CHANDI­MAL WORKS HIS CHARM

Cap­tain’s un­beaten cen­tury pow­ers Sri Lanka to 419 and puts Pak­istan un­der pres­sure in the first Test in Abu Dhabi

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Den­zil Pinto * b @denz_360 den­zilpinto@sport360.com

Di­nesh Chandi­mal led from the front with a maiden Test cen­tury as Sri Lanka cap­tain, leav­ing Pak­istan with plenty to do in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.

Re­sum­ing on 60, Chandi­mal thwarted high tem­per­a­tures and Pak­istan’s bowl­ing at­tack to re­main un­beaten on 155 off 372 balls in an in­nings that lasted 546 min­utes as Sri Lanka made 419 in the first in­nings.

Open­ers Sami As­lam (31) and Shan Ma­sood (30) gave a strong re­ply to the Sri Lankan to­tal, sur­viv­ing the 23 overs to close play on 64-0, still trail­ing by 355 runs.

How­ever, the day be­longed to Chandi­mal. His ninth Test ton was the cor­ner­stone of the fifth and sixth wicket stands of 134 and 92 with Niroshan Dick­wella and Dil­ruwan Per­era re­spec­tively.

Those part­ner­ships proved to be sig­nif­i­cant for Sri Lanka and ru­ined Pak­istan coach Mickey Arthur’s hopes of chas­ing a first in­nings to­tal in the vicin­ity of 300.

Pak­istan took the last four scalps for 23 runs but the hosts were largely frus­trated as Sri Lanka gained the up­per hand at the Sheikh Zayed Sta­dium.

Dick­wella, re­sum­ing play on 42, reg­is­tered his fifth Test half-cen­tury off his fourth de­liv­ery of the day. That was just a sign of things to come from Sri Lanka who are des­per­ate to make amends for the 3-0 home se­ries white­wash to In­dia.

De­spite cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed ro­tat­ing his bowlers, Dick­wella and Chandi­mal moved along nicely. But Pak­istan’s pa­tience was fi­nally re­warded when Hasan Ali ended Dick­wella’s stay at 83 – his high­est Test score – af­ter the bats­man chopped the ball onto his stumps.

While Chandi­mal brought up Sri Lanka’s 300 in the very next over, Yasir Shah thought he had his first vic­tim of the day.

The 31-year-old leg spin­ner, who took two wick­ets on the first day, trapped Per­era with a goo­gly and the um­pire ad­judged it lbw. But Per­era quickly ap­pealed the de­ci­sion and TV re­plays showed he got a big in­side edge.

Chandi­mal, mean­while, was look­ing in fine form and reached three fig­ures in Tests for the ninth time when he drove Mo­hammed Amir through cov­ers af­ter al­most five and half hours at the crease.

At the other end, Per­era was again trapped be­fore the stumps, this time, by Haris So­hail. How­ever, af­ter an­other re­view, the faintest of in­side edges saved him be­fore he fi­nally opened his ac­count with three runs on his 33rd ball.

With 322 al­ready on the board at lunch, Pak­istan were fac­ing an­other stern task of break­ing an an­noy­ing stand. Per­era and Chandi­mal brought up the 50run stand with the Sri Lankan skip­per then smash­ing back-to­back bound­aries off Shah.

Per­era also got into the act, dis­patch­ing Haris for a six – the sec­ond of his team’s in­nings. While that got the Sri Lankan fans cheer­ing, Haris even­tu­ally had the fi­nal say when he had Per­era lbw that ended the 92-run part­ner­ship.

Shah fi­nally had some­thing to smile about, get­ting his third wicket of the match af­ter re­mov­ing Ran­gana Herath for four, be­fore Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas got his first scalp of the game by trap­ping pacer Su­ranga Lak­mal lbw .

Ab­bas thought he had Chandi­mal’s wicket when he bowled him but it turned out to be a no-ball. But Ab­bas got his re­ward, re­mov­ing Sri Lanka’s tail-en­ders Lak­shan San­dakan and Nuwan Pradeep to fin­ish with 3-75.

02 Shah’s last two spells in FC cricket have been of 57 overs

Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment: Chandi­mal scored 155 in Abu Dhabi

Cap­tain cool: Chandi­mal scored an un­beaten ton in Abu Dhabi.

Per­fect foil: Dick­wella’s 83 helped Sri Lanka post a big first-in­nings to­tal.

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