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Rangana Herath and Upul Tharanga eased Sri Lanka’s worries about leadership potential in their ranks by piloting the Islanders to a clean sweep of the Test and one-day triangular series in Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka embarked on this tour sans regular leaders Angelo Matthews, Dinesh Chandimal and their main strike bowlers Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera and Shaminda Eranga all out injured, but found enough depth to rout the Zimbabweans in the two-Test series before going on to win the one-day tri-series also featuring the West Indies.
Rangana Herath bowled with deadly accuracy to have Zimbabwean batsmen in a spin, weaving a web around them to almost single-handedly hand the Lankans another series win following their unprecedented 3-0 success against Australia at home earlier.
Herath, in his first and perhaps last series as Sri Lanka captain – he was standing in for the injured Angelo Mathews – celebrated a 2-0 series win with his seventh ten-wicket haul in Tests. His match figures of 13 for 152 took his series tally to 19 wickets.
Newcomers Dhananja De Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dilruwan Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kausal Silva and Kusal Mendis have clearly signalled a changing of the guard as Sri Lanka now seeks consistency from these emerging youngsters.
Another youngster with plenty of potential is Jeffrey Vandersay who was instrumental in the one-day final victory with three wickets.
The sudden form reversal by Sri Lanka augurs well for the future of this once feared team who have recently seen the departure of superstars Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
As a team in transition, Sri Lanka will soon find out where they are at when they travel to South Africa to take on the high-flying Proteas who are in great form at the moment after a convincing series win over Australia away from home.
With five consecutive Test wins under their belts, Sri Lanka will be under the pump to match it with the feisty South Africans who destroyed the Australians in their backyard and are currently aiming to reclaim their status as the number one Test team.