Avishka Fernando’s Breakthrough Ton

Rex Clementine, in Island, 2 July 2019, where the title is “Avishka goes past Kohli and Tendulkar as third youngest World Cup centurion”

Young batting sensation Avishka Fernando has made an impact with cameos against Australia and South Africa in the ICC Cricket World Cup from the moment he was given a break at the expense of Lahiru Thirimanne. On Monday, he converted a start against the West Indies into a match winning knock posting a less than run a ball century. Aravinda de Silva was 30 when he made a World Cup hundred while Sanath Jayasuriya was 33 and that makes Avishka’s achievement a remarkable one.

Sri Lanka’s Avishka Fernando plays a shot during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Sri Lanka and West Indies at the Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street, northeast England, on July 1, 2019.

Avishka achieved the milestone at the age of 21 and 87 days to become the third youngest centurion ever after Ireland’s Paul Sterling and Australia’s Ricky Ponting. Sterling was 20 years and 196 days old when he scored a hundred against Netherlands in Calcutta in 2011 while Ponting was 21 years and 76 days old when he posted a hundred over West Indies in Jaipur in 1996.

In the process, Avishka went past two Indian greats – Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar. Indian skipper Virat Kohli was 22 years and 106 days old when he scored a hundred against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011 while Tendulkar was 22 years and 300 days old when he smashed an unbeaten 126 against Kenya in Cuttack in the 1996 edition of the tournament.

Avishka’s 104 off 103 balls contained nine fours and two pulled sixes and on the back of his effort, Sri Lankan posted 338 for six and restricted West Indies for 315 for nine to win by 23 runs. Sri Lanka have now not lost a World Cup fixture to West Indies since 1992.

He is now top of the batting averages for Sri Lanka. His 183 runs have come at 61. Kusal Janith Perera (255 at 42) and Dimuth Karunaratne (212 at 42) have scored more than Avishka in this campaign but have played three more games.

“It was a brilliant knock by Avishka against that attack. I mean, it looks like he has a lot of time to face the quicker bowlers and, you know, he was showing it in the past two games as AdControlwell. But after the 30s and 40s, he never got going. But I thought, you know, after getting that wonderful start, he carried on and he made sure that we ended up with a very good total at the end,” Mathews went onto say.

Former great Kumar Sangakkara, who presented the Man of the Match award, sounded a word of caution. “They come in, they impress, they score a brilliant hundred like he Avishka did. But come six months later, a couple of failures and all that trust and admiration is gone from the selectors and they just take you out from the side. You don’t have a secondary side to go back to, you are lost in the First-Class structure and you hardly see them ever again. It’s a case of trusting these younger players, developing them through a really excellent First-Class structure,” he said.


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Filed under Angelo Mathews, player selections, politics and cricket, Rex Clementine, Sangakkara, Sri Lanka Cricket, World Cup 2019

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