Dhananjaya’s unbeaten 153 flattens West Indies
Dhananjaya de Silva’s undefeated 153 and his game-breaking partnership of 107 with Lasith Embuldeniya powered Sri Lanka to pole position at close of play on the penultimate day of the second Test versus the West Indies. The hosts were 328/8, ahead by 279 at stumps. Meanwhile, the West Indies can only ponder upon a day of missed opportunities.
At the start of the evening session, Sri Lanka were in front by 189 with only two wickets in hand. Unfortunately for the visitors, Dhananjaya put paid to West Indies’ hopes of wrapping up the innings quickly and then for them to pursue the target. The middle order batter completed his hundred with a double off Veerasammy Permaul. He then opted to shift gears by cracking the punch and clubbing Roston Chase into the stands.
To make matters worse for the West Indies, Permaul missed a skier off his own bowling. In fact, in the morning session, de Silva had got another reprieve when Joshua Da Silva grassed a chance behind the stumps. Da Silva also missed a stumping opportunity to give Lasith Embuldeniya a reprieve. Kraigg Brathwaite, the skipper, was the unlucky bowler on that occasion. In desperation, Kraigg Brathwaite even brought Nkrumah Bonner into the attack, but couldn’t find that elusive breakthrough.
By then, Dhananjaya was clearly in his zone and he soon completed his 150 by cracking one through the covers. Embuldeniya rubbed more salt into West Indies’ wounds by lofting Chase for a six to bring up the 100-run stand. The salient feature of Dhananjaya’s knock was he rarely allowed the bowlers to settle into a rhythm.
The middle order batter, who replaced Charith Asalanka at the crease in the morning session, showcased nimble footwork versus the spinners as he used the depth of the crease to play the cut.
He also put on a fine exhibition of wristwork to collect useful runs. Dhananjaya and his batting partner Pathum Nissanka (66) looked set to take the side to the lunch break, but against the run of play, the latter played back to a skidder from Roston Chase and was trapped in front. After the break, Dinesh Chandimal fell to a soft dismissal.
However, that didn’t deter Dhananjaya from going for his shots as he employed the sweep while facing Jomel Warrican. He also added a useful stand of 51 with Ramesh Mendis before Brathwaite removed the all-rounder. Permaul then bagged the wickets of Suranga Lakmal and the injured Mathews in quick succession.
Just that they couldn’t pick another wicket for the rest of the day. With the track offering enough assistance for the spinners, Sri Lanka now would fancy their chances of taking the series 2-0 on the final day.