Karunaratne ton lays foundation for big Sri Lanka total in 1st Test
GALLE – Opener Dimuth Karunaratne frustrated West Indies with a patient unbeaten century to help Sri Lanka reach 250-2 on the opening day and stay on course for a big first innings total in the first Test at Galle on Wednesday.
With the pitch offering little assistance to the bowlers and West Indies making it worse for themselves by spilling a couple of catches, the 27-year-old southpaw showed immaculate discipline and application to reach the close not out on 135.
Karunaratne hit 10 boundaries and a six in his sedate knock and was ably supported by Dinesh Chandimal (72), the duo accumulating 149 runs for the unbroken third wicket.
West Indies stuck to their plans to use their pacers in short bursts but Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva (17) still gave Sri Lanka their first 50-plus opening stand this year after home skipper Angelo Mathews opted to bat first.
The West Indian bowlers harassed the openers with short-pitched bowling but it was a fuller-length delivery from Kemar Roach that earned them the breakthrough when Silva edged to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Lahiru Thirimanne (16) had a reprieve after lunch when Darren Bravo dropped him at slip off Jerome Taylor but the batsman could not capitalise on it.
Thirimanne stepped out against leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo but the shot had neither the power nor the elevation and the left-hander was caught at short mid-wicket.
Batting on 11, Chandimal also benefited from the visitors’ lax fielding when Taylor spilled a skier after the batsman had fluffed his pull shot off Bishoo.
It proved a costly mistake as Chandimal registered his third successive 50-plus score at the venue and consolidated Sri Lanka’s position in the match.
“We will get good rest tonight, come back tomorrow and work hard for wickets,” Roach told broadcasters TEN Sports.
Asked whether operating in short spells worked his for his team, the 27-year-old paceman said, “I understand what the skipper is doing. It’s a very hot place to play cricket and I think he wanted to keep the boys fresh all the time.” –Reuters