To revel when the chips are down in typical test match cricket on a crucial fourth day when the opposition is up with their tails is truly remarkable copybook stuff that saw the gung ho of Dhananjaya de Silva descend to Sri Lanka’s cause in a truly priceless three figure redeeming knock unbeaten on 153 off 259 balls as the hosts ended the day from a gloomy 73 for 3 to a match winning 328 for 8 to lead by 279 runs on an uncertain spin friendly fourth day track of the second test against the West Indies at the Galle International Stadium on Thursday.
Indeed Sri Lanka owed the day to the vice-captain, Dhananjaya de Silva for bailing the side out of a hot spot as the right-hander lived up to his growing reputation to deliver when the going is tough with a tremendous unbeaten innings of 153, his eighth Test century, on a crucial fourth day as wickets tumbled on the other side.
De Silva, who got out cheaply in the first essay, rose to the occasion having come in at the fall of Charith Asalankla’s wicket for 19 as he blossomed to full measure in sparring with a West Indian attack that had threatened to thrive on spin with which the Lankans had been undone in the first innings. His innings filled with 11 boundaries and 2 sixes was priceless given the fourth day climax Sri Lanka went into at 42 for 2 overnight having lost their top batsman skipper Dimuth Karunaratne cheaply. De Silva found an able ally in young Ramesh Mandis who chipped in with 25 off 58 with just the boundary in drying up the opposition bowlers as the par added 78 for the fourth wicket to swing things back Sri Lanka’s way. It was a game effort by Mendis in the wake of his all-round 6 for 70 in bowling out the West Indies for 253 the previous day. Dhananjaya de Silva went on to find No.9 Lasith Embuldeniya on a plucky 25 off 110 deliveries inclusive of a six, a tremendous asset to the team cause as the ninth wicket pair added an unfinished 107 runs in lifting the side from 221 to that high note of the readiness sheen to have a go at the West Indies on the fifth and final day for a 2-nil clean sweep.
Sri Lanka 204 (61.3 Overs) RR: 3.31
(Pathum Nissanka 73, Dimuth Karunaratne 42, Angelo Mathews 29, Suranga Lakmal 12, Charith Asalanka 10, Veerasammy Permaul 5/35, Jomel Warrican 4/50)
AND 46/2 O/N, 328/8 (119 Overs) RR: 2.75
(Dhananjaya de Silva n.o. 153, Pathum Nissanka 66, Ramesh Mendis 25, Lasith Embuldeniya n.o. 25, Charith Asalanka 19, Veerasammy Perumal 3/100, Roston Chase 2/82, Kraigg Brathwaite 1/11)
West Indies 253 (104.2 Overs) RR: 2.42
(Jermaine Blackwood 44, Kraigg Brathwaite 72, Kyle Mayers 36, Shai Hope 22, Veerasamy Perumal 15, Roston Chase 10, Nkrumah Bonner 35, , Ramesh Mendis 6/70, Praveen Jayawickrama 2/59, Lasith Embuldeniya 2/94)