DateLine: 20th February 2007
He made just one run in his first six Test innings. But from this shocking start Marvan Atapattu has, brick by brick, built up an excellent record that has seen him average almost 40 with 16 hundreds. Most impressively he has got six double hundreds, more than anyone else save Don Bradman, Wally Hammond and Brian Lara. His batting is built around scientific principles, deep concentration, an insatiable appetite for runs and an iron will to succeed based on grit and determination. A batsman who has self-belief in abundance, Atapatu is a picture of elegance at the crease as he exhibits all the strokes – particularly pleasing is his cover drive - besides having a defensive technique that is second to none. He is one of the hardest batsmen to dismiss when set because he plays the percentage game admirably. In ODIs he has been one of the bulwarks of the Sri Lankan batting forming with Sanath Jayasuriya one of the best opening pairs in both forms of the game. Possessing a shrewd cricketing brain it was no surprise when Atapattu took over the captaincy of the one-day side in 2003 and the Test team a year later. Under his leadership Sri Lankan fortunes took an upward swing until an injury early in 2006 saw Jayawardene taking over the captaincy. But in the top post or as a player, Atapattu still has a lot to contribute to Sri Lankan cricket.
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