The game of cricket, which originated in England, was introduced to the island nation by the English colonies. Sri Lanka, since then, has produced countless cricketing legends on the pitch and won several tournaments, including the historic 1996 World Cup against Australia, the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, and the ICC T20 World Cup in 2014. The country is known for its reputation of producing world-class bowling talents with the ability to knock the most experienced batsmen off the ground. The spin-friendly pitches of Sri Lanka have helped introduce some of the most skilled spinners in international cricket.
The list below discusses the 8 most deadly spin bowlers of Sri Lanka and their records covered in cricket related news.
- MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN
Starting his international cricket journey in 1992 against Australia, Muralitharan is regarded as the best spinner in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. His ability to swing the ball on several pitches across different continents enabled him to destroy some of the best batting line-ups in his career. The former player’s performance was instrumental in the 1996 World Cup and the Oval in 1998. The right-arm spinner was proficient in his four bowling variations, the top spin, the off-spin, the doosra, and the flipper. Muralitharan, in his two-decade-long career, has played 133 test matches, 350 ODIs, and 12 T20 Internationals. He went on to become the highest wicket-taker in test and ODI history with 800 test wickets and 534 ODI wickets under his belt. His test match against South Africa in 2002 wherein he knocked off all eleven players of the opposite team is still one of his best test performances. Muralitharan also holds the record for the fastest bowler to take 500 wickets in ODI.
- SANATH JAYASURIYA
Sanath Jayasuriya came into the international cricket scene in 1989 and played his last ODI match for Sri Lanka at the Oval in 2011. The former all-rounder was known for his explosive batting and was unstoppable on the pitch even as a bowler. He was notorious for destroying batsmen in all phases of the game with his slow left-arm orthodox deliveries. Jayasuriya took 98 wickets in 110 test matches and 323 wickets in 445 ODIs. His best bowling figures are 5/34 and 6/29 in test cricket and One Day cricket respectively. The spinner’s best T20 performance was against New Zealand, wherein he took 3 wickets and gave a mere 21 runs in 4 overs.
- RANGANA HERATH
Another spin superstar of Sri Lanka is the former player Rangana Herath. He is best known for his left-arm orthodox bowling and his ability to deliver long spells with minimal runs. Herath started his international cricketing career in the 1999 test match against Australia with a bang, wherein he was unstoppable with his bowling attacks and took 4 wickets in his debut match. He has 433 wickets in 93 test matches and holds the record for the second-most player with the highest number of test wickets. He took 74 wickets in 67 ODIs and 18 wickets in 17 T20 Internationals. After the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana’s great swing and accuracy helped Sri Lanka with its bowling figures in international cricket.
- AJANTA WINSLOW MENDIS
Next on the list is the former right-arm spinner, Ajanta Mendis, the master of the legendary ‘carrom ball’. His ability to swing the ball with several variations enabled him to take wickets at any phase of the game. With a fantastic test debut against India in 2008, Mendis solidified his foot in the international cricket scene from his first test match. He took 70 test wickets and 152 ODI wickets in his career. He also has 66 wickets in 39 T20 matches, with the best bowling figure of 6/8 in a match against Zimbabwe. Mendis holds the record for the player with the fastest 50 wickets in both ODI and T20 International history.
- UPUL CHANDANA
Another Sri Lankan spinning wizard on the list is the former leg-spinner turned all-rounder Upul Chandana. In his test debut against Pakistan in 1999, Chandana took 6 wickets for his team, solidifying the faith of the masses in his spinning caliber. He claimed 37 wickets in 16 test matches, with the best bowling figure of 6/179 and 151 wickets in 147 ODIs. Chandana’s best ODI performance was in 2004 against South Africa, wherein he successfully knocked 4 wickets off the ground. He ended his international career in an ODI against Bangladesh in the year 2007.
- DILRUWAN PERERA
Dilruwan Perera played for Sri Lankan national cricket team from 2014 to 2021 and was an all-rounder with right-handed batting and right-arm off-break bowling. He made his test debut against Pakistan in 2014 and has knocked 161 wickets off in his test journey of 7 years. He also has 13 wickets in 13 ODIs and 3 wickets in 3 T20 Internationals under his belt. With his easy batting and aggressive spin bowling, Perera was one of the best all-rounders in Sri Lanka in the early 2010s.
- WANINDU HASARANGA
Wanindu Hasaranga, with his lower-middle order batting and leg-break spin bowling, is among the finest Sri Lankan all-rounders of this decade. His aggressive leg-brake deliveries are known to destroy the opponent batsman on many occasions. The 25-year-old player has 39 wickets in 37 ODIs, 4 wickets in 4 test matches, and 89 wickets in 55 T20 Internationals. Hasaranga started his domestic journey with the Under-19 cricket team of Sri Lanka and slowly paved his way to the international scene with consistent domestic performances. Hasaranga is the second-most player with the highest number of lbw wickets in T20 cricket and also among the top 10 players with the fastest 50 wickets in T20 history.
- MAHEESH THEEKSHEMA
Maheesh Theekshema is another emerging new-age mystery spinner in the headlines for his unpredictable mystery bowling. The 21-year-old spinner has wickets in 2 test matches, with the best bowling figure of 228, and 13 ODI wickets, with the best bowling figure of 4/37. He also has 32 wickets in 35 T20 matches under his name and is counted among the current spin sensations of Sri Lanka.