On a rain marred opening day of the second Test of the ICC Test Championship which permitted just 36.3 overs of play, Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne continued to hog the limelight carving an unbeaten 49 in a total of 85 for 2 wickets after the hosts took first lease on winning the toss at the P. Saravanamuththu International Cricket Stadium. The left hander, in a continuation from where he left in a century filled first test triumph that thrust him among the top ten of the ICC Test batsmen rankings, took away the Thursday morning gloom with some crisp stroke-play. He had faced exactly 100 deliveries and hit 6 sweetly timed boundaries. Back in the pavilion were Lahiru Thirimanne for 2 and Kusal Mendis for a brisk 32. Sri Lanka got off to a cautious new ball attack blunting start with Karunaratne and Thirimanne posting 29 for the first wicket off 14.4 overs after play commenced at 1.40 p.m.
Thirimanne’s stay consumed 35 balls as he proved to be the perfect foil for his captain to keep the scoreboard ticking. His obdurate innings ended when the left hander failed to bring his wrists down on a delivery from Somerville that looped low off his bat to the waiting hands of the close in off side fielder Kane Williamson.
The advent of Kusal Mendis saw the scoring pick up as the right hander relieved his captain of the pressure. Mendis seemed set for bigger things in a measured stride cutting, but was undone edging a delivery from Grandhomme to wicket-keeper Watling with the total on 79. He faced 70 balls hitting 4 boundaries. The second wicket-alliance consumed 17.3 overs as Angelo Mathews joined Karunaratne with the former content to play down 14 deliveries without getting off the mark as a further 6 runs were added off 4 overs when play was called off due to bad light. Sri Lanka included Dilruwan Perera in place of Akila Dananjaya from the side that played in the first test.
Sri Lanka 85/2 (36.3 Overs) Run Rate: 2.32
(F.D.M. Karunaratne 49 n.o., B.K.G. Mendis 32)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-