Batsmen dominate opening round of Super Four Provincial Tournament

Roshen Silva celebrates his maiden Test ton Getty Images

The first round of Sri Lanka's Super Four Provincial Tournament - the first of its kind since 2013 - produced two draws, with Roshen Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Ashan Priyanjan, Niroshan Dickwella, Mahela Udawatte and Sachithra Senanayake making hundreds in batting-friendly conditions.

Among the major criticisms of Sri Lanka's club-based first-class tournaments is that bowlers are not often made to toil long in the field, so dusty are the pitches. That has not been the case here. Only Lahiru Gamage - a right-arm seam bowler - claimed a five-wicket haul, from no fewer than 26 overs. Where in club cricket, spinners are so dominant that seam bowlers often become completely superfluous, this round of the Super Fours saw quicks reap healthy dividends for their toil, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara also claiming six wickets apiece for the Kandy team. That the Dukes cricket ball is in use in this tournament - a ploy that is intended to prepare the Sri Lanka Test players for their forthcoming tour of the West Indies - perhaps aided the quicks as well.

But it was Roshen Silva who produced the standout performance, hitting 231 not out off 392 deliveries for the Galle team, against Colombo, at Sooriyawewa. The innings had been something of a rescue. Galle had found themselves 22 for 4 on the first morning, before Silva's 202-run stand with Dasun Shanaka, who made 95 off 157 deliveries, carried the side towards respectability.

A further 97-run stand with Chaturanga de Silva wrested the advantage from Colombo, and then Silva struck up a series of useful partnerships with the tail to propel Galle to a formidable 476 all out. The opposition attack featured offspinner Dilruwan Perera, and quicks Vishwa Fernando and Dushmantha Chameera. Chameera only bowled 11 overs, however, before back stiffness forced him out of the match. He was taken for precautionary CT scans.

In response, Lahiru Thirimanne's 125 was the centrepiece of Colombo's 333, with Dhananjaya de Silva also hitting 66 off 59 balls from the No. 3 position - his new Test-match batting spot. When Galle batted again, the pitch had become no more treacherous, Lahiru Milantha and Sadeera Samarawickrama hitting 74 and 77 respectively, as the game wound to a draw.

In the Kandy v Dambulla match, played at Katunayake, incumbent Test keeper Niroshan Dickwella produced an aggressive 112 after Priyanjan had made the game's biggest score, hitting 156 off 239 balls. Mahela Udawatte also had an excellent game, his first-innings 97 and second-innings 103 not out vital to Kandy securing a draw, after Dambulla had made 480 in the first innings. Sachithra Senanayake was modest with the ball, but produced a 105 and a 60 with the bat. The quicks from both sides - Gamage, Kumara and Rajitha - substantially outperformed the spinners in this match.

Galle 3rd innings Partnerships

1st18MS WarnapuraBKEL Milantha
2nd4BOP FernandoBKEL Milantha
3rd147S SamarawickramaBKEL Milantha
4th8ARS SilvaBKEL Milantha