ICC WORLD CUP 2019
The 27-year old Dhananjaya de Silva has insulated himself as one of Sri Lanka’s frontline batsmen in both Test and ODI cricket in just over two years. Having made a fine start to his ODI career as his country’s highest scoring debutant with a fluent 76 bettering Saman Jayantha’s record of 74, Dhananjaya underwent a decline losing his place and being in and out of the team. However, in the ups and downs, the right hander has succeeded in cementing his place as a dependable top order Test batsman after overcoming some early hiccups. Some sweaty efforts with the bat and his all-round ability in chipping in as a handy makeshift wicket taking spinner and safe fielder progressively saw Dhananjaya win the confidence of the national selectors as a cog in the wheel for the world cup. Topping the recently concluded mega Super Provincial Limited Overs Tournament with some splendid all-round performances to take the Player of the Series award put the Colombo born Ragama CC product in top billing for world cup duty.
The turning point in his ODI career was during his recall to the Test side against India at Delhi in 2017 when Dhananjaya scored a fighting unbeaten 119 in forcing a draw. It was the highest fourth innings score by a visiting batsman in India. From that point Dhananjaya de Silva went from strength to strength recording his fourth Test century 173 and highest in 2018 against Bangladesh at Chittagong. It was his second consecutive ton in the wake of his century in the Delhi Test. He figured in a record 308-run alliance with Kusal Mendis in what fetched Dhananjaya the magical 1000-run mark in 23 innings becoming the joint fastest Sri Lankan batsman to achieve the feat in the wake of Roy Dias and Michael Vandort.
He also shone with an all-round performance in the one-off T20 against South Africa figuring in a decisive match winning 53-run alliance with Dinesh Chandimal having also starred with the ball in the Proteas being dismissed for 99. It was South Africa’s lowest T20 score and earned Dhananjaya de Silva the man of the match award. Born on September 6, 1991, Dhananjaya has an ODI tally of 482 runs from 22 matches with a highest of 84 averaging 25.36. He has picked 15 ODI and Test wickets each from 32 and 25 matches respectively.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-