February 8, 2002

Chandana sizzles in the sunshine


Sri Lanka A captain Upul Chandana dominated the second day of the unofficial Test at Matara on Friday when he launched a blistering assault on Kenya's hapless bowlers.

Chandana, a leg-spinning all-rounder who has played six Tests and 81 ODIs, ran amok, smashing his highest first-class score, 194 off 193 balls, hitting 23 fours and five straight sixes.

It was a timely show of class by the Southern Province leggie, watched as he was by national selector Mahesh Goonatillake, who will have been pondering the ideal make-up for the Sharjah tri-series in April.

For Kenya it was a humiliating reminder that their bowling attack is still woefully short of an acceptable standard in Test match cricket.

Leg-spinner Collins Obuya ended up with the best figures, three for 123 from 34.4 overs, but even he was treated severely on the second day.

Sri Lanka, starting the day on 298 for five, added a further 276 runs in 42.4 overs for the loss of a solitary wicket, eventually declaring on 574 for six midway through the afternoon session.

At least, Kenya's batsmen, needing 424 to save the follow on, rallied in the evening, finishing the day on 124 for two.

But the loss of Steve Tikolo - their master batsman - shortly before the close, as he mistimed a cut and was caught at point, was a serious blow.

They will now be hoping that opener Ravindu Shah continues his steadfast resistance. The right-hander was 59 not out at the close with Hitesh Modi on nine.

Chandana's impressive knock was well supported by Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored a chanceless ton, eventually finishing unbeaten on 165 off 266 balls.

The stylish Dilshan, scorer of 82 in Colombo and another pushing hard for a place in the national squad, played second fiddle to Chandana, who scored most of his runs with booming off-drives and well executed cuts.

The pair added a massive 302 for the sixth wicket before Chandana clipped a catch to mid-wicket. Sri Lanka immediately declared.

Kenya started well enough, surviving new ball bursts from left-arm Ruchira Perera and Prabath Nissanka.

However, the introduction of spin proved their undoing. In Rangana Herath's second over Kennedy Otienio attempted a drive, edged and was safely pouched at slip by Chandana.