Ton-up Paranavitana shows his mettle

Cricket would have been the farthest on the mind of the then 27-year-old, who had made his debut in the first Test in Karachi and was just settling down to a long haul at the highest level when the events in Lahore threatened to shatter his world.

Thankfully, the left-handed opener has come away unscathed from the physical and mental trauma of that incident, and on Sunday, he celebrated a second coming of sorts with his maiden Test hundred, against India in the first Test.

Paranavitana, the 111th Sri Lankan to be capped in Test cricket, ended Sunday evening on 110, his first century in his 11th Test coming after four previous half-centuries.
“I am extremely happy to get a maiden hundred because prior to this innings, I had got four fifties but was unable to convert them into a hundred,” the 28-year-old said through a translator in team manager Anura Tennekoon.

“I am quite happy that I scored a hundred in Sri Lanka rather than in India. In domestic cricket, I score big hundreds in the range of 150-200, but at the international level I couldn’t do so in my first ten Tests.

“But with experience, I was able to do so and I am confident I can go forward with my game plan.”

Paranavitana said he had benefited from the wisdom of his senior players and coaches as well. “I spoke to the coaches and senior players to see why I have been unable to get to a Test hundred, and I came to this match after correcting some of my mistakes.
“From the time I came into the Sri Lanka side, I have been receiving a lot of advice from team members because we are playing well together as a team.”

The Galle strip, Paranavitana said, was ideal for batting. “There was nothing wrong with the Indian bowling because it was a wicket that was in favour of the batsmen.
“If you do the right things in the middle, getting runs is not difficult. But if there are continuous interruptions due to rain, it will hamper Sri Lanka’s chances of winning, provided we get into a winning situation.”

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