Dilruwan Perera announces retirement from international cricket



He played the last of his 43 Tests in January last year, against England

Dilruwan Perera, the Sri Lanka men’s offspinner, has announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, at the age of 39. Perera played the last of his 43 Tests in January last year, against England. He also played 13 ODIs, across 11 years, and three T20 internationals for Sri Lanka. According to an SLC release, Perera will continue to play domestic cricket.

In Tests, Perera took 161 wickets at an average of 35.9, and as a handy lower-order batter, hit eight fifties and averaged 18.88.

It is as Sri Lanka’s second spinner in Rangana Herath’s best years that Perera might be remembered, but perhaps this is somewhat uncharitable. He was largely deployed in favourable conditions, playing 35 of his Tests in Asia, but was nevertheless frequently effective in those conditions, particularly in the first three years of his Test career. He is in fact Sri Lanka’s quickest bowler to 50 Test wickets, achieving the feat in 11 Tests, even if his returns slowed somewhat since then.

Perera’s greatest moments came in home Tests. He took 10 wickets in the win against Australia in Galle, during the series in which Sri Lanka whitewashed that opposition. His other 10-for also came in Galle in another big victory, this time against South Africa in 2018. On turning pitches, he was almost a mirror-image of Herath, frequently imparting underspin on the ball to get it to slide on with the arm, though his offbreak could also cause trouble.
With the bat, he was bold rather than stubborn, often looking for legside boundaries, and using the sweep – both conventional and reverse – to good effect. His 95 on debut in Sharjah remains his top Test score. One of his most valuable innings also came in the UAE, when he hit 58 in Dubai in 2017, to help set up a big first-innings total in a day/night match against Pakistan. His second-innings five-wicket haul later sealed that game, and the series.

His bowling did not impress over the last two years, however, and he was eventually edged out of the Test XI by the likes of Lasith Embuldeniya, and more recently, Praveen Jayawickrama and Ramesh Mendis.

In limited-overs cricket, Perera had actually started as a batter, primarily, opening the innings in his first four games between 2007 and 2008, though without making much of an impact. He was decent with the ball when he returned to the ODI team after 2014, but his lack of agility in the field prompted selectors to look for younger options.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf


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