Striking a masterly unbeaten 131, Lahiru Thirimanne blossomed into full measure in a measured comeback trail from the wilderness over the past year as he and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who struck 118 in the wake of his 234 in the previous test, took the Bangladesh bowlers to the cleaners as Sri Lanka ran up 291 for 1 wicket on the opening day of the second Test match at the Pallekelle International Stadium on Thursday.
In a continuation of their domination over Bangladesh, the left-handed pair put on 209 for the first wicket in going past a 9-year long hoodoo of posting a 200-plus opening partnership siunce 2011 and the first in 21 years on home soil in a paced out attack on a hapless Bangladesh on an yet another docile pitch as in the first test.
If Thirimanne’s 14-strong boundary filled 253-ball innings proved to be the ultimate hurrah fulfillment in topping the Everest in a highly praiseworthy back to the run making industry in his second century this year and third in his career and fifth half century in his last six innings, for the 33-year old Karunaratne, his 190-ball knock containing 15 boundaries indeed capped the high of a sky is the limit run-making trail blazer in the wake of his epoch 234 in the first test. His ascending goliath streak of walking the walk with the bat took the Lankan captain to the three figure mark treasure trove anointing himself in his 12th century in passing 5000 test runs in an overall form blitz of a remarkably magnificent stellar saga since wearing the captaincy mantle few years ago. Indeed, it has insulated the former St. Joseph’s and SSC product in a truly fairytale gallop to prominence on a personal note of having emerged from just an ordinary player to today decorating himself also as the ODI torchbearer as ODI captain to boot.
Following Karunaratne’s wicket claimed by Shoriful Islam caught by Liton Das, Thirimanne went on to add a further 82 runs with Oshada in an unfinished second wicket alliance with the latter on a sedate 40 off 98 balls.
SRI LANKA 291/1 (90 Overs) RR: 3.23
(Lahiru Thirimanne n.o. 131, Dimuth Karunaratne 118, Oshada Fernando n.o. 40, Shoriful Islan 1/52)