In a sad trysting so close, but yet so far act that fell short of a deserving magical maiden long eluding Test century, Niroshan Dickwella’s 92 off 144 was consigned to an agonising end having walked right into the James Anderson far outside the off stump full toss driving and mistiming off the toe to Jack Leach in the heavily stacked off side bait. It was a cruel part of cricket by which make no mistake the inherently gifted hard hitter would mature through to achieving the magical by and by if one were to read through his previous scores that have threatened and faltered, but held out the promise of succeeding. That on the day, he proved to be the team man who stood up and fired piercing the boundary on ten occasions, bringing up his half century, a power packed shot off Dom Bess that left the fielders standing where they were, in lifting Sri Lanka from 6 for 243 to 332 for 7 with Mathews (110) and new boy Ramesh Mendis gone for a duck inside of 3 overs is the yet commendable part of Dickwella’s contribution in a total of 381 on the second day of the second Test.
DICKWELLA CAN TAKE A CUE FROM ARAVINDA DE SILVA
That there was the resolve when he sparred with the England bowlers in the final session of the opening day and that he carried it to proportion to a 89-run run seventh wicket recovery with Dilruwan Perera is certainly the plus point of the sword edged knock, the false stroke that undid him when in sight of gold that is bound to make him the wiser, a harsh lesson to learn from to overcome the rush of blood about which the best man he could take a cue from is none other than that exponent Aravinda de Silva watching his video replays at his best.
As much, full marks to Dilruwan Perera for his late order 67 off 170 laced with an imperious down the wicket 6 off Dom Bess and 8 boundaries in conjuring the rescue act with Dickwella to taking Sri Lanka close to 400 on an eventful second day at the Galle Esplanade when James Anderson produced an impeccable bout of fast bowling in a 6 for 40 haul that offset England’s inapt spin bowling attack that went wicket less in 66 overs. Perera has proved to be quite a rear guard adversary with the bat and his half century underscored his all-round prowess to the team cause.
England’s spin negativity was pronouncedly exposed by Sri Lanka’s spin ace Lasith Embuldeniya’s 3-over burst of sending back both England openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley for 5 and a duck respectively as the visitors recovered from 2 for 5 in 7.1 overs to 98 for 2 off 30 with skipper Joe Root once again coming to the fore with an unbeaten 67 off 77 packed with 10 boundaries. Jonny Bairstow was on with a sedate 24 off 65 with just the 4 boundaries in their unfinished 93-run third-wicket partnership.
With England trailing by 283 with 8 wickets intact, it will be a testing third day on a spinning track which the tall and lanky Embuldeniya could exploit to the hilt given the much needed cushioning support from the other end.
SRI LANKA 229/4 O/N, 381 ALL OUT (139.3 Overs (RR): 2.73
(Angelo Mathews 110, Niroshan Dickwella 92, Dilruwan Perera 67, Dinesh Chandimal 52, Lahiru Thirimanne 43, James Anderson 6/40, Mark Wood 3/84)
ENGLAND 98/2 (30 Overs) RR: 3.26
(Joe Root n.o. 67, Jonny Bairstow n.o. 24, Lasith Embuldeniya 2/33)