By Srian Obeyesekere
Forty three test wickets from six appearances just eight months and four days into the foray of top flight international cricket is the phenomenal achievement by Sri Lankan spinner Prabath Jayasuriya that has set him apart as the joint third best bowler in test cricket history to do so.
The left arm slow orthodox bowler reached the milestone by his 10-wicket match bag in bowling Sri Lanka to an innings and 280-run triumph over Ireland in the first test match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium last week. Indeed, it has been a wonder cricket journey from the ordinary to the super n a beckoning call to the game long past the prime of youth at age 31 that has plummeted him to an Everest. That the rewards have come in an assortment of records in that astounding is success story of a late bloomer who broke into the game more by chance than earmarked for the job is as much a part of that incredible. That was after two of the regulars in Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama had failed to deliver which prompted skipper Dimuth Karunaratne to turn to the relatively unknown product from Matale who though had caught his eye playing together with Jayasuriya on the domestic scenario.
What began as Sri Lanka’s first ever bowler to claim 12 wickets on debut and fourth best bowler in test cricket to do so when he bowled Sri Lanka to an innings and 39-run win over Australia in July, 2022 to level the 2-match series at the same venue, has but in not many moons repeated the 10-wicket feat against the Irish in the first ever Test match between the two countries. Jayasuriya has in doing so gone on to career best 19th in the ICC Test bowling rankings leaping 13 places in stamping his name as the country’s bogey man with the ball to foreign opposition.
Born Neketh Gedera Roshan Prabath Jayasuriya on November 5, 1991 in Matale, the thrust to success did not come to him on a platter. He has put down humble beginnings in an arduous cricketing career of braving the odds to survive from financial constraints to not having the ideal support but for his cricket coach Dinesh Weerasinghe in his native place were hardships he crossed on the way to making it to the city metropolis. A product of Christ Church College, Matale and Lumbini College, Jayasuriya has certainly arrived with a bang in that late flurry to his career.
For the left arm bowler, he drifting arm ball has proved to be his most effective wicket taking delivery in his gallop to stardom.