What’s the story?
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella has revealed that his antics in the final session of the first Test against India were intentional, done for the sake of wasting time and forcing the game towards a draw.
"I was taking my time while I was batting and Shami was rushing to bowl and that didn't go down too well with the Indians. I was so happy to be in that situation. The captain was on the other side and was guiding me asking me to be calm and play the normal game and they will get frustrated,” Dickwella told Cricbuzz.
In case you didn’t know…
Fading lights at the Eden Gardens formed the backdrop of an intriguing final session of play, with the Indian bowlers sending the Sri Lankan top-order into a tizzy with a burst of sensational pace bowling.
As the sun was setting fast, Dickwella, who was being troubled by a barrage of bouncers, responded with a six towards square leg, after which he noticed three fielders behind square on the leg side. He brought it to the notice of the umpire, resulting in a no-ball being called.
The heart of the matter
After the no-ball was called, Dickwella saw it as the perfect opportunity to go a step further and rile up the Indian players, who had their tails up. To kill time further, he stopped Mohammed Shami abruptly in his run-up, resulting in a face-to-face between the Bengal pacer and the Lankan stumper.
Shami came up to Dickwella, and said: "Look here, I am the local boy. I am from Kolkata", to which Dickwella cheekily responded with 'I don't give a damn’, and followed it up with ‘But you are bowling with good pace and bounce’.
To further accentuate the time delay, his partner Dasun Shanaka had to avail the services of the physio after being hit on the shoulder by a short ball.
The Lankans managed to walk away with a draw after bad light eventually stopped play with them seven down.
The first Test having ended in a draw, the action will move on to the next game at the VCA Stadium, Nagpur, starting 24th November.
While opinion will remain divided about the ethicality of the various techniques employed by the Lankans to waste time in the final session, credit must be given to Dickwella for having the presence of mind to notice the faulty field set-up, as well as the audacity to take up the challenge of riling up the animated Indian fielders.
The time-wasting by Lanka to force a draw was yet another instance of sly gamesmanship in cricket, and reinforced the fact that the game’s longest version has its own innate excitement and charm.