Pink ball cricket tests batsmen’s resolve


Ashan Priyanjan, who had made 156 in the first round followed it up with another good knock making 95 for Dambulla against Galle in the pink ball day-night game earlier this week.

by Rex Clementine

Batsmen dominated the first round of Inter-Provincial cricket but the bowlers were back in business in week two as the tournament turned into day-night pink ball cricket. With the final Test against West Indies in Barbados scheduled to be a day-night affair, the authorities were keen on giving the players a bit of exposure on what to expect and the resolve of the batsmen against the pink ball, that swings more than the red ball, was tested.

There was absolute mayhem at Suriyawewa where Colombo were pitted against Kandy. Colombo were well set at 62 for no loss in reply to Kandy’s 270 all out. Once the dusk set in and the lights came on, the ball started swinging around and Colombo slumped to 139 for nine. This was no ordinary line-up. It had Test players of the caliber of Kaushal Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dilruwan Perera. But Kasun Rajitha and Isuru Udana swung the ball to deadly effect sharing eight wickets between them.

It was a pity that only two days of play was possible due to torrential rain and otherwise a result was on the cards.

In Dambulla too fast bowlers put up a good show. While Lahiru Gamage, who will most probably share the new ball in West Indies with Suranga Lakmal, took a five wicket haul in Galle’s first innings, Nisala Gamage returned the complement when it was Dambulla’s turn to bat claiming five for 65.

There were some solid efforts by the batsmen as well. Kusal Mendis’ 89 was the only half-century in Dambulla’s first innings. Sachithra Serasinghe posted a hundred in the second essay and was involved in a 141 run stand for the third wicket with fellow Nalandian Ashan Priyanjan, who finished on 95. Priyanjan had posted a fine 156 in the first game.

Dambulla captain and Test opener Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka’s highest run getter in 2017 was tested by the pink ball as he collected a pair.

The Inter-Provincial tournament was introduced after the Inter-Club competition was criticized for lack of competitiveness and there were some good contests as First Class cricket was extended to four days. It has been indicated that selections for the senior side will be done based on the performances of the Inter-Provincial tournament.

It is hoped that the event is not a one off and it will be continued on a regular basis.

The third round of matches will get underway next week.

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