In a continuation of his magical century form skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was on song again coming back strongly with a characteristic captain’s innings of an unbeaten 132 as Sri Lanka put the West Indies bowlers to the sword piling up an imposing 267 for three wickets on the opening day of the first Test at the Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Karunaratne struck 13 boundaries in his masterful display off 265 balls on the back of a century against the South Africans in Sri Lanka’s last home test series which took him to the 12th spot in the ICC batting rankings. Karunaratne, and the inform Pathum Nissanka, fresh from a good run at the ICC T20 World Cup, posted 139 for the first wicket off 49.1 overs. Nissanka made 56 off 140 deliveries striking 7 boundaries before falling to Shannon Gabriel who had him caught by Cornwall.
On an eventful day when Karunaratne was dropped on 14 and West Indies debutant Jeremy Solozano was felled by a full blooded stroke by the Lankan captain that hit his helmet grill, Sri Lanka made the visitors pay for poor fielding. Solozano was rushed on a stretcher to hospital and cleared of any structural damage to his head.
Sri Lanka suffered two early hiccups following Nissanka’s departure with next man in Oshada Fernando going for 3 caught by Bonnier off Roston Chase who then sent back former captain Angelo Mathewsalso for 3 reducing Sri Lanka to 170 for 3. But Sri Lanka’s Mr. Reliable Dhananjaya de Silva, who was a mere passenger in the recent world cup, came back strongly displaying his batting prowess carving a 95-ball 61 with 5 fours in associating in a 111-run fourth wicket partnership with Karunaratne in taking the score to 281 for 4 when he was hit-wicket. Dinesh Chandimal was unbeaten on 7. Shannon Gabriel 2/58, Roston Chase 2/46)
Sri Lanka 267/3 (88 Overs) RR: 2.96
(Dimuth Karunaratne n.o. 132, Dhananjaya de Silva 61, Pathum Nissanka 56, Dinesh Chandimal n.o. 7, Shannon Gabriel 2/58, Roston Chase 2/46)