Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day March 10, 2017

Tharanga unperturbed by rain forecast


Upul Tharanga made his first Test century at home, 11 years after making his debut © AFP

Sri Lanka did not take the likelihood of rain into account when they chose the timing of their declaration, Upul Tharanga has said.

Rain had washed out almost all of the third session on day three, and would wipe out 12 overs on day four as well, with more afternoon showers forecast on day five. Though Sri Lanka had batted aggressively to take their lead past 400, they let their innings continue after tea. This left Bangladesh with 27 scheduled overs to face in the day - though fading light permitted only 15.

"Our planning is not based on weather predictions," Tharanga said. "We can't look too much into weather. It could rain tomorrow as well. Our plan was to give them 125 overs. If you take this wicket, this doesn't have as much turn as other Galle wickets. We did lose about 12 overs to rain."

Tharanga was still confident, however, that the three spinners Sri Lanka had picked could take advantage of a day five Galle pitch. It hasn't offered the same kind of help as it has been known to over the years, but things could already be changing.

"We have 98 overs and the first hour is going to be crucial," Tharanga said. "In that first hour if we can take two wickets, we can turn the game in our favour. There wasn't that much for spinners, but we saw towards our latter part of the innings, that it did start to turn a little. Hopefully that will carry on tomorrow."

Sri Lanka set Bangladesh 457 to win - the highest successful chase in Galle is 99 for 3 - with Tharanga making a vital contribution. His 115 off 171 balls was his first century at home, the others coming in Bogra and Harare. The innings helped shore up his place in the team, and may also lead to his getting a longer run in the opening position, where Sri Lanka have recently had problems. Tharanga has also had success as Sri Lanka's ODI opener in the last few months, after a brief stint in the lower middle order.

"In the last two series I batted in the middle order, but here before the series, I was asked whether I liked to open and I didn't have any issues in saying yes. Wherever I play I want to do a job for the team. It's up to the management and selectors to decide where they want me. They have used me as an opener since the South Africa tour. If the management is happy, I'm happy as well."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • udendra on March 14, 2017, 4:33 GMT

    @BALATHENSLC32: you wouldn't be saying this had it rained and washed out or was a draw. Then everyone would have been criticizing Tharanga.

  • Pawan on March 12, 2017, 1:36 GMT

    @UDENDRA: Unlike in limited overs, your overall strategies in test cricket cannot be based on a weather forecast looming over one & a half days as Tharanga says.. and most of all veteran spin king Herath must have been pretty confident of demolishing BD pretty quickly on 5th day wicket. He must have thought of giving Chandimal a chance to regain his batting form for the benefit of future matches. A tactful skipper should be able to see things beyond the nose length after evaluating overall situation & conditions.

  • udendra on March 11, 2017, 4:44 GMT

    This is not the best comment from a guy who has captained SL. How could you leave weather out of planning? Surely it needs to be thought of.

  • upuler1604594 on March 11, 2017, 1:39 GMT

    True SUJNAM, the biased organised fans would castigate Mathews if he batted so late. The reason is nlt purely cricket or captaincy.. when will Sri Lankan people learn to respect all Sri Lankan regardless if thier background?

  • Karthik Eyan on March 10, 2017, 22:07 GMT

    Yet another test match , yet another loss by bangladesh. Test status should be given to afghans. ?

  • Rajasundram on March 10, 2017, 21:56 GMT

    A lead of 400 would have been sufficient, unless Herath wanted Chandimal to get a 50; by carrying on batting after tea SL have reduced their chances of winning

  • hddhar7671581 on March 10, 2017, 19:00 GMT

    @sujanm if mathews was captain : we wouldnt even see asela, niroshan dickwella, or even Mendis. Mendis was forced in by the previous selection committee that was led by Kapila , not sanath. and sandakan wouldn't even be in the test team if not for the outcry from the SL public . After watching the last 4 years of SL cricket i can confidently say Mathews is not a good captain, and its not because we Srilankans want him to be a bad captain , its just that he is not good at the job. he should just play and not be captain.

  • Yohaan on March 10, 2017, 18:10 GMT

    Obviously Tharanga is the best opener we have. He should have been retained as opener in both formats without curtailing his career by repeated axing in both formats plus pushing him to the tail (No7,8,9) even in occasional chances given to him during past 3 yrs under Mathews, despite SL eternally suffering at top (UT as Odi Opener. Also In Away Tests he has an impressive average; 24 ing - 867 runs @ 41.28 - 2 x100 - 3x50.

    Opener UT was brought back to tests after 7y in 2014. Since recalled, he had scored 818 r@ 39Av. Apart from 110*,79 v Zm & 115 v Bd, he had 2 near tons & 50s as Opener Vs SA (83) & Pk (92, 45,46,48). UT was later pushed to No7 in his last 5 tests & shattered his progress further by axing 5 times within 11 tests scattered over 3y. Can you compare this progress with any of those 60+ opportunities wasted regular failures like Thiri, Dimuth, KSilva, Kusal Perera?

    He knows the art of making big tons. Hope they will let Upul to serve SL as Opener in all formats.

  • sujan on March 10, 2017, 17:59 GMT

    imagine it was Mathews the captain of this match and imagine he continued batting after tea. also imagine in the 15 possible overs today he didn't have a chance to Kumara or Sandakan to ball. then there will be so many people to comment he is negative and he is not allowing youngsters to perform. when Herath did it many are ok with it. it proves the biasedness of our fans and it also proves it is the correct way to operate.

  • Mohammad Wahid on March 10, 2017, 17:00 GMT

    The decision to continue to bat even after the Tea is baffling; to say the least! The highest score chased at this venue is 99; the highest ever chased by Bangladesh is 217, the highest ever chased in the history of test cricket is 418: and here you are 429 up at Tea and then come back and continue to bat! Bangladesh could still lose this match; but I sincerely hope this ends in a draw, just to expose the absurd cowardice of SL think tank.

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