The South Africa tour of Sri Lanka has been all about Dimuth Karunaratne, who made an unbeaten 158 and followed it up with half-centuries, every time he stepped on to bat.
When batsman from both sides succumbed to spin, Karunaratne stood tall and kept ticking with his orthodox batting technique and classic strokeplay. It appeared as if he was batting on a completely different track.
Over the years, Dimuth Karunaratne has made the bulk of his runs in the 2nd innings. Therefore, the classic 158 in Galle was quite an achievement and against the flow of play.
The 30-year-old has played alongside a number of top-order batsmen but what he has been able to do well is cement his place while the others have failed to stay consistent.
Karunaratne who suffered from a fracture in the left index finger was left out of the recent West Indies Tests. Sri Lanka from a winning position only managed to level the series in the end. He was clearly missed on top of the order.
Adding a lot of stability to the line-up
“With experience, we all can see that Dimuth is not repeating his mistakes. That is the quality a batsman should have. I have been with him since school. I know him in and out and he is a strong character. He doesn’t easily give up. you improve, and you learn from your mistakes,” said his team-mate Angelo Mathews last evening (ESPN).
“The way he has batted in the last year or so has been brilliant. He was outstanding in UAE when he got those huge runs in both games. Once again, here, he showed that on difficult wickets he can score runs. If you all recall, on a difficult wicket against India at the SSC last year, he scored a hundred as well. He has added a lot of stability to our line-up,” added Mathews.
His innings in Galle made him only the fourth Sri Lankan opener to carry his bat through a Test inning. Currently ranked 10th among Test batsman, Karunaratne may find himself in 7th of 8th place after the ongoing Test series.
After the first Test, he exposed his secrets to playing spin, especially on a turning wicket.
Referring to the Galle International Stadium, Karunaratne said, “On pitches like this I am always looking for runs and trying to bat positively. Often my strike rate is in the 70s – like it was in this match. That’s the biggest thing. When you are playing spin you need to have a defense, but more than that you have to dominate the spinners before they dominate you.” (ESPN)
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