A robust, right-arm fast bowler from Kandy, Lahiru Kumara had played only eight days of first-class cricket – all of which were for the Sri Lanka A team – before he was selected in the Test squad in October 2016. He was largely picked on his promise. One of the fastest bowlers in Sri Lanka’s system, Kumara possesses a sharp bouncer, and an ability to both swing and seam the ball – all allied to a bustling intensity.
He had played in the Under-19 World Cup in February, but it was on a u-19 tour of England that he put himself into contention for higher honours. He took a series-high 13 wickets at an average of 18.30 through the Youth Tests, and was especially effective at Northampton, where he claimed first-innings figures of 7 for 82, then a further 4 for 52 in the second innings to send England Under-19s to their first home defeat in six years.
Injury layoffs for Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhammika Prasad then opened up a spot for Kumara in the Test team. Though his initial performances in Zimbabwe were modest, Kumara became the second-youngest Sri Lanka bowler to claim a five-wicket haul at Newlands, in January 2017, taking 6 for 122 in the first innings.
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