Dickwella falls near a bridge too far | Sunday Observer

Dickwella falls near a bridge too far

24 January, 2021
Niroshan Dickwella
Niroshan Dickwella

Misses his maiden ton by eight runs after painfully anchoring the Sri Lanka innings while curtailing his flamboyancy to carry the side

Niroshan Dickwella came tantalizingly close to what would have been a captivating maiden hundred but had to realise that there can be a fine line between victory and defeat as he failed to pocket the century that has eluded him for so long on the second day of the second cricket Test against England at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.

Yesterday’s play was not really about a match between two teams but a beleaguered batsman having to answer his critics and falling short by just eight runs to reach the magical mark.

But having come so close and yet so far, Dickwella from now on will have to be his own biggest critic as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 381 in the first innings to which England replied with 98 for 2.

Just like he was patient at his 73rd Test appearance at the crease, the Englishmen too bided their time plotting Dickwella’s downfall away from what would would have gone down as an epic century for a batsman better known for his swashbuckling flamboyancy in limited overs cricket.

Dickwella displayed solid Test maturity free from blemish until the end and with the axe dangling over his head it was a make or break day.

As the hours went by it was an innings that many including some of Dickwella’s critics wanted to see happen as the south paw made some crisp hits, one a peach of a cover drive against a ball from James Anderson that sped to the boundary which was one of the ten fours he struck while facing 141 balls.

With his partner Angelo Mathews gone after adding just three runs to his overnight 107 and laying the foundation with sheer workmanship on the first day, Dickwella stood up to be counted taking Sri Lanka past the 300-run mark.

For Dickwella, the 100 was like now or never in a set-up which may offer no guarantees for an extended survival and he was unlike any other wicket keeper batsman on the current international scene batting in the top six of a depleted Sri Lankan line-up.

He lived up to expectations both picking his runs and occupying the crease while facing a variety of balls although the pitch would not have been to the liking of the England bowlers.