Dhananjaya de Silva replaces Dimuth Karunaratne as Sri Lanka’s Test captain

Sri Lanka’s chief Selector Upul Tharanga has confirmed that Dhananjaya de Silva will replace Dimuth Karunaratne as their Test captain, and thus become the 18th player from his country to lead in Tests.
Karunaratne had held the post for 30 Tests, winning 12, losing 12 and drawing six games. Sri Lanka’s most notable wins under his leadership came in his first two matches in charge, as they secured a memorable Test series win in South Africa in early 2019, becoming the first Asian side to do so and just the third ever in history.

“Cricket Fans world over, as I finally hand over the reigns of the SL Test Captaincy [sic] after a decent and memorable stint, who better other than to you, Dhananjaya De Silva, an excellent all-round athlete in my books,” Karunaratne wrote on Facebook. “Dhana, I’ve watched you grow & develop in to a very matured and fantastic Cricketer [sic] over the years.. Smart, Ice cool and a very shrewd Cricket brain. I may add More so [sic] your own style you adapt, and also that very famous smile you always wear every time on & off the field! I am very Confident SL Test Cricket is in very safe hands and will be going forward thro your tenure as Skipper [sic]. I’ll be there to support you on and off the field rest assured. Cheers & Blessings Bro”

Karunaratne had taken over the reigns in 2019 during a tumultuous period in Sri Lankan cricket, and with him, brought a sense of stability and calm to the dressing room. While results were mixed for the national side, captaincy did coincide with Karunaratne’s best period as a batter. His average of 49.86 as captain would prove to be significantly higher than his career average of 40.93. During this period, he also reached the summit of the Test batting rankings, as he proved a reliable operator for Sri Lanka at the top.

His replacement Dhananjaya too has been a mainstay in the national side, with 51 Tests under his belt, during which he has ten centuries and 13 fifties to his name. His first assignment will be against Afghanistan in a one-off Test starting on February 6.

Dhananjaya is the third captaincy change for Sri Lanka in recent weeks, with Kusal Mendis and Wanindu Hasaranga being appointed to lead the ODI and T20I teams, respectively.

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