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
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.