Dilshan begins tour of SA positively
Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder and Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a fluent 74 off 76 balls in Sri Lanka’s 3 day warm up match against a South Africa Invitation XI at Benoni.
Sri Lanka ended the match on 207/3 in reply to the Invitation XI’s first innings score of 357 but importantly with much needed batting time for their top order clocked.
The first day of the match was washed out due to rain and when play began on Day 2, SL suffered a major injury blow- pacer and Dilshan’s RCB teammate Nuwan Pradeep had to pull out with a hamstring injury after bowling just 10 balls.
The South African batsmen capitalized on the hampered bowling attack, reaching 323/6 at Stumps on Day 2.
SL’s bowlers had a better outing on Day 3, wrapping up the four remaining Invitation XI wickets for the addition of just 34 runs. Dilshan and his opening partner Tharanga Paranavitana gave SL a splendid start adding 129 runs in 26.2 overs.
Dilshan’s blistering 74 off 76 balls saw him punch and drive confidently, not letting the opposition bowlers settle into a rhythm and messing with their lines and lengths. His 50 came before Lunch, off just 54 balls containing six 4s and one 6.
The bowling attack resumed post Lunch with greater discipline and it paid off as Dilshan perished to the pull shot in the third over of the session. Paranavitana went on to complete his century off 161 balls and retired immediately. Mahela Jayawardene had a brief outing, posting 26 and SL ended the game with Thilan Samaraweera unbeaten on 4 and Angelo Mathews on 1.
The past few months have been hard on Sri Lanka and Dilshan with their losses on the tours of England and Pakistan (UAE). The start they have had on this tour will lift their spirits and they will certainly back themselves to carry the momentum forward when the first Test begins on December 15th at Centurion.