Kusal Janith from injury to hero in Sri Lanka’s series levelling triumph


Sri Lanka romped to a 4-wicket series leveling triumph over the West Indies in the third test match at Barbados yesterday. In a victory that was ideally a sweet scenting in overcoming a treacherous struggle fittingly Kusal Janith Perera shrugged aside his injury from the fielding misadventure the previous day to play the lead role with solid support from Dilruwan Perera to steer their side home on the fourth day at Barbados. That was after overnight batsman Kusal Mendis had departed without addition to his overnight score of 25 when he was trapped leg before wicket by the West Indian skipper Jason Holder. Mendis fell making the total 81 for 6 and it was tough going in what had been a see sawing contest as the Perera duo dug in braving the vagaries of the West Indian pace-attack in negotiating some anxious moments.

34-107 Kusal Perera plays square into the off-side watched by wkpr Shai Hope. © CWI Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography.

It was full credit to Kusal Janith Perera for what eventually proved to be a stellar role as he played with absolute composure in bridging the 60-plus target given the situation and nature of the pitch that had seen wickets tumble like nine pins with 20 batsmen from either side being dismissed on the third day. Dilruwan Perera’s anchor role was similarly great stuff in the Lankans touching the hurrah euphoria that put Sri Lanka even at 1-all in the 3-test series.

The eventual victory was a typical culmination of the ecstasy from the agony in a series that the home team had dominated having won the first test comprehensively that put the onus on Sri Lanka to come back from a bad start. They did in the second test only be stalled by rain.

The magnitude of the crucial victory was even greater with Sri Lanka going in to the match without their playmaker captain Dinesh Chandimal following a one- match ban. Suranga Lakmal, who stepped in to his shoes, performed a superb job showcased by his 3 wickets in bundling out the West Indies for 93.  The tremendous effort of Sri Lanka’s fast bowling quartet with Lahiru Kumara emerging as the find of the tour with a 6-wicket haul in the third test.

CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 154 (N. Dickwella 42, J. Holder 4/19) and 144/6 (Kusal Janith Perera n.o. 28, Kusal Mendis 25, Dilruwan Perera n.o. 23, Holder 5/41)

West Indies 204 (J. Holder 74, Dowrich 71, L. Kumara 4/58) and 93 (K. Rajitha 3/20, S. Lakmal 3/25, L. Kumara 2/31)

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-