Sri Lankan great Aravinda de Silva on this day in 1997 became the first man to score two unbeaten hundreds in a Test match when he smashed his second hundred in the second innings against Pakistan. The Pakistan side led by Rameez Raja was touring Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series. The first match had already ended in a draw while the hosts chose to bat in the first in Colombo.
Opening the innings for home side, Sanath Jayasuriya and Russel Arnol gave Sri Lanka a solid start to put up 95 runs on the board for first wicket. Aravinda de Silva came in at number four and showed mettle against the lethal Pakistan bowling line up. Wickets kept falling at equal intervals around De Silva but the right-handed batsman stood strong to notch up a well stitched 138*. No other batsman was able to show resistance towards Pakistan bowlers and the hosts were bundled out for 331 runs. Spinner Saqlain Mushtaq sclaped a four-wicket haul during the course.
In reply, the visitors lost opener Saleem Elahi without any score on the board and then were reduced to 83/4. Wicket-keeper batsman Moin Khan was the only pick of the batsman who scored 98 runs. The other batsmen got to good starts but were not able to capitalise on them. Pakistan’s first innings were wrapped up for 292 after Sajeewa de Silva bagged a fifer.
Sri Lanka were in no mood to give away the momentum they got after the first innings and the batsmen extracted all sources to guide their team to a big total. Jayasuriya scored his individual hundred while Aravinda de Silva smashed another unbeaten hundred in the match. He scored 103 during Sri Lanka’s innings of 386/4 (D) to hand Pakistan a target of 426 runs.
Saleem Malik’s heroics with the bat though later ended the match in a draw but Aravinda de Silva wrote his name in the history books with authority.
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