Teams Played For
Sri Lanka, Basnahira Cricket Dundee, Basnahira Greens, Sri Lanka A, Dambulla, Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI, Galle, Sri Lanka XI, Kandy
Dimuth Karunaratne has been a stalwart of Sri Lanka’s batting since his debut in 2011. The 32-year-old is a classy left-hand opening batsman who has set high standards when it comes to skills and temperament, especially in the Test format.
He made his domestic circuit debut for Sinhalese Sports Club in 2008, but the batsman had a quiet season, largely being slotted in the middle-order.
The following season he was promoted as an opener and since then he never looked back. He amassed 1186 runs in the season, at an average of 56.54.
After featuring in Sri Lanka’s U19 and A squads, Karunaratne was called into the ODI team for the series against England and Scotland in 2011.
One year later, Karunaratne was selected in Sri Lanka’s Test squad to play against New Zealand at home. His debut innings was a disaster as the left-hander was dismissed for a duck. However, he made up for it with a fluent half-century in the second innings and also scored the winning run.
Karunaratne had to wait two more years for his maiden Test ton, as the classy batsman scored a majestic 152 runs against the Kiwis on a green top. Sri Lanka, eventually lost that match, but Karunaratne cemented his place as the permanent opener for the Lankan lions.
Dimuth Karunaratne was part of Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, but during a practice match, he broke his right hand, and as a result was ruled out of the competition.
He scored his second Test century against a good Pakistani bowling line-up in Kandy, where he scored 133 runs and earned himself a reputation of scoring big against good bowling line-up.
2015 brought more joy for Karunaratne as the opener slammed 186 runs against the West Indies. Along with Dinesh Chandimal, who also scored a century, he recorded the highest partnership for the third wicket at Galle, by adding 238 runs.
His excellent run of form was halted in the home series against the Aussies in 2016. Karunaratne struggled against the quality Australian bowlers and could only score 41 runs in the three matches, at an average of nearly 7.00.
Karunaratne is also a part-time bowler for the Lankans, and he scalped his first Test wicket by dismissing Indian batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara.
In 2017, Sri Lanka played their first day-night Test against Pakistan in Dubai. In the same match, Karunaratne registered his highest Test score till date, when he slammed 196 and helped his team register a 68-run victory.
In the same calendar year, Karunaratne crossed 1000 Test runs at an average of 42.41. He became the second batsman to cross the 1000 run mark in the year 2017, after Dean Elgar. He was the seventh Sri Lankan to achieve the landmark of 1000 runs in a calendar year.
Karunaratne kept on piling new records as he became the third Sri Lankan after Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan to score a century in their 50th Test match.
2019 was a special year for Karunaratne as he became the 17th Test captain for Sri Lanka. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal was dropped from the squad due to poor form and as a result, Karunaratne was made the skipper.
He was also a part of Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, it was a disappointing World Cup campaign for Karunaratne as Sri Lanka finished the tournament at sixth position.
In the same year, Karunaratne scored a match-winning century against the Kiwis in the fourth innings of a Test match at Galle. Karunaratne, along with Thirimanne, shared an opening stand of 161 to lay the foundation of a famous victory.
In January 2021, Karunaratne scored his 10th Test ton on a green-top against the Proteas. Despite his heroics, Sri Lanka lost the match convincingly.
To sum up his career thus far, Karunaratne has been a great servant to Sri Lankan cricket. At the age of 32, he still has 2-3 years remaining on his hand, and he will be looking to nurture the youngsters, before he bids farewell to this game.
(As of March 2021)