On this day in 1997: Aravinda de Silva’s unbeaten achievement in Tests

On this day in 1997, Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva became the first cricketer to notch up two unbeaten hundreds in a Test. The Sri Lanka great etched his name in history during a Test match against Pakistan in Colombo.

Speaking about the match, the Lankan Lions won the toss and decided to bat first. Openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Russel Arnold got 72 and 37 runs respectively and raised a 95-run stand for the first wicket. However, it was de Silva’s impressive knock which put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat.

The Lankan great mixed caution with aggression and remained unbeaten throughout his innings. Coming in at no. 4, he notched up 138* off 208 balls which included as many as 19 boundaries against the lethal Pakistan bowling lineup. The Islanders concluded with 331 runs in the first innings.

In response, the visiting team lost Saleem Elahi in the first over without scoring and were reduced to 83/4. Wicketkeeper-batter Moin Khan top-scored for the side as he got 98 runs to his name and that seemed to be the only major highlight of the innings. The other batters made promising beginnings but failed to build on them and convert to bigger scores. Sajeewa de Silva’s five-wicket haul coupled with Chaminda Vaas’ four-wicket haul restricted Pakistan to 292 runs.

In Sri Lanka’s second innings, openers Jayasuriya and Arnold put up a 157-run stand as the former got 113 runs whereas the latter was dismissed for 50. In the middle order, Aravinda de Silva yet again carved out a scintillating knock as he slammed 103 runs off 99 balls and once again remained unbeaten in the innings. His knock included one maximum and 11 boundaries upon which the Lankans declared 386 runs on the board.

Pakistan were riding on Saleem Malik’s 155 as the match eventually concluded with both teams on level terms. However, it was Aravinda de Silva’s impressive run with the bat that made headlines in the Test match.