might have impacted their minds. I can understand rotation between series, but during a series is a bit much.

And if this rotation was for the preparation for upcoming T20 World Cup & IPL, losing out to the WTC Final spot at home should seriously be questioned.

Awards

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:

India made Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel (greatest understudy of all time), and Washington Sundar into world class all-rounders. England took a world class all-rounder in Moeen Ali and practically destroyed a budding career.

IndiaEngland
Emerging PlayerAxar Patel Dan Lawrence, Rotation Policy
Surprise PackageLower Middle OrderDom Bess’s Full Tosses; Joe Root’s 5-fer
Broken Cricket DreamShardul Thakur – Did not get a game after a 92 & 4-fer at Gabba
Dreams Broken For Fans Wanting Ashwin to become the 4th player to do the double of 100 + 10-fer
Stuart Broad’s Asian Dream, Jonny Bairstow’s Test Career, Moeen Ali
India Vs England 2021 Test Series Awards

Where Do They Go From Here?

A 5 match T20I series & 3-match ODI series to follow, preparing for the upcoming T20I World Cup in India. Then, we will have the IPL, England will play a couple of test matches against the New Zealand at home, and finally India Vs New Zealand for the WTC final.

After England’s victory at Chennai, I declared that this English team could rival the 2010-2012 team due to the good mix of youth, experience, & abroad victories. I guess that was a bit premature.

Was this India Vs England 2021 Test series the ‘greatest story of all time’ like the India Vs Australia? Nope.

Was it as controversial as the South Africa Vs Australia scandalous ball tampering series? Not really.

At best, this was just a Meh kind of series. Had its moments, but did not capture the imagination of the next generation. Sums it up for the World Test Championship.

What did you think of the India Vs England 2021 Test Series? Let us know!

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Copyright (2021: 3/11/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Axar Patel – Anand Anil, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Root Vs Lasith Embuldeniya 2020 Series Review: Oops, I Meant England Vs Sri Lanka

Joe Root Vs Lasith Embuldeniya. That’s it, that’s the end of the series review….

Just Kidding, but boy it felt like Root vs Embuldeniya, didn’t it? At one point in the 2nd Test, Embuldeniya was hitting sixes and the golden arm of Joe Root was called upon to take his wicket and clean up the tail.

Yet, this short two-Test series had several other actors and memorable moments. The 2-0 score line may not have been close, but the contest was enthralling, nevertheless.

Broad’s initial burst, Bess’s uncanny wicket taking ability, Dan Lawrence’s dazzling debut, Niroshan Dickwella’s high-five face slap, Leach and Embuldeniya’s brilliance, Sibley and Thirimanne’s revival, Dickwella’s sledging, Bairstow and Buttler’s solidity, Mathews and Root’s centuries, Dickwella’s 92, and of course, Jimmy Anderson being well…Jimmy Anderson (in Asia).

Read till the end for my picks for the best moments, emerging players, lookout for the India Vs England series, and much more! COMMENT BELOW ON YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS.

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: England Vs Sri Lanka Preview, SA Vs SL Review, South Africans Who Played For Other Countries

Results – England Vs Sri Lanka

Test Series: England Win 2 – 0

* Player of Match

  1. England won by 7 wickets *Joe Root
  2. England won by 6 wickets *Joe Root
Player of SeriesEngland
Joe Root
2-100s, best of 228
Sri Lanka
Most RunsJoe Root – 426 runs (4 innings)Angelo Mathews – 213 runs (4 innings)
Most WicketsDom Bess – 12 wickets (4 innings)Lasith Embuldeniya – 15 wickets (4 innings)
Test Series Stats

The Highlights

England

1. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler: Critics Go Out The Window

Joe Root just does not like scoring 100s. Either 50s or daddy hundreds.

Do you all remember a few weeks ago in the India Vs Australia series, the commentators were discussing about the Big 3? That seems ages ago. In the preview article, I argued that

“Root is still a stellar player with an amazing record. The fact that England do not seem to need him as much as the other countries is a reflection of the strength of this English team, not the fall of a rising career. I hope he answers his critics with the bat.

186, 228, 2/0, and 7 catches later, Joe Root has answered his critics in some style. He has gone from being criticized for his poor conversion-rate to becoming England’s #4 all time tally, surpassing Boycott, Pietersen, and Gower on the way (Suddenly, predictions of catching Tendulkar’s Test runs have opened since he is only 30).

2. The Rest of the Batting

  • Crawley had a horrid tour with the bat (4 innings, 35 runs at 8.75), Sibley with 62 runs in his 4 (including a 56* in his last innings), and Sam Curran at 7 a spot too high (2 innings, 13 runs at 6.5).
  • Bairstow (4 innings, 139 at 46.33) and Buttler (3 innings, 131 at 65.5) fared much better, while Dan Lawrence had little to show after his sparkling 73 on debut.

Bairstow at 3 again? Yes he is a good player of spin, but does he warrant a position in the squad? Several questions were asked pre-series.

With the struggles of Crawley and Sibley, Bairstow did a good repair job with 47 (93), 35* (65), 28 (73), 29 (28). A makeshift English #3 batsmen on foreign soil, successfully denting the new ball without converting it…Where I have I heard this before? Bairstow’s tour was so…Denly-esque.

3. Youth & Senior Pros Combine to Bamboozle Sri Lanka

  • Stuart Broad (3/34 at 11.33) & James Anderson (6/46 at 7.66): No Sign of Aging
  • Dom Bess (12/255 at 21.25) & Jack Leach (10/355 at 35.5): Here To Stay?

Stuart Broad’s resurgence in the past year or so has been heartening, and Anderson’s fitness just becomes better with age. Anderson’s home swing advantage has always clouded his greatness and longevity, but his 6/40 at Galle in the 2nd Test was as good as any.

Dom Bess himself admitted his bowling may not have deserved a 5-fer in the 1st Test. Maybe once or twice, you can call it a fluke but 5/30, 3/100, 4/49 along with a handy 32 with the bat shows he is willing to learn & improve his skills. Jack Leach’s numbers probably do not reflect his 110.5 overs worth of effort, but both of them are here to stay.

It is pretty clear that England are going to rotate Broad/Anderson, pick Mark Wood (tad unlucky this time around) for pace, and play both spinners for the upcoming India series (given Moeen Ali does not come back for Sam Curran).

Sri Lanka

1. Thirimanne & Angelo Matthews

Lahiru Thirimanne was our contender for the Broken Dream in our preview. Just look at his stats:

  • Average of 22.68 after 36 Tests, 1 century after a decade on the international scene

He came back with a solid 111 and 43 in this series, and has ‘extended’ his place in the side. Will take a few more consistent performances to cement his place. I was also looking forward to a Chandimal-Thirimanne-Mathews solid middle order foundation. Chandimal had a Bairstow-like with a 52 and a couple of 20s, while Mathews was Sri Lanka’s most run-getter including a hard-fought 71 and 110.

  • 88 Tests, 6194 runs at 45.54, with 11 100s, best of 200* Mathews is slowly approaching Sri Lanka’s Legend Status.

2. Inconsistency Kills The Cat

  • Mathews – 213, Thirimanne 171, Dickwella 140, Chandimal 109, Kusal Perera 102
  • (SL Vs SA): 396 & 180, 157 & 211, (SL vs Eng): 381 & 126, 135 & 359

Notice a pattern yet? For England, Root scored a mammoth 426 with Bairstow-Buttler scoring 139 & 131 runs respectively. Sri Lanka had 5 scorers over 100 & Mathews/Thirimanne did convert, but there were just not enough match winning partnerships. Partnerships are the key to success. As we can see from the beginning of the South Africa tour, Sri Lanka have scored 350+ 3/8 times, but they have also collapsed 4/8 times.

Sri Lanka were not bad, but inconsistency in the other innings killed any chance they had.

Here is Kumar Sangakkara’s reflection of Sri Lanka’s batting meltdowns.

3. Embuldeniya

  • 4 innings, 119 overs, 15/415 at 27.66, best of 7/37, 1 5-fer, 1 10-fer

The reason why batting inconsistency hurt more this time around is because with Lasith Embuldeniya, Sri Lanka actually believed they could win.

In the first match, chasing a mere 74, England were down 14/3. Embuldeniya made it look like a landmine, but just there were just not enough runs on the board. He bowled tireless spells, opened the bowling, and even hit an aggressive 40 (37) in the 2nd Test to take the score from 78-8 to 126.

The name, the action, the wicket taking ability – have Sri Lanka finally found someone to carry the legacy of Muralitharan and Rangana Herath? Only time will tell.

Also Read: Charisma of Sam Curran, Lasith Malinga: The Slinga, Slayer, & Superstar

Marks Out of 10: The Mendis Factor

(Not really. Let’s have some fun!)

  • 4 – Ducks in a Row for Kusal Mendis (including SA series). His replacement, Ramesh Mendis, carried on the tradition and opened his account with a duck as well.
  • 6 – Wins In a row for England in Sri Lanka. Huge accomplishment – Kudos! It is never easy to tour Sri Lanka at home and consistent results bode well. Oh yes. And England won without the likes of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, and opener Rory Burns.
  • 8 – Short of a maiden hundred for Niroshan Dickwella. So close, yet so far.
  • 13 – Wickets Away from Anil Kumble’s 619 for the 3rd highest wicket-taker EVER for Jimmy Anderson. GOAT.

We like to spice things up with our own awards for the series. Here they are:

Sri LankaEngland
Emerging PlayerLasith EmbuldeniyaJoe Root’s Super Conversion Rate & Dan Lawrence
Surprise PackageEmbuldeniya (Batting/Bowling/Everything) & Dickwella’s sledgingDom Bess’s 5-for & wicket-taking ability
Broken Cricket DreamKusal Mendis Zak Crawley

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Where Do They Go From Here?

Sri Lanka’s 2021 outlook looks filled. They will complete some of the WTC matches that were cancelled in 2020. They will host/tour Bangladesh, go to West Indies, & host Ireland for a Test match as well. Second part of the year will be focused on the T20I World Cup.

Busy Year for England this. 17 Test Matches on the cards (Maybe more if they qualify for World Test Championship Final). Next Up – India. 4 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20Is from February 4th to March 27th (Add IPL, the Hundred, & World T20 World Cup in the mix as well). The series is key to the WTC finals. England currently at 4th but slowly inching up (Just 3% separates #4 England from #1 India).

Several questions on England vs India TV rights and squad selections as well. Bairstow, Curran, Wood rested for the first couple of Test matches, while Buttler flies home after the 1st one.

With India surprising expectations in Australia, will we see a similar triumph for England against favorites India?

Where do Sri Lankan cricket go from here? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Copyright (2021: 1/13/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Image Courtesy: Jimmy AndersonNAPARAZZI, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

42 South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries: Can You Guess Them All?

South African born cricketers have had a good time recently. Marnus Labuschagne just scored a Test century at the Gabba, Neil Wagner picked up key wickets with a broken toe, and the Glenn Phillips-Devon Conway have been on fire for New Zealand.

Brydon Carse just debuted against Pakistan in England’s new-look second string team (originally born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa but has English ancestry).

That got me thinking – can we make a current World XI out of South African players that play internationally for other countries? And how many such players are there?

In total there have been 42 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 21 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 6 for Netherlands (5 current, 1 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 7 from other nations (Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)

Table of Contents

  1. Today’s Twist
  2. The Catch
  3. Current South African Emigrant World XI
    1. 1. Keaton Jennings (England)
    2. 2. Jason Roy (England)
    3. 3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)
    4. 4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
    5. 5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)
    6. 6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)
    7. 7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)
    8. 8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK
    9. 9. Tom Curran (England)
    10. 10. Michael Neser (Australia)
    11. 11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)
    12. 12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)
  4. All Time South African Emigrant World XI
  5. A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course
  6. Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: For other South African cricket articles, check out the following:

Today’s Twist

Build Two World XIs: (1) A current World XI and (2) World XI composed of former players who were born in South Africa but played internationally for another country.

*Note: This does not include Kolpak players or Johan Botha (who moved to Australia permanently and became an Australia citizen, but never represented them internationally. Now plays domestic cricket and BBL)

*Note, Dawid Malan was born in England and grew up in South Africa, so he is not included in the lists below.

The Catch

The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper. While there are several players in the current circuit who can bat, can you find at least four others who can accompany Neil Wagner?

Current South African Emigrant World XI – South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries

1. Keaton Jennings (England)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Durham (Eng), South Africa U-19, England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: English citizenship through mother, Age When Left SA: 20
  • Where Are They Now: 17 Tests as English opener so far (last in Feb 2019)
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2. Jason Roy (England)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Moved with family to England, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: World Cup Winner as an England opener. 5 Tests, 96 ODIs.
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3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand U-19s
  • Why Did They Move: Moved to NZ at an early age
  • Where Are They Now: Has played over 100 matches for the Kiwis. Currently out of favor and employs his trade in T20 leagues around the world.
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4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

  • Born: Klerksdorp, North West Province, Teams: Queensland (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Father got job in mining industry, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: Scoring centuries, chirping at forward short leg, screaming ‘No Run’, and taking the world by storm. #4 in ICC Test Rankings currently. Oh and by the way, this is how you currently pronounce his name (funny video).
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5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Lions (SA), Wellington (NZ), New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not making an impact in first class cricket in South Africa. Wanted to start afresh so he sold his property & car in South Africa with encouragement from friends who took similar path, Michael Nofal & Michael Rippon, Age When Left SA: 26
  • Where Are They Now: Wonderful story this. Three years after leaving South Africa, Conway debuts for New Zealand after dominating first class cricket. 14 T20Is later, 4-50s, best of 99*, 75.00 average in ODIs (1-100), and a magnificent Test double century on debut at Lord’s.
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6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)

  • Born: East London, Eastern Cape, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand
  • Age When Left SA: 5
  • Where Are They Now: Partner in crime with Conway. Just scored a 108 against the West Indies in a T20I. Here to stay in their T20I squad. Coincidently, replacement for Colin Munro.
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7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA) U-13s,U-15s, U-17s, South Africa U-19s, Ireland A, Ireland
  • Why Did They Move: Qualified to play for Ireland through grandmother – Mentioned to Niall O’ Brien that he held an Irish passport and was fast-tracked.
  • Where Are They Now: Meteoric rise for Curtis. Eye catching 59* on debut, starred in the famous chase against England (2019) and now has a full-time contract.
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8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK

*has since retired after the victorious World Test Championship campaign.

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Northern District (NZ), New Zealand U-19s, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to New Zealand, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: One of the cogs of New Zealand’s test line up in their rise to No.1. Ever dependable, under-rated, and starred in several back-to-the-wall gritty knocks.
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9. Tom Curran (England)

  • Born: Cape Town, Teams: KwaZulu-Natal Under-19s (SA), Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Family/Schooling. Born in SA, moved to Zimbabwe (father’s origin), played in SA for some time, before moving to England
  • Where Are They Now: In-and-out of the competitive England limited overs squad. Quite effective at the death in T20Is. His brother Sam Curran, born in England, is also pretty good.
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10. Michael Neser (Australia)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Adelaide (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to Australia, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: In the reserves for the Australia seam attack. Currently in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy squad against India.
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11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Northerns (SA), Otago (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not getting enough opportunities due to the ‘quota system.Age When Left SA: 22
  • Where Are They Now: Part of the greatest NZ pace generation with Boult-Southee-Jamieson. Now a cult-hero of sorts. Bowls his heart on placid pitches, short ball stock (but can also swing it), Steve Smith-outer specialist, and even bowled recently with a broken toe. What a guy.
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12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)

*has since retired after the disastrous T20 World Cup.

  • Born: Port Elizabeth, Teams: Western Province (South Africa), Essex (England), Netherlands
  • Why Did They Move: Graham Gooch spotted him with a touring Essex team to South Africa; EU citizenship due to Netherlands descent
  • Where Are They Now: At an ODI average of 67.00 after 33 ODIs, his talent is unquestionable. He has travelled in T20 leagues around the world and is sought after as an allrounder. At 41 and having last played in 2019, his international career is coming towards an end. He has made the 2021 T20 World Cup squad nevertheless.

*Captain

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Squad:

  • 13. Roelof Van der Merwe (born – Johannesburg) – played for both South Africa and Netherlands
  • 14. Stephan Myburgh (born – Pretoria) – plays for Netherlands
  • 15. Colin Ackermann (born – George) – plays for Netherlands
  • 16. Michael Rippon (born – Cape Town) – plays for Netherlands
  • 17. Brandon Glover (born – Johannesburg) – plays for Netherlands
  • 18. David Wiese (born – Roodepoort) – played for both South Africa and now Namibia
  • 19. Ruben Trumpelmann (born – Durban) – plays for Namibia
  • 20. Brad Wheal (born – Durban), 21. Chris Greaves (born – Sandton, Johannesburg) – play for Scotland
  • 22. Brydon Carse (born – Port Elizabeth) – plays for England
  • 23. Rusty Theron (born – Potchefstroom) – plays for the United States of America (USA)
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Come to think of it, this is actually a decent T20 XI that could potentially play in a league somewhere around the world. Roy-Munro-Phillips are dangerous T20 players, while Labuschagne-Conway can steady the ship. Tom Curran and Neser lead the bowling line up along with Neil Wagner and all-rounder Campher. If dibbly dobbly Munro and leggie Marnus can chip in with a few overs as the 5th/6th bowler, this is a well-balanced team.

Before we move on to the All-Time South African XI, feel free to check out other World XIs with Twists – Unlucky Cricketers XI, Underrated cricketers XI, Best Fielders XI, etc.

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All Time South African Emigrant World XI

Here is a similar line up made up of retired international players. Several English players of the great 2011-2013 Test team as well as several who left South Africa during the apartheid suspension. The details are left as an exercise for the reader.

  1. Andrew Strauss* (England)
  2. Kepler Wessels (Australia 1982-92/South Africa 1992-94): First South African Test captain upon return from apartheid
  3. Craig Kieswetter (England)
  4. Jonathan Trott (England)
  5. Kevin Pietersen (England): Dream first series against South Africa (2004) – 5 innings, 454 runs, 3 centuries, Player of the Series. Started the series with boos and ended with standing ovations.
  6. Andy Flower (Zimbabwe)
  7. Grant Elliot (New Zealand): Famously Knocked South Africa out of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Superman.
  8. Matt Prior (England) – WK
  9. Basil D’Oliveira (England): England-South Africa Test series Trophy is named after him.
  10. Tony Greig (England)
  11. Jade Dernbach (England)

*Captain

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Squad: 12. Allan Lamb (England), 13. Stuart Meaker (England), 14. Ian Greig (England), 15. Michael Lumb (England), 16. Nick Compton (England), 17. Chris Smith (England), 18. Robin Smith (England), 19. Kruger van Wyk (New Zealand)

Jade Dernbach is the only out-and-out fast bowler, with Tony Greig, Basil D’Oliveira, & Grant Elliot as key all rounders. Part-timers Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott will be needed to complete the overs. Maybe fast bowler Stuart Meaker can replace a batsman for a more balanced line-up.

“Go try something new. Embrace change. Embrace others. Embrace diversity.”

If you like this, check out all the other articles in World XIs – With Twists section.

A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course

England famously won the 2019 World Cup with key contributions from opener Jason Roy, captain Eoin Morgan (Ireland), lead fast bowler Jofra Archer (Barbados), and player of the final Ben Stokes (New Zealand). Similarly, the 2018 FIFA World Cup was won by France, a team whose 23 member squad consisted of 15 members of African descent with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.

In either case, diversity won. Globalism and international travel have come to a halt in times of COVID & lockdowns. In these times, the stories of someone like a Devon Conway lightens the mood. Left everything, took a risk, worked hard, and fulfilled his dream.

Embrace change. Sometimes you have to leave from your birthplace in order to prosper, whether that is for education, work, or family. Go try something new.

Embrace others. Learning from others & learning about new cultures can only be a good thing.

Embrace Diversity.

If you like these philosophy bits, go check these two featured articles below.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020, Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

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If you like this material, check our other featured articles here!

Also Read: Best Fielders XI feat Jonty Rhodes, Faf and ABD: The Friendship, Agony, and World Cup Hopes

Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI

Fun exercise, wasn’t it? If you want to have more fun, you can create more variants.

Australia in 2017 fielded Usman Khawaja (Pakistan), Matt Renshaw (England), Steve O’Keefe (Malaysia), and Hilton Cartwright (Zimbabwe). Speaking of Zimbabwe, did you know New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme is born in Zimbabwe?

Here are some fun ideas to create World XIs with Twists:

  1. You can also make an unusual XI of cricketers born in non-Test playing countries.
    • For example, Moises Henriques (Aus) for born in Portugal, George Headley (WI) in Panama, Geraint Jones (Eng) from Papua New Guinea, (Pak) Shan Masood from Kuwait, (Pak) Imad Wasim from Wales, and many more!
  2. With the completion of Brexit, the Kolpak deal is all but over. Kyle Abbott is back with the Titans. Can you make a South Africa Exodus XI? Here are some ideas
    • Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Marchant de Lange, Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, Colin Ingram, Dane Piedt (USA)
  3. Imran Tahir is a Pakistan-born immigrant to play for South Africa. Can you make an All-Time South African immigrant XI? Or a Pakistan Emigrant XI?
    • Usman Khawaja, Imran Tahir, Owais Shah

Once you have an XI, comment below, and we will post it here! Any opinions about South African cricket?

Copyright – @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many South African born cricketers played for other countries?

In total there have been 40 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 19 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 11 from other nations (Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)Photo of Kevin Pietersen - one of the South African born cricketers who played for other countries

Which South African born cricketers have represented New Zealand?

South African born cricketers who have represented New Zealand include Grant Elliot, Neil Wagner, Devon Conway, & Glenn Phillips.

Which South African born cricketers have represented England?

South African born cricketers who have represented England include Jason Roy, Tom Curran, Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Basil D’Oliveira, Tony Greig, Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswitter, and several more!

Which South African born cricketers have represented Australia?

South African born cricketers who have represented Australia include Marnus Labuschagne, Kepler Wessels, & Michael Neser.