Sri Lanka 271, Pakistan 57/0
Score did Dinesh Chandimal yesterday in a battle of the willow worth gold in runs against all that Pakistan’s bowlers threw at him. When he walked in to the gloomy picture of 4 for 78 and 5 for 80 soon after when Angelo Mathews fell, former captain Dinesh Chandimal did have a score to settle; and not in the best of situations as the demanding back to the wall scenario he fronted to bat Sri Lanka out of trouble. Considered not good enough one-day material for the world cup and left in the dumps from Test duty in the home series against South Africa that boiled over to breaking point to considering giving up playing cricket was the mess he rode through in the harsh bat-ball grind at Karachi to proving a point that though down he was not out in the mental equation that class was a cricketing virtue that could not be separated from him as he battled a rampant Pakistan pace-spin attack in carving a back to the wallmatch redeeming innings of 74. The day indeed belonged to the 30-year old Chandimal as he lifted Sri Lanka from disaster to the respectability of 271, a first innings lead of 80.
It was a truly Diitnesh Chandimal personified knock of class born of technical elegance as the 54 Test match veteran came to his own in a typical unspoken smirkof a kick back at his critics as his bat did the talking.
For a player whose cricketing career had not so long ago reached the brink of chucking up in disgust and going back home for the Ananda College prodigy who broke in to the national team on the sheer inherent talent of smashing bowlers around the park as an 18-year old like riding a strong England attack to a brilliant maiden century at The Oval, that heralded the Sri Lankan to big stage cricket, his batsman ship in Pakistani terrain on Friday bordered on nothing but of a of a warrior at war; not only against the hostile Pakistani attack, but against the vagaries that had threatened to strip him off his cricketing career.
In those terms, the 74 runs mounted off 143 balls laced with the 10 sweet boundaries significantly measured in terms of worth a century as he wore down the opposition with tremendous support, first from Dhananjaya de Silva who struck 32 off 56 balls with 2 boundaries and a 6 in a 67-run sixth wicket alliance followed by 37 runs for the seventh wicket with Niroshan Dickwella who made 21 off 35 with 3 boundaries. Chandimal carried on the repair job in a 51-run eighth wicket partnership with Dilruwan Perera who struck a game 48 bordering on a mixture of defence and aggression off 84 balls spanning 6 boundaries and a straight driven six.
Perera was ninth out having put together a productive 36 runs for the ninth wicket with Vishwa Fernando who was unbeaten on 5. Perera had rendered a great job that underlined the all-round depth the 37-year old is capable of mounting.
Pakistan had made 57 for no loss off 14 overs in the second innings reducing the first innings deficit to 23 runs.
Pakistan 1st Innings 191 All out and 57/0 (14 Overs)
(Abid Ali n.o. 32, Shan Masood n.o. 21)
Sri Lanka 271 All out (85.5 Overs) Run rate: 3.15
(L.D. Chandimal 74, M.D.K. Perera 48, D.M. de Silva 32, F.D.M. Karunaratne 25, N. Dickwella 21 , M.V.T. Fernando n.o. 5, Shaheen Shah Afridi 5/77, Mohammad Abbas 4/55)
By Srian Obeyesekere