Dilshan does it his way
Posted in England v Sri Lanka 2011
Tillkaratne Dilshan has dominated this Test from the start.
His decision to bowl first took many by surprise. When England recovered from 22 for three to post 486 all out it had backfired.
Dilshan, who only inherited the captaincy after Sri Lanka’s World Cup final defeat, had much to answer for. Not least in light of the tourists’ innings-and-14-run loss at Cardiff where they were skittled for 82 on Monday.
Going out to bat yesterday afternoon, the 34-year-old had the weight of a nation on his shoulders. He did not disappoint.
Despite frequently playing and missing early in his innings, on occasion with the most full-blooded shots, Dilshan grew in confidence in sublime batting conditions at Lord’s.
The right-hander settled down and played the archetypal ‘captain’s innings’. Indeed, he continued at the crease after taking a painful blow on the right thumb from a Chris Tremlett delivery.
That came on 55 in the second over after tea and by stumps he had advanced to 127, having dominated a stand of 207 with Tharanaga Paranavita - the highest opening partnership in a Test between England and Sri Lanka.
If that satisfied the skipper, who went for a scan on his right thumb after play yesterday, he had a fresh appetite for runs this morning.
Again he played the leading role, punishing any wayward bowling under seamer-friendly skies.
Having eclipsed his previous best of 168 and earned Sri Lanka’s highest score at Lord’s, he apparently only let up shortly after wearing another Tremlett ball on the same digit as yesterday.
Following on-field treatment, it took a sublime delivery from Steven Finn to send Dilshan on his way for 193. He exited to a deserved standing ovation at 370 for two, having put his side on course for a first-innings lead that had seemed unlikely immediately after England’s innings.
That rain ended the day’s play two runs later gave all who had witnessed Dilshan’s display time to reflect on his heroics.