HIGH FLYING START TO 1ST TEST SRI LANKA 340/6
Rising from a lowly 54 for 3 to a sky high 340 for 6 on two brilliant, but typically contrasting innings of an unbeaten 79 by Dhananjaya de Silva, who sadly from a Sri Lankan point of view had to be consigned to the injury sidelines of the pavilion when in full cry, and 85 by Dinesh Chandimal heightened the intensity from a troubled start to a thumbs up run cascading first day’s scripting for Dimuth Karunaratne’s charges in the first test against South Africa at the Centurion on Saturday.
If the stoic Dinesh Chandimal, who landed in Protea land in the rock solidness of new found form of the authoritative showcased in the domestic scenario, strode out at No.4 to solidly defusing his side from the pickle of the top trio of Dimuth Karunaratne gone for 12, Kusal Mendis for 12 and Kusal Janith Perera for 16 in that order off just 10.5 overs, that the blending leverage to it was Dhananjaya de Silva’s imperious 106-ball hammering of the South Africans was center piece.
In the significantly new strung empty devoid of spectator stands scenario, the central hyping electrification element to international cricket that has been torpedoed by the raging COVID-19 pandemic, that it had by no means negated the drama in the middle to millions of the game’s live telecast was amplified to good effect by the twosome’s batting exploits. While de Silva had succeeded in putting to the sword the Protea attack at short notice heightened by 11 boundaries and a six, Chandimal’s knock filled with an equal number of 11 boundaries was obdurately absorbing Test match stuff given the rescuing nature of his innings. It was the rock around which the ultimate 340 for the day revolved. For, he was the sheet anchor authoring the Sri Lankan 131-run fourth-wicket fight back that was to be dented by Dhananjaya de Silva’s thigh related injury retirement with the score reading 185 for 3.
His premature put out of action indeed was a damper to an innings that was in the full flow upswing to a century anointing day for the star batsman that also robbed the opening day’s proceedings of the culminating rich sparkle it held in store following the early sparks that let fly.
From that point, the advent of wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella swelled the total to 284 when Chandimal fell to a snorting delivery that hit the bat handle off Mulder to Faf du Plessis giving the bowler his second wicket. Dickwella fell one short of a deserving half century, his 86-ball 49 consuming 6 boundaries from where Dasun Shanaka unbeaten on 25 off 50 (2×4, 1×6) and Wanindu Hasaranga 18 off 20 (3×4) added 24 for the sixth wicket when the latter was bowled by Sipamla making it 320 for 6. But that was all South Africa would get with the 7-wicket pair of Shanaka and Kasun Rajitha 7 off 27 (1×4) adding a further 20.
It was a satisfying end to the opening day’s play for the Lankans in a continuation from where they ended in the 2019-’20 2-0 historic drubbing of the Proteas.
SRI LANKA 340/6 (85 Overs) RR: 4.00
(Dinesh Chandimal 85, Dhananjaya de Silva rtired hurt 79, Niroshan Dickwella 49, Dasun Shanaka n.o. 25, Dimuth Karunaratne 22, Kusal Janith Perera 16, Kusal Mendis 12, Wanindu Hasaranga 18, Kasun Rajitha n.o. 7, Wiaan Mulder 3/68).