Dhananjaya de Silva 153*- Unbroken partnership of 107 for 9th wicket with Embuldeniya aches Windies, positioned SL in a dominating spot
CHIEF SCORES SL 204 AND 328 FOR 8 WEST INDIES FIRST INNINGS 253
Sri Lanka 328 for 8 (Dhananjaya 153*, Embuldeniya 25*, Permaul 3-100, Chase 2-82) and 204 lead West Indies 253 by 279 runs
Dhananjaya de Silva came to the crease with Sri Lanka only 23 runs ahead, with three wickets down, and their most skilled batsman bruised an unable to play typically. By the time play ended on day four, Sri Lanka were 279 runs ahead, with two wickets still in hand, in steady command.
De Silva, in supreme ability for much of this knock, was 153 not out off 259 balls by stumps, added 78 with opener Pathum Nissanka to salvage Sri Lanka from instant threat,also added 51 with Ramesh Mendis during a second session in which West Indies’ spinners made a four-wicket charge, but it was with No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya with whom he generated the most significant , possibly match-crucial partnership – an as-yet unbeaten alliance of 107 runs, during which he completed his eighth Test century, breezing past 150, plundering 73 runs off 98 balls off an exhausted bowling attack.
He was dropped twice – both times off the bowling of Veerasammy Permaul. On 5, wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva could not hold on to a huge edge, though this was an awfully tricky chance, the ball moving quickly and knocking only the tips of his gloves. The chance West Indies will lament more came when de Silva was on 116 and tried a slog sweep with the field spread. Permaul got himself under the swirling top edge as he ran toward the sight screen, but eventually could not bind his fingers over the ball. If he’d caught that, Sri Lanka would have been nine down with a lead of 218. It’s possible West Indies would already have been batting by now, chasing a difficult but not bizarre target.
The initial stretch of the de Silva-Embuldeniya stand had been tense. Embuldeniya had come in with Sri Lanka only 179 ahead, and with Permaul having taken two wickets in quick succession with the second new ball. De Silva was batting on 80, and so the hundred was in sight as well. But the pair settled into a rhythm – de Silva farming the strike to give Embuldeniya only the last two or three balls an over, where possible. Though de Silva didn’t always attempt to hit boundaries early in those overs, largely because Kraigg Brathwaite had positioned fielders on the ropes.
Embuldeniya scraped his way past that point, facing 20 balls before de Silva was able to achieve the century. After that, de Silva moved up his usual accelaration batted in his usual flamboyant style. He hit Roston Chase behind point for four soon after getting to a hundred, then blasted him over long-on two balls later. The field spread back to him, he ran hard twos, and when Brathwaite brought the seamers back, attacked them as well.for boundaries Having got to his hundred off his 189th delivery, he added the next 50 off 65.
Embuldeniya played an passive supportive hand, all the way up to stumps. He faced 110 balls for his 25. He did not hit a single boundary, but was basically excellent in defence. West Indies, through this period, seemed ragged and short of ideas. Brathwaite bowled a strange spell in which he occasionally tossed the ball up almost amusingly high-pitched.
West Indies will be kicking themselves for letting the situation slip, after having surged through the middle session, and having kept the opposition in check even before lunch. Sri Lanka had begun the day still three runs in arrears, and with two inexperienced batters at the crease. Permaul got one to bite to take Charith Asalanka’s inside edge, which pushed up off the pad to short leg, in the first hour of play.Though Asalanka batted for an hour or so was not a good test match debut And although Nissanka completed his third fifty of the series in the company of de SIlva, he was out the ball before lunch too – lbw to Chase.
Chase struck again in the afternoon, pocketing a return catch off Dinesh Chandimal, before Brathwaite was the beneficiary of the only wicket Sri Lanka truly threw away in the day – Mendis holing out at deep midwicket the over before the second new ball was due. Permaul removed Suranga Lakmal and Angelo Mathews cheaply with that new ball. He finished the day on 3 for 100 – West Indies’ best analysis.