Home > Features > Moments in history >

When Aravinda de Silva scored two unbeaten hundreds — the first to achieve the feat in a Test match

When Aravinda de Silva scored two unbeaten hundreds — the first to achieve the feat in a Test match

Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva became the first man to score two unbeaten hundreds in a Test — a record he alone holds till date © Getty Images

On April 29, 1997, Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva became the first man to score two unbeaten hundreds in a Test — a record he alone holds till date. The innings didn’t result in victory for his side, but it emphasised the incredible form he was in the middle of. Karthik Parimal summarises the Test that homes de Silva’s heroics.

From the beginning of 1996 to mid-1997, Aravinda de Silva instilled tremendous fear in almost every opposition with his wizardly willow. In Tests, he accumulated 674 runs from nine games at an n average of 48.14, and 1936 at 50.94 in One-Day Internationals (ODI). Such was his brilliance that he became the mainstay in a team that was already crammed with stalwarts. He appeared immune to spinners and seamers of all genres, and his prodigious handling of swing provided further proof of his increasing adeptness. In the summer of 1997, on a hot day at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo, de Silva mesmerised the cricketing world yet again.

Two tons and unconquered

Pakistan carried a depleted bowling unit for this series, presenting opportunities to fringe bowlers Mohammed Zahid and Shahid Nazir in place of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. On the other hand, Sri Lanka remained uncompromising, fielding a first-rate line-up, although Muttiah Muralitharan was left out for the second Test. The first game ended in a turgid draw, despite Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed taking 15 of Sri Lanka’s 18 wickets between them. For the visitors to pinch a victory in the next, it was imperative for the duo to come good yet again.

Well aware of Pakistan’s frailty in the bowling department, Arjuna Ranatunga won the toss and chose to bat first. Sanath Jayasuriya, characteristically, provided a reasonable start, scoring 72 of the team’s 95 runs in just over two hours. Then, a mini-collapse ensued, leaving de Silva to arrest the slide. He altered the tempo of his approach incredibly, consolidating and attacking according to the situation. None of the other batsmen could manage to drop anchor at one end — on an average, a wicket fell for every 20 runs during the first innings — yet de Silva went about his task sans any commotion.

For over six-and-a-half hours, he faced 208 balls, rammed 19 boundaries and finished with an unbeaten 138. This was his 10th century in Tests and, albeit it was essayed against an attack that was without the services of Wasim and Waqar, it gave a fine account of his grit. Sri Lanka could muster 331, a total, although not threatening, formidable enough to pester the Pakistanis. Sajeewa de Silva responded with a five-wicket haul that halted the visitors’ progress at 292. As if conceding a lead of 39 wasn’t worrisome enough, the Pakistanis then lost Zahid and Nazir, their opening bowlers, to injuries.

This led to Saleem Malik and Ijaz Ahmed, a strange bowling combination, sharing the new-ball at the commencement of Sri Lanka’s second innings. The move failed to pay rich dividends, understandably, as openers Jayasuriya and Russell Arnold compiled a 157-run partnership, with Jayasuriya scripting a slow-paced 113.

Once they fell, de Silva and Ranatunga took over the mantle of bludgeoning the hapless attack. The former scored at a much quicker pace this time, aware of an imminent declaration; time was needed to bowl Pakistan out in the fourth innings. Dropped by Saleem Elahi on 80, he amassed another hundred, collecting 11 fours and a six in the process. Nevertheless, Ranatunga, out for 66 and in the dressing room, delayed the declaration for more than an hour in order to let his celebrated teammate reach the coveted milestone. He drew heavy flak for his decision. In Murali’s absence, taking 10 wickets could prove to be arduous.

“Ranatunga’s critics later argued that he should have declared at tea, denying De Silva his landmark in order to gain time to bowl Pakistan out. As it was, after Vaas had removed the openers, the touring batsmen combined sense and defiance for the rest of the match,”Wisden noted.

Sri Lanka’s second innings concluded at 386 for four, with de Silva finishing on an unbeaten 103. This made him the first man to score two unbeaten hundreds in a Test — a record he alone holds till date. 
Powered by a breezy 155 off Saleem Malik’s blade, Pakistan comfortably saw out the final day, reaching 285 for five by stumps. No team could draw first blood in the series and, apart from de Silva’s heroics, there were hardly any moments that stole the limelight. For de Silva, though, it appeared to be a never-ending purple patch, as the two centuries here were second and third in the list of six consecutive hundreds he notched at home.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka 331 (Aravinda de Silva 138*, Sanath Jayasuriya 72; Saqlain Mushtaq 4 for 115) and 386 for 4 declared (Sanath Jayasuriya 113, Aravinda de Silva 103*. Arjuna Ranatunga 66; Mushtaq Ahmed 2 for 113) drew with Pakistan 292 (Moin Khan 98; Sajeewa de Silva 5 for 85, Chaminda Vaas 4 for 60) and 285 for 5 (Saleem Malik 155; Chaminda Vaas 2 for 40)

Player-of-the-match: Aravinda de Silva

Player-of-the-series: Aravinda de Silva

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal )

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

More

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

Photos

Aaron Finch's record 156 vs England in T20I

Videos

Alastair Cook looks ahead to 3rd ODI at Nottingham

Ambati Rayudu has to make every opportunity count if he is to play in ICC World Cup 2015

India vs England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge: Highlights

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Highlights

MS Dhoni records most stumpings in international cricket during India-England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Give Virat Kohli a break, India

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

MS Dhoni credits spinners’ solid display for India’s win over England in 3rd ODI

Jonathan Trott cleared for selection by England’s medical team

Virat Kohli-Ben Stokes involved in verbal spat during India vs England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Former cricket coach Sumit Bose passes away

India trounce England by six wickets in 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge; take unassailable 2-0 series lead

Statistical review of batsmen with two or more consecutive ducks from ODI debut

Ambati Rayudu has to make every opportunity count if he is to play in ICC World Cup 2015

India vs England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge: Highlights

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Highlights

MS Dhoni records most stumpings in international cricket during India-England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

667 Posts | 6 Fans

10 Most Unbeatable Records in Cricket

Beware! sugary drinks may increase risk of cancer and heart disease

Ebola infected monkeys said to be recovering with ZMapp

HTC to finally unveil two wearables, Desire 820 with 64-bit processor at IFA on September 4

Ganesh Festival 2014: Salman Khan’s former co-star Daisy Shah attends Ganpati celebrations at his residence-view pic!

NGOs pursue education for all

Statistical review of batsmen with two or more consecutive ducks from ODI debut

This is the only Apple iPhone 6 leak video you should watch ahead of September 9 launch

International programme in Animal Husbandry

MS Dhoni credits spinners’ solid display for India’s win over England in 3rd ODI

Ganesh Festival Song of the Day: Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Shree Ganeshay Dheemahi’ from Viruddh

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here