Posts Tagged ‘BSM Warnapura

Sri Lanka overcame the shaky start on the first day and resumed normal service, accumulating runs on the placid SSC pitch, and capitalised on reprieves to move into a position of strength. Mahela Jayawardene looked set from the moment his innings began shortly before stumps last evening and, by tea, he had scored a classy 105 and threatened to punish India severely for the opportunities they failed to take.

It was Jayawardene’s ninth century at the SSC and he now shares the world record for most hundreds at a single venue with Don Bradman who made nine at the MCG. Jayawardene’s has played his club cricket at the SSC and has scored over a quarter of his Test runs here: 2167 runs, another world record at a specific venue, in 20 Tests at an average of 83.34.

Jayawardene’s century today was preceded by Malinda Warnapura’s second hundred in his fifth Test. His was a more controlled performance: he was sure against the semi-new ball and his confidence grew as the ball got older.

Sri Lanka added 220 runs in two sessions today for the loss of only Warnapura. Their batsmen were rarely troubled and 55 turned out to be their lucky number. In the sixth over of the day, Zaheer Khan had Warnapura, on 55 at the time, caught and bowled off a marginal no-ball. His foot landed on the line and then just slid over. Jayawardene was also on 55 when a slider from Anil Kumble found the bottom edge. Dinesh Karthik, perhaps unsighted by the bat, couldn’t hold on to the catch. On 93, Jayawardene was beaten comprehensively – a rare event given his form – by a legbreak from Kumble which might have taken a faint edge. Karthik once again couldn’t gather it, and ended the debate right there.

Apart from those three chances, India’s bowlers did not have much going for them. Two boundaries in the fifth over of the day summed up the medium-pacers’ predicament. Jayawardene moved on to front foot against Ishant Sharma; the bowler consciously shortened the length but Jayawardene had enough time to transfer the weight on to the back foot and cut in front of point. He played an identical shot the next ball and the message was clear: economy might be the best form of attack once the ball lost its shine for the pitch absorbed the pace and offered only slow movement.

After Sri Lanka had scored 38 in the first six overs – Jayawardene contributing 23 -Kumble, the pick of the bowlers, brought himself on to replace Ishant. He conceded only 12 runs off his first 10 overs and India began to exercise some control over the run-flow. By tea, Kumble had bowled 22 overs for 47 runs and should have had Jayawardene at least once.

India’s only wicket came in the post-lunch session when Harbhajan, from round the wicket, made Warnapura play at an offbreak and got the edge through to Rahul Dravid. Thilan Samaraweera nearly played on against Harbhajan early in his innings but he settled down and unobtrusively reached a half-century just before the tea break.

Zaheer came for a testing spell in the middle session, getting reverse swing from round the wicket. His stock ball remained the one headed for the pads but he got the odd one to swing away. He even managed to beat Jayawardene with the away-going delivery. By tea, India’s medium-pacers had bowled 43 overs between them and that could be the reason that Kumble didn’t take the new ball.


June 2020

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