By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka was poised for an innings triumph in the first ever Test match against minnows Ireland reeling on 117 for 7 undone by the wily spin of Prabath Jayasuriya who grabbed 5 for 42 after the hosts had declared on a massive 591 for 6 with Dinesh Chandimal and Sadeera Samarawickrama plundering centuries on the second day at the Galle International Cricket Stadium today. The 31-year old left-armer Jayasuriya, playing in only his sixth test match, evoked memories of his routing of Australia by an innings in July 2022 at the same venue for best debut figures of 12 for 177 by a Lankan bowler, by tripping the Irish by the growing turn of the surface.
Jayasuriya, a product of Christ Church College, Matale and Lumbini, Colombo, made the most of the Galle track in making it is happy hunting ground as he bamboozled Ireland’s batsmen after pace bowler Vishwa Fernando had had clean bowled Murray Commins for a first ball duck and four balls later sent back Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie for 4 caught by Nishan Madushka that reduced the visitors to 2 for 4, with a delivery to go in the very first over.
Though Ireland recovered on a third-wicket partnership of 70 between opening batsman James McCollum 38 and Harry Tector 34, Jayasuriya took over from there removing Tector having him snapped up by Dhananjaya de Silva having faced 59 balls and hit 2 boundaries and a six and the score read 74 for 3 after 23.1 overs He went on to remove Curtis Compher for a second ball duck caught by Ramesh Mendis and bowled McCollum fourteen balls later in ending his resistance having faced 85 balls for his 38 hitting 5 boundaries. It was Jayasuriya all the way cleaning up Peter Moor for 14 caught behind by Sadeera Samarawickrama and trapping George Dockrell leg before wicket for 2 as Ireland rock bottomed to 108 for 7 after 39.3,overs with Lorcan Tucker remaining unbeaten on 21 off 49 crossing the boundary twice and Andrew McBrine on 5.
If Prabath Jayasuriya and Vishwa Fernando hogged the limelight with the ball, the first rays of the day was dominated by Dinesh Chandimal and Sadeera Samarawickrama who produced two contrasting unbeaten centuries. One of the old order in Chandimal, of the old guard in the mellow of his career at age 33 a composed nnings on his way to his 14th test century 102 in his 132nd appearance off 155 balls studded with 12 boundaries. Samarawickrama, on the other hand, of the young order aged 27 and making only his fifth test appearance following a 5-year wait for a recall grabbing the opportunity to notching his maiden test century in the aplomb of stirring stroke play exemplified by a 114-ball knock decked with 11 boundaries. The seventh wicket partnership was worth 183 runs.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 591/6 decl. (131 Overs) (Dimuth Karunaratne 179, Kusal Mendis 143, Sadeera Samarawickrama n.o. 104, Dinesh Chandimal n.o. 102, Prabath Jayasuriya 16, Dhananjaya de Silva 12, Curtis Compher 2/84, Mark Adair 1/95, George Dockrell 1/112, Ben White 1/119, Andrew McBride 1/162)
Ireland 117/7 (45 Overs) (James McCollum 35, Harry Tector 34, Lorcan Tucker n.o. 21, Peter Moor 14, Andrew McBrine n o. 5, Prabath Jayasuriya 5/42, Vishwa Fernando 2/22)