Teams Played For
Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka A, Jaffna Kings, Derbyshire
Suranga Lakmal is a Sri Lankan professional cricketer who plays in all formats of the game. Lakmal is a right-arm fast bowler, who made his debut for Sri Lanka in 2009 against India. An interesting fact about Lakmal is that he is the first player to represent Sri Lanka from the Hambantota district.
Lakmal was first spotted by Sri Lanka’s fast bowling coaches who monitored his progress over the years. The coaches were impressed by his height and the ability to generate bounce and swing at a tender age.
Despite the fact that Lakmal was a raw talent, he had one big weakness, and that was the inability to ball longer spells. The coaches worked hard with him and his hard work paid off as the lanky fast bowler got his maiden ODI call up in December 2009.
The following year he made his Test debut against West Indies at Colombo and in the process became the 114th player to represent Sri Lanka at the Test level.
From 2010 till 2013, Lakmal struggled to cement his place in Sri Lanka’s ODI setup and was in and out of the national team. However, it wasn’t until 2014, that the world saw the real Suranga Lakmal.
By 2014, Suranga Lakmal became Sri Lanka’s strike bowler in all formats of the game. The crowning jewel of Lakmal’s career came in 2016 when the pacer bagged his maiden five-wicket haul against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. With this feat, Lakmal became the second Sri Lankan bowler after Chanaka Welagedra to take a fifer against South Africa in South Africa.
On December 10, 2017, in the first ODI against India, Lakmal used the swing and seaming conditions to his advantage as the pacer destroyed India’s top order with a scintillating spell of 4 wickets for 13 runs, which is his best bowling figures in ODI till date.
The following year Lakmal took his 100th Test scalp by dismissing Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal. He became the fourth Sri Lankan fast bowler to achieve the feat of 100 Test wickets after Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando.
In the same year, Lakmal was made Sri Lanka’s Test captain against West Indies, after Dinesh Chandimal was handed a one-match ban by the ICC over the ball-tampering issue.
In August 2018, he picked up his 100th ODI wicket, and in the process became the 10th Sri Lankan to achieve this feat.
Lakmal reminded people how good he can be with the new ball, as the pacer took 5 for 75 against Australia at the Gabba. However, his spell couldn’t prevail in the victory for the Aussies.
Lakmal was included in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, but he had a disappointing tournament, as he went wicketless in the three matches that he played in.
Post the 2019 World Cup, Lakmal has not featured for the Lankans in the ODI format and has been in and out of the Test team as well. He has been a brilliant servant to Sri Lankan cricket, and with injuries catching up to him, Lakmal’s chances of making a comeback in the national setup look thin day by day.
(As of February 2021)