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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- Contingency helped New Zealand. Skipper Kartunaratne had been off the field injured from early on Day Four. So, he could not open.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sri Lanka’s numbers 8 to 11 demonstrated the frailties of many a tail.