He averaged 36 with the bowl and you need to take wickets in ODIs as well.
Interesting to note that Kaushal Lokuarachchi averages 22 with ball and 4.34, even if you take out minnows he still averages 25 odd and has an ER of 4.5ish. I think you'll find most spinners bowling in Sri Lanka have lowish ER, just that most never seem to be abe to take wickets regularly like Dharmasena.
I've always thought Lokourachchi was a decent prospect, too.
If you can go for 4.3-an-over IMO wickets can go to hell. Hence, I think Dharmasena was a good ODI bowler. If you don't, that's your choice, obviously.
Its about the balance of the attack really, Jayasuriya was always able to play the same role. So we really needed another wicket takers, more then someone who kept it tight. Our bowling attack these days is a lot more balanced then what it was back then. I rather Bandara any day of the week then Dharmasena. Bandara can win you a game and keep it fairly tight, whereas Dharmasena can only keep you in a game. He put too much pressure on Vaas and Murali to take wickets from the other end, cus he hardly took any. If you look at his whole career we played our best cricket as bowling team, back in 2001 when he actually taking wickets.
Vaas and Murali just tend to take wickets though. And unless I'm much mistaken, neither Bandara or Jayasuriya have tended to excel at keeping it tight - both have economy-rates in the high 4s.
A Sri Lankan attack with Vaas and someone else (ideally Zoysa) opening up for 14 or 16 overs or so, then spinners (say Dharmasena and Murali 10 each, and the rest a combination of Jayasuriya and whoever else was playing) bowling for the rest of the innings (Murali and Jayasuriya at the end) was IMO a very powerful one, especially on a slow pitch.
I mean, keeping the run-rate slow does tend to result in wickets more often than not. If Murali takes most of them - so what? I don't recall too many occasions where two bowlers (say Dharmasena and Murali) were bowling in tandem, both keeping the runs down, and the bowling team was under pressure to take wickets. Quite the opposite - the batting side is under pressure to increase the scoring, and such an attempt against Murali is very dangerous, so Murali is likely to get a wicket or 3.
IMO there was no better compliment to Murali in ODIs than Dharmasena.
You see, ER>>>>>>>>average IMO because you can restrict without taking wickets - the overs are limited.
Why has this thread only got 4 pages?? SL are easily the 3rd place team behind Australia and SA for mine.
Zoysa is one of the most limited bowlers ever to play ODIs. When on song his very handy, but when he any slight problems with line and lengh or no balls, he just leaedk runs. His only ever had two short periods in his career where he was an effective bowler. Really we need more consistant bowlers. Until he learns to be that type of bowler, he shouldn't be anywhere near the national team.
The Dharmasena and Murali combination was effective, but really anyone who bowled in tandem with Murali was seemingly effective. Chandana did a job, Jayasuriya done a job and even Vaas looks a lot better with Murali at the other. The think with Dharamasena unlike Bandara or even Chandana, he did pretty much nothing when Murali wasn't there.
I am not very confidant about Bandara's run restricting ability . He had a good VB series and another good series against England. Of these the VB series was an excellent series for him, but I don't give too much credit for the 5 match series against England. These were his good away series, whereas IIRC against India (in India) he gave away a fair amount of runs. Personally I would prefer Chandana in ODIs, because he is a very dependable lower order batsman as well as his ER.
He (Bandara) did (along with Murali) give away a lot of runs against the Kiwis in the practice match...
So I don't think he warrants an automatic selection into the best SL ODI Team, IMO.