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March 23, 2024
Ton up Dhananjaya and Kamindu put Sri Lanka in control –  Bangladesh 32/3 trails by 248 after Vishwa double strike and Rajitha one 

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

Skipper Dhananjaya de Silva and Kamindu Mendis struck centuries in rescuing Sri Lanka from the peril of 57 for 5 wickets to a score of 280 before the pace duo of Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha snared three Bangladesh wickets for 32 runs in a lending leverage to an otherwise under par total on an eventful opening day of the first test at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday. 

Put into bat, Sri Lanka was in deep trouble as the top order caved in next to no time when the sixth-wicket duo of Dhananjaya de Silva and Kamindu Mendis stroked their way to contrasting centuries in a record 202 stand, the second such 200-plus feat by a Lankan pair from a less than 60 score with the Lankan skipper having also had the distinction of having also featured in the first eight years ago. If Dhananjaya’s was a typical captain’s innings of valour when the going got tough as the adage goes in a waiting sparkle of flourish and caution mainly exploiting the pace and bounce of the Bangladeshi pacers, young Mendis’ was indeed one of free-flowing savagery having survived a first ball catch to a truly dream maiden three figure mark in only his second test appearance following a 2-year long wait in the wilderness despite scoring 61 on debut against Australia in July 2022. Getting the nod as a sudden replacement for an out of form Sadeera Samarawickrama, he went on to get to the magical mark ahead of his skipper and same school prodigy from Richmond College, Galle, who was ahead of him in his 90s to Mendis’ 70s.But it in no way was to impale the captain’s great feat that marked his first ton in leading from the front in the big boots in what was his 11th test ton tucked with 12 boundaries and a six off 131 balls in reaching 3,301 runs from 52 tests and 92 innings.

Indeed, the junior Mendis’ effort was one of braving all the odds having literally gone through the mill from the extreme of having to bat himself back to contention from that long hibernation. As he was to later speak of his innings, he put it down to nothing but hard work all the way to the ultimate dream comeback with a bang of 3 over the top and 11 boundaries in off 127 balls in piercing the covers and point regions. The early Lankan top order setback was reflected in Nishan Madushka 2, Kusal Mendis 16, Dimuth Karunaratne 17 Angelo Mathews 5 and Dinesh Chandimal 9 with the fourth highest score being 11 sundries.

But by and large, the Lankans ended the day on a high as Bangladesh were made to look down the barrel trailing by 248 runs with the day belonging as much to Vishwa Fernando’s new ball double strike in the space of 6 runs and 14 balls that included the prize wicket of Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto leg before for 9 as the hosts were reduced to 17 for 2 after 4.4 overs having dismissed Zakir Hasan in similar fashion also for 9. When Kasun Rajitha sent back Momnul Haque three overs later caught by Kamindu Mendis for 5 Bangladesh was in all sorts of trouble.

CHIEF SCORES:

Sri Lanka 280 (68 Overs) RR: 4.11

(Dhananjaya de Silva 102, Kamindu  the vMendis 102, Dimuth Karunaratne  17,un Rajitha Kusal Mendis 16,  Khaled Ahmed 3/72, Nahid Rana 3/87, Taijul Islam 1/31, Shoriful Islam 1/59)

Bangladesh 32/3 (10 Overs) RR: 3.20

(Mahmuduk Hasan Joy n.o. 9, Taijul Islam n.o. 0, Vishwa Fernando 2/9, Kasun Rajitha 1/20)

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