Kaushal Silva – 125 v Pakistan at Galle
In his 17th test match Kaushal Silva scored his second test hundred, his second highest test score, his highest score in Sri Lanka in tests, and without him Sri Lanka would have been in even bigger trouble than they ended up. It wasn’t a quick ton, but welcome nonetheless.
I expected 125 to be a pretty dull century watch, but it isn’t really. For instance, Silva is the first man to be dismissed on 125 in 7 years. The previous one was Thilan Samraweera, who made the score against the West Indies in Port of Spain. You expect this sort of score to be made much more frequently. This was the 36th instance of 125, with the last one being an unbeaten innings by Marcus North in 2009. Anyone remember that one at Cardiff. How topical….
Have you seen a 125, Dmitri? Nope. Just seven have been made since 2000 (1999 was a bumber year with three) and none in tests I’ve been at. Some notable 125s? Mike Atherton almost certainly has the slowest, with his monolithic effort in Karachi in December 2000, that , if I recall correctly one prominent cricket journalist berated for its sheer obduracy. We ended up winning that game. Ah, the press (now if only I can remember who it was without delving into old Wisdens). I remember watching Greg Blewett’s 125 at Edgbaston in 1997, when he and Taylor were starting to make a 350 run lead look vulnerable.
Desmond Haynes is the only man to make two scores of 125 in tests. One was at The Oval in the Blackwash series after he had a pretty raw time of it while all else about him was carnage, and the other was in his test dotage in 1993 against Pakistan in Bridgetown. I think Bourda, Georgetown is the only venue that has seen three scores of 125.
The first 125, and I always try to do the first of each score, was also, surprisingly, very late on in test cricket. The scorer of it was by Pieter van der Bijl in a rather famous test match played at Kingsmead, Durban in March 1939. This was, of course, the famous timeless test, when England were set the mere total of 696 to win a test, and had to leave the scene on 654/4 because their boat was sailing home. Van der Bijl’s innings of 125 was made in the first dig, when the hosts made 530 in a mere 202 overs – and these were 8 ball overs! England responded with 316, and instead of enforcing the follow on, the hosts piled on another 481 runs, at a better pace, with van der Bijl making another 97.
There is, bizarrely, a cricinfo report of this hundred!
To finish off, this was the 42nd century made by a Sri Lankan against Pakistan. This score places him 24th overall, the third highest at Galle in this match-up and the 12th highest in Sri Lanka. Sangakkara holds most of the records, so we’ll leave him to it. Except the highest score in tests between these two teams – Sanath Jayasuriya leads the way on that with 253 in Faisalabad in 2004. It’s the 226th century by a Sri Lankan in tests. It was the 53rd test century made at Galle.
Kaushal Silva’s century came up in 261 balls with 15 x 4.