Thisara Perera is fast becoming one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting all-rounders. Alongside his good friend Angelo Matthews, the 23 year old is producing the sort of cricket that could see Sri Lanka one day return to the top of the rankings.
Predominantly a limited overs specialist, Perera made his debut against India in 2009, where he smashed a brutal 31 off just 14 deliveries. The impressive performance in India earned him an IPL contract; even though he had very limited international experience.
His good form against India continued in 2010, when he earned his first career Man of the Match award with a superb five wicket haul. The 2010 season rolled on for the talented all-rounder, with Perera playing a starring role in his side’s triumphant tour of Australia. His batting sealed a historic win in the T20, while his all class skills went a long way in ensuring the side’s upset ODI win. His 5/46 at the MCG included the massive scalps of Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke and Cameron White.
Perera remained a main stay in the national side, and featured in their 2011 World Cup final loss to India. His Test debut came later that year in Cardiff against the English, but Perera didn’t have the same damaging impact as selectors had hoped for. The 2011 end of year tour to South Africa was a successful one, with the Sri Lankans winning their first match in the area. Perera had a solid series, scoring 81 runs and picking up five wickets.
His big hitting at the end of innings and his ability to catch batsmen off guard with his swing bowling saw him earn another IPL contract; this time with the Kochi Tuskers. 2012 has been an important year for Perera, with the all-rounder featuring in virtually all of Sri Lanka’s limited overs matches. The highlight of his young career came against Pakistan, where Perera took six wickets, including a hat-trick. It was a terrific spell of bowling that saw him become just the 4th Sri Lankan bowler to achieve the rare feat in an ODI.
Perera has warmed up for the Australian tour with a less than impressive campaign against New Zealand that failed to reach the dizzying heights of his efforts against Pakistan. Still, if he brings his 2010 form with him, Perera could be the man to break Australian hearts…again.