Cricket: Spirited Ranatunga

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The Independent Online
Sri Lanka 331 and 300 for 6 dec

South Africa 267 and 25-2

ARJUNA RANATUNGA, the Sri Lankan captain, scored a magnificent 131 to put his team in a commanding position in their first Test match against South Africa in Morotuwa yesterday.

Ranatunga, whose main support came from the former captain, Aravinda de Silva, in a fifth-wicket stand of 121 in 103 minutes, shrugged off an injury and a disputed decision to propel Sri Lanka to 300 for 6 in their second innings before they declared shortly after tea.

De Silva had cut and hooked the South African fast bowlers with dismissive ease as he completed his 10th Test half-century before being caught by David Richardson off Pat Symcox on 68. Ranatunga defied the spinners with equal aplomb on his way to his fourth Test century, before he fell to Brett Schultz.

South Africa, set 365 to win, made a dreadful start and were 25 for 2 when bad light ended play 14 overs early. Andrew Hudson was dismissed for four by Chandika Hathurusinghe and Hansie Cronje for one, caught off Pramodya Wickremasinghe.

Ranatunga's innings was marred by controversy when he had made 58. The medium-pacer, Cronje, claimed a return catch but the umpire ruled it was a bump ball. The South African fielders disputed the decision.

Daryll Cullinan, fielding at mid-wicket, was cautioned by the square leg umpire Brian Aldridge, of New Zealand, for arguing with the Sri Lankan umpire. The fielder later apologised.

There was further drama for Ranatunga when he was on 94. A fast full toss from Schultz hit him on his right toe and he had to complete his hundred with a runner.

(Sri Lanka won toss)

SRI LANKA - First Innings 331 (H P Tillakaratne 92; A A Donald 5-69, B N Schultz 4-75).

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 267 (A C Hudson 90; M Muralitharan 5-104).

SRI LANKA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 26 for 2)

U C Hathurusinghe b Donald. . . . . . . . .9 A P Gurusinha b Schultz. . . . . . . . . .27 P A de Silva c Richardson b Symcox. . . . 68 * A Ranatunga b Schultz. . . . . . . . . 131 H P Tillakaratne not out. . . . . . . . . 33 R S Kalpage not out. . . . . . . . . . . . 0 Extras (b3 lb6 nb6). . . . . . . . . . . .15 Total (for 6 dec). . . . . . . . . . . . 300

Fall (cont): 3-34 4-75 5-196 6-299.

Bowling: Donald 22-5-73-1; Schultz 20-2-82-2 (5nb); Cronje 8-2-27-0 (1nb); Symcox 21-2-75-3; Eksteen 9-2-34-0.

SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings

A C Hudson c Dassanayake b Hathurusinghe. .4 * K C Wessels not out. . . . . . . . . . . 9 W J Cronje c sub b Wickremasinghe. . . . . 1 D J Cullinan not out. . . . . . . . . . . .4 Extras (b4 lb2 w1). . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Total (for 2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Fall: 1-13 2-15.

To bat: S J Cook, J N Rhodes, D J Richardson, P L Symcox, C E Eksteen, B N Schultz, A A Donald.

Umpires: B Aldridge and K T Francis.

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