Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Karunaratne ton gives SL early advantage in first Test. Sri Lanka's skipper set the tone for his team
Sri Lanka's skipper set the tone for his team
Dimuth Karunaratne's 13th Test ton gave Sri Lanka the honours on the opening day of the first Test in Galle on Sunday (November 21). The Sri Lankan captain, having opted to bat, was involved in a 139-run opening stand with Pathum Nissanka and an undefeated 97-run association for the fourth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva to take Sri Lanka to 267/3. West Indies did not pick up a single wicket in the first session while half-centurion Nissanka was the only wicket to fall in the second. Although they did manage a couple of strikes in the final session, Karunaratne's continued presence (132*) did not let West Indies wrest control at any stage on the opening day.
Karunaratne, playing his first international game since May, continued from where he left off against Bangladesh as he recorded a hundred in his third successive Test. De Silva approached his innings with a lot of confidence as well, getting to his ninth Test fifty and ended the day on 56 not out off 77 – which was close to 54 percent of the runs scored by Sri Lanka in the final session.
The hosts chose the attritional route to wear down the West Indian bowlers in the first session as Karunaratne and Nissanka put on a patient half-century stand. Despite being troubled by short deliveries from Shannon Gabriel and also struggling a bit against the spinners, Nissanka grit it out to support his skipper. Karunaratne, who was dropped early in his innings by Jermaine Blackwood off Rahkeem Cornwall, played some confident shots to extend the opening stand past 50 before Lunch. West Indies, meanwhile, lost a couple of reviews.
In an unfortunate incident late in the first session, debutant Jeremy Solozano was struck hard on the grille of his helmet at short leg by a shot from Karunaratne off Roston Chase. He was stretchered off the field and taken in an ambulance to a hospital for scans. Cricket West Indies laterrevealed in a tweet that “scans show no structural damage. He will be kept at the hospital overnight for observation.”
The Sri Lankan openers started off with regular boundaries at the start of the second session, some of them fraught with risk. But West Indies' bowlers weren't exactly on the mark either, bowling some loose deliveries which were put away appropriately. Karunaratne wasn't always in control of his shots, edging some of them for boundaries, but he went on to register his fifth fifty-plus score on the trot to provide a solid base for Sri Lanka. Although Nissanka took 133 deliveries to bring up his fifty, he was a lot more fluent with his shot-making after Lunch. But Nissanka walked back in disappointment a short while after getting to his third fifty-plus score in as many innings against West Indies, going after a wide half-volley from Shannon Gabriel to edge to first slip.
Oshada Fernando had an early reprieve as Jomel Warrican put down a tough return catch. The No. 3 remained unbeaten along with Karunaratne to ensure another session belonged to Sri Lanka, who scored at nearly 3.5 an over in the second session. Fernando, however, fell in the first over after Tea, with Nkrumah Bonner taking a good reflex catch at short leg to give Chase his first wicket. The offspinner also sent Angelo Mathews back as the batter failed in his attempt to go over the deep midwicket fence.
Karunaratne's concentration wasn't affected by the dismissals, though, as he reached his fourth Test ton at Galle and second against West Indies. He received good support from De Silva. who batted with a healthy strike rate and out-scored his captain in a fifty-run stand that came in 11.2 overs. West Indies opted for the second new ball as soon as it was available but it didn't bring them any joy and instead they saw de Silva score a few more boundaries to bring up a 62-ball 50. With two overs remaining in the day, the umpires deemed the light was not good enough and called stumps.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 163/1 (Dimuth Karunaratne 89*, Dhananjaya de Silva 56*, Pathum Nissanka 56; Roston Chase 2-42, Shannon Gabriel 1-56) vs West Indies.