Contingencies, Strikes and Performances at the Colombo Oval

Michael Roberts

Contingencies reigned during the Second Test Match at the Colombo Oval between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Rain was the reigning contingency — surmounted in part by the tremendous work of an army of workers beating tarpaulins and what have you. Watching most of the match live, my thoughts are disjointed and point-form.

BJ Watling  the quiet achiever

  1. The Kiwis whittled away at Sri Lanka’s batsmen and would have dismissed them for a poor score if Trent Boult had not dropped a dolly catch from Dhananjaya de Silva – quite uncharacteristically. Dhananjaya went on to compile a classy century which Fidel Fernando has felicitated in his picturesque manner.
  2. Guided initially by Tom Latham and thereafter by BJ Watling, New Zealand compiled 431 for 6 at a good pace of 3.74 in between rain delays and scheduled breaks –with Grandhomme’s 83 off 77 balls and Tim Southee’s, 24 off 10 balls hammering their dominance in.
  3. Whether that last half hour had a demoralizing impact or not is a question one can ask but challenge to answer. That Sri Lanka capitulated for 122 all out in 70-plus overs when a little more spirit and better cricket could have eked out a draw suggests that the answer could be “yes”.
  4. Contingency helped New Zealand. Skipper Kartunaratne had been off the field injured from early on Day Four. So, he could not open.
  5. This opened the door for the two opening batsmen Tirimanne and Kusal Perera to commit hara kiri ….. immediately. Tirmanne initiated these proceedings in Over One itself by opting for a risky single; while Perera hung out his bat to offer a snick in Over Three.
  6. Tirimanne’s foolishness should not obscure Ajay Patel’s brilliant fielding at midwicket—a capacity of quickness and agility he displayed as fielder throughout the match.
  7. Kusal Mendis showed considerable ability on a wicket offering the bowlers sharp turn and movement till Somerville produced a super-duper ball that turned sharply through the gate to bowl Mendis comprehensively.
  8. Williamson then stepped in himself to crowd Dhananjaya by standing in his face at forward short-leg when Patel bowled — thereby inducing Dhananjaya to lunge injudiciously at a perfect leg-break which earned a snick to slip. Super captaincy, sharp bowling, safe catching.
  9. Resistance from Dimuth Karunaratne and Dickwella was broken by a sharp cutter from Southee in the first instance and by good turn from Patel backed by sharp anticipation by Latham at backward short-leg to an injudicious lap-shot by Niroshan.
  10. Sri Lanka’s numbers 8 to 11 demonstrated the frailties of many a tail.

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Filed under Andrew Fidel Fernando, New Zealand cricket, performance, spinning art, Sri Lanka Cricket, work ethic

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