Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva kept the Bangladesh bowlers at bay on day four of the Pallekele Test
Of the 25 occasions no wicket has fallen in an entire day of Test cricket, six instances belong to Sri Lanka. ESPNcricinfo relives those partnerships.
Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha
Day 5 vs Pakistan, P Sara Oval, 1986
Not a lot was riding on this one. Sri Lanka had conceded a first-innings lead of 37 in a rain-affected match. Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha came together late on day four and put on an unbroken partnership worth 240. All of those runs came on the wicketless final day – Ranatunga hitting 135 and Gurusinha making 116. This was against a Pakistan attack featuring Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama
Days 3 & 4, vs India, Khettarama, 1997
Although there are some flat surfaces in this list, this was probably the most lifeless of them all. India declared at 537 for 8 in their first innings, and then Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama took over, coming together at 39 for 1 to put on what was at the time a world record stand of 576. Typically, Jayasuriya was the quicker scorer hitting 36 fours and two sixes during his 799 minutes at the crease. He became Sri Lanka’s first-ever triple centurion, finishing with 340 off 578 balls. Mahanama made 225 off 561. The two were out within minutes of each other early on day five, with the team score on 615. Sri Lanka went on to make a world record total of 952 for 6, with Aravinda de Silva hitting a hundred, and Mahela Jayawardene making a half-century on debut.
Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene
Day 2, vs South Africa, SSC, 2006
The most mammoth stand of them all, and the only one in this list that contributed to a Sri Lanka victory – Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara came together with the score 14 for 2 after South Africa had been bowled out for 169. They counter-attacked in the early parts of that innings, then went on to break the Jayasuriya-Mahanama record, putting up 624 together – a world record that still stands today, in both Tests and first-class cricket. Jayawardene had the chance of breaking Brian Lara’s record for the highest individual score (400 not out) but missed out when Andre Nel bowled him for 374. Sangakkara struck 287. Between them, the pair hit 78 fours and a six.
Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews
Day 4, vs New Zealand, Basin Reserve, 2018
This partnership was remarkable for having come away from home, and against an outstanding New Zealand pace attack featuring Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, when Sri Lanka were at serious risk of losing the game. Sri Lanka were on the ropes at 13 for 3 when Kusal Mendis was joined by Angelo Mathews – the visitors still 283 runs behind. Although the Basin Reserve pitch had flattened out, this was nonetheless an outstanding rearguard – Mendis frequently the aggressor, as he took on Wagner’s short-pitched deliveries with particular aplomb. The pair saw out the end of the third day, batted all day on day four, and were also together till lunch on day five, after which rain put an end to the match. Mathews made 120 not out off 323 balls. Mendis hit 141 not out off 335. The unbroken partnership was worth 274.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva
Day 4, vs Bangladesh, Pallekele, 2021
On a green pitch that turned out to be abominably flat, Bangladesh declared on 541 for 7. Although Sri Lanka made a good start – the openers putting on 114 together, there was still substantial work to be done when Dhananjaya de Silva joined Dimuth Karunaratne at the crease with the score on 190 for 3. The pair played out the last 10.3 overs on day three, before batting out all 76 overs on day four. Karunaratne went on to complete his first double-century, finishing day four on 234 not out. de Silva was not out on 154 at the close of play. Because Karunaratne opened the innings, he has now been on the field for all of the playing minutes across the first four days, totalling more than 24 hours. de Silva had also bowled 30 overs in Bangladesh’s innings.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
Former India Women’s coach WV Raman alleges ‘smear campaign’ against him in email to Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid
He says it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”
India Women’s outgoing head coach WV Raman has alleged that a “smear campaign” against him has gained unwarranted traction and he has urged the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to stop it. In an email that Raman also sent to the National Cricket Academy head Rahul Dravid, he wrote it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”.
Raman was not retained as the head coach of the senior women’s team by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which picked Ramesh Powar for the job.
“I presume you might have been told different views about my style of functioning and work ethic,” Raman wrote. “Whether those views conveyed to the officials of the BCCI had any impact on my candidature is of no consequence now.
“What is important is that the smear campaign seems to have gained some unwarranted traction with some BCCI officials which needs to be halted permanently. I am prepared to give an explanation should you or any of the office bearers require it.”
He said he was not used to “moaning and whining”, but was bringing up the issues in case the BCCI president wishes to do a course correction.
“If I were to be rejected due to my incompetency as a coach, there is no argument on a judgment call at all,” he wrote. “But what will be extremely disconcerting is if my candidature was rejected due to any other reasons. Especially if it was due to allegations from people who were more focused on achieving their personal objectives at the expense of the overall hygiene and welfare of the Indian women’s team and the pride of the country.”
While Raman’s letter did not name anyone, it is understood that he was writing about the star culture that prevails in the team, which he said is probably doing more harm than good.
“If some people in the system have been highly accommodative to the extent of being seemingly obsequious to an accomplished performer for years on end – and if that performer feels constrained to adhere to the culture – then I would leave it to you to decide if the coach was asking for too much.
“In a coaching career spanning 20 years, I have always created a culture in which the team always comes first and insisted on no individual overriding either the game or the team.”
He said “paying heed to only one individual’s views while disregarding everyone else’s over a long period of time has resulted in gaping holes in the process and the system”.
“The time has come for you two accomplished former legends to salvage women’s cricket, falling which things could gather momentum in the wrong direction. I have some suggestions that might help in the improvement of women’s cricket. I will be delighted to share those if you are interested.”
Cameron Bancroft – ‘Self-explanatory’ that bowlers were aware of ball-tampering tactics in Newlands Test
“All I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part”
Cameron Bancroft has conceded there had to be wider knowledge of Australia’s ball-tampering tactics against South Africa in the Newlands Test than the punished trio of himself, David Warner and Steven Smith.
Speaking to the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae in Durham where he is playing county cricket, Bancroft admitted under questioning that it was “self-explanatory” that bowlers in the Test team had to be aware the ball was being tampered with.
“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft said. “I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”
When pressed further, he replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”
While levying extremely heavy penalties on Bancroft, Warner and Smith for their roles in the ball-tampering, Cricket Australia ring-fenced the matter away from the rest of the team, although head coach Darren Lehmann resigned a few days later after seeing the tearful press conferences of the players upon their early returns to Australia.
The lengthy bans placed on Bancroft (nine months), Warner and Smith (one year each, with Warner banned from holding any leadership positions for life) have left plenty of questions unanswered, even though CA has in the past called for anyone with further evidence about the affair to come forward. Former chief executive Kevin Roberts had this to say in March 2019 about that prospect, while defending the initial investigation conducted by the former CA head of integrity, Iain Roy, between the Cape Town and Johannesburg Tests.
“If they’ve got any concerns about ball-tampering or any concerns about any integrity issue in the game, we’ve invited them to report that through our anonymous integrity hotline or through other means that are available to them,” Roberts had said. “We haven’t had any such reports, so we won’t jump at shadows, but if anyone does report concerns about any integrity matter prior to ball-tampering or whatever it may be, we’re serious about addressing that, and we have a process to address it.
“We’re really serious about addressing any unresolved issues and we’re sincere in the way we’re going about that. So if there are any reports or allegations as opposed to innuendo, then we will investigate that thoroughly.
“Certainly the investigation needed to be conducted swiftly, we needed to fulfil our commitment to field a team against South Africa the following week, and we didn’t know whether we’d need to fly 11 new players in to fill that team or no new players. The ultimate answer was somewhere in between. So the investigation was absolutely fit for purpose, but we haven’t rested on those laurels. We’ve made repeated and extensive invitations to anyone to report any integrity matters or concerns about ball-tampering ever since.”
Though Smith and Warner have returned to the team, Bancroft is now a long way from international consideration, having played the first two Test of the 2019 Ashes series before being discarded and then struggling to recreate his best days in the Sheffield Shield in 2019-20. He performed better last summer but is not considered to be in the front rank of contenders for a place in the national side.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
England head coach Chris Silverwood to take time off during Sri Lanka, Pakistan ODI series
England head coach will hand over to assistants Thorpe and Collingwood during busy summer
Chris Silverwood will miss the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan as part of England’s rest-and-rotation policy.
Silverwood, the England coach, was one of few ever-presents on England’s tours of Sri Lanka and India and accepts he will find it hard to switch off. But he also acknowledged the need for fallow periods amid England’s relentlessly busy schedule and said that without such breaks, he “won’t be providing the level of service” players deserve.
England’s assistant coaches, Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe, will each take charge of an ODI series in his absence.
“It is important we keep our personnel as fresh as possible,” Silverwood said. “It’s not fair on the players if I am operating at less than 100 percent and it is not fair on myself either. I won’t be providing the level of service that I need.
“You saw during the winter what we tried to do that with our players to the best of our ability. It’s equally as important we do that with the staff. It’s important we look after each other.”
The fact that Silverwood will be available for all England’s Tests and T20Is might be interpreted, by some, as a reflection of the diminishing importance of ODI cricket. But it is more to do with where we are in the current international cycle, with two T20 World Cups scheduled within the next 18 months and the next 50-over World Cup not until 2023.
“I’m not going to deny it: it’s not easy for me to switch off,” Silverwood said. “I am wholly on-board with what we are doing. I am very embedded in it now. I do find it hard to switch off but I’ll do my best.
“I’ll be passing the reins on for the ODI series. Thorpey will do one and Colly will do the other and I’ll use it as my break to refresh and get ready for what is ahead of us.
“My missus has already booked us a little getaway up in Norfolk somewhere. I have got to do that otherwise I won’t switch off.”
Whatever Silverwood’s reservations about the break, he is confident in his deputies, acknowledging that both had “a lot more” experience of playing international cricket than him.
“I said right from the start I was going to step back at times and promote them forward to give them leadership opportunities,” Silverwood said. “This is a great opportunity for us to do that.
“I think it will be a great experience for them. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t trust them 100 percent. If you look at the wealth of experience that the two of them have, it’s a massive bonus for me to have them next to me wherever we go.
“They have had success all round the world. As players, they played a lot more international cricket than me so you surround yourself with the things that maybe you don’t have and build a team that way. They’re a huge asset to us.”
England are expected to name their Test squad for the series against New Zealand on Tuesday. Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, has previously suggested England will use the series as an opportunity to “look at some new faces”, with Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton and James Bracey among those expected to feature.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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