Dhananjaya de Silva and Tom Latham made centuries on Day 3 of the rain-hit 2nd ICC Test Championship game between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, to leave the game hanging in the balance, with 2 days to go.
De Silva came into bat with the team in a bit of strife on 93/4 but shepherded the tail expertly as he went from his overnight score of 32* to 109 in the space of just 86 deliveries on the third morning to help Sri Lanka finish with a competitive 244.
The first two days saw a total of just 66 overs bowled, during which New Zealand took the upper hand, reducing Sri Lanka to 144/6 at stumps on day 2.
New Zealand started off proceedings with the left arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who bowled too short and was punished by de Silva, who played a few exquisite cuts on either side of Colin de Grandhomme at short third man to reach his half century in next to no time.
Patel struck to remove Perera however, giving the Kiwis the opening into the Lankan tail. While Lakmal had been holding up one end against the hostile Tim Southee, de Silva continued at a brisk pace at the other, the highlight of his innings being the two perfectly timed hook shots for six off the bowling of Trent Boult. De Silva went from 50 to 109 in just 63 deliveries, finding the gaps and maneuvering the field excellently.
The only ‘heart in the mouth’ moment came when he failed to retain strike for the beginning of the 86th over of the innings and Lasith Embuldeniya was trapped right in front by Southee off the 1st ball. With de Silva at the other end on 94*, the onus was on last man Lahiru Kumara to survive the next 5 balls but the left hander did so with little fuss.
De Silva reached his 1st century since January 2018 with a boundary on the off side. Boult, who dropped him on 9 last afternoon, finally managed to get his man, bringing a close to Sri Lanka’s innings on 244.
New Zealand’s opening pair of Jeet Raval and Tom Latham survived a tricky 2-over spell before Lunch was taken on day 3, but Raval fell soon after the break, caught at slip off the bowling of Dilruwan Perera.
Kane Williamson, who had a disappointing outing at Galle, looked like he was well set for a big one before he guided one straight into the hands of Kusal Mendis at 2nd slip. Kumara was the man to pick up the big wicket for Sri Lanka as the visitors slumped to 34/2; the youngster generated some serious pace during his 1st spell, hurrying the batsmen on numerous occasions.
Niroshan Dickwella went off the field during the 16th over of the New Zealand innings after injuring his hand while fumbling a delivery from Kumara and did not return – the extent of the damage is yet to be confirmed.
Latham steadied the Kiwi innings on one end, putting on 50 & 42 alongside Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls respectively before being united with BJ Watling. The pair took New Zealand to 196/4 at stumps on day 3, just 48 runs behind Sri Lanka’s 1st innings total.
Latham’s ton was the 10th of his career and his 1st in Sri Lanka. The left-hander seems to have a soft spot for the Lions, having made 4 tons in 8 games against them.
Apart from a 20-minute interruption due to rain, the weather was just what the doctor ordered on day 3 and both teams will hope for more of the same on day 4 and 5 as they look to grab maximum points out of the encounter.
*If the match is drawn, both teams will earn 20 points each.
|Dimuth Karunaratne||c BJ Watling b Tim Southee||65||165||6||0||39.39|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||c Kane Williamson b William Somerville||2||35||0||0||5.71|
|Kusal Mendis||c BJ Watling b Colin de Grandhomme||32||70||4||0||45.71|
|Angelo Mathews||c BJ Watling b Trent Boult||2||29||0||0||6.90|
|Kusal Perera||lbw b Trent Boult||0||4||0||0||0.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||b Trent Boult||109||148||16||2||73.65|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c BJ Watling b Tim Southee||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|Dilruwan Perera||lbw b Ajaz Patel||13||54||1||0||24.07|
|Suranga Lakmal||c BJ Watling b Tim Southee||10||24||1||0||41.67|
|Lasith Embuldeniya||lbw b Tim Southee||0||2||0||0||0.00|
|Lahiru Kumara||not out||5||11||0||0||45.45|
|Extras||6 (b 1 , lb 2 , nb 3, w 0, pen 0)|
|Total||244/10 (90.2 Overs, RR: 2.7)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-29 (14.4) Lahiru Thirimanne, 2-79 (32.3) Kusal Mendis, 3-93 (41.1) Angelo Mathews, 4-93 (41.5) Kusal Perera, 5-130 (57.3) Dimuth Karunaratne, 6-130 (57.6) Niroshan Dickwella, 7-171 (74.5) Dilruwan Perera, 8-214 (83.5) Suranga Lakmal, 9-224 (85.1) Lasith Embuldeniya, 10-244 (90.2) Dhananjaya de Silva,|
|Colin de Grandhomme||17||3||35||1||2.06|
|Jeet Raval||c Dhananjaya de Silva b Dilruwan Perera||0||9||0||0||0.00|
|Tom Latham||lbw b Dilruwan Perera||154||251||15||0||61.35|
|Kane Williamson||c Kusal Mendis b Lahiru Kumara||20||28||2||0||71.43|
|Ross Taylor||c Dhananjaya de Silva b Lasith Embuldeniya||23||43||3||0||53.49|
|Henry Nicholls||c Dhananjaya de Silva b Dilruwan Perera||15||46||0||0||32.61|
|BJ Watling||not out||105||226||4||0||46.46|
|Colin de Grandhomme||c Lahiru Kumara b Lasith Embuldeniya||83||77||5||5||107.79|
|Tim Southee||not out||24||10||2||2||240.00|
|Extras||7 (b 0 , lb 4 , nb 0, w 3, pen 0)|
|Total||431/6 (115 Overs, RR: 3.75)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-1 (3.1) Jeet Raval, 2-34 (12.5) Kane Williamson, 3-84 (26.2) Ross Taylor, 4-126 (42.3) Henry Nicholls, 5-269 (85.3) Tom Latham, 6-382 (110.2) Colin de Grandhomme,|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||5||1||10||0||2.00|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||run out (Ajaz Patel)||0||5||0||0||0.00|
|Kusal Perera||c BJ Watling b Trent Boult||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|Kusal Mendis||b William Somerville||20||63||3||0||31.75|
|Angelo Mathews||c Ross Taylor b Colin de Grandhomme||7||30||0||0||23.33|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||c Tim Southee b Ajaz Patel||1||19||0||0||5.26|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c Tom Latham b Ajaz Patel||51||161||4||0||31.68|
|Dimuth Karunaratne||lbw b Tim Southee||21||70||2||0||30.00|
|Dilruwan Perera||c Ross Taylor b Tim Southee||0||12||0||0||0.00|
|Suranga Lakmal||c Tom Latham b William Somerville||14||45||2||1||31.11|
|Lasith Embuldeniya||c Kane Williamson b Trent Boult||5||11||0||0||45.45|
|Lahiru Kumara||not out||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||3 (b 0 , lb 2 , nb 0, w 1, pen 0)|
|Total||122/10 (70.2 Overs, RR: 1.73)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-0 (0.5) Lahiru Thirimanne, 2-4 (2.2) Kusal Perera, 3-11 (11.3) Angelo Mathews, 4-22 (18.3) Dhananjaya de Silva, 5-32 (21.5) Kusal Mendis, 6-73 (43.5) Dimuth Karunaratne, 7-75 (47.4) Dilruwan Perera, 8-115 (65.3) Suranga Lakmal, 9-118 (69.3) Niroshan Dickwella, 10-122 (70.2) Lasith Embuldeniya,|
|Colin de Grandhomme||4||1||8||1||2.00|