Dimuth Karunaratne made his ODI debut 18 months prior to his Test debut. Yet it was in Test cricket that he was prolific. His ODI appearances have been sporadic having last played in white ball cricket more than four years ago. It is his leadership skills that warranted him a place for the World Cup more than his batting.
Calm and assured, Karunaratne has a knack of getting the best out of his charges. Successful captains have trusted their instincts and this has stood the Sri Lankan skipper in good stead in his short stint so far. Forced to take over the Test team following the unceremonious sacking of Dinesh Chandimal after a series defeat in Australia, Karunaratne went onto achieve what no other Asian captain had ever achieved - win a Test series in South Africa.
He has been Sri Lanka’s most successful Test batsman since Kumar Sangakkara retired in 2015. His career-best 196 in the day-night Test against Pakistan in Dubai helped Sri Lanka win the series, ending Pakistan’s unbeaten run in the UAE that had stretched for seven years. But he missed out on a personal milestone by four runs, it has been his dream to score a Test double hundred.
A technically sound top-order batsman who drives well, Karunaratne’s talent was first spotted by Harsha De Silva, who has gone onto coach half a dozen current Sri Lankan cricketers at the school level. From the unfashionable Asoka Vidyalaya, Karunaratne earned a scholarship to the posh S. Joseph’s College in the heart of Colombo. He has not looked back since having gone onto represent Sri Lanka Under-19 where Angelo Mathews was his skipper.
Karunaratne broke into the senior side during Sri Lanka’s tour of England in 2011. He has set himself high standards and wants to score 30 Test hundreds before he retires.
Sri Lanka have been guilty of not utilizing their 50 overs in recent times. Karunaratne is expected to bat through the innings.