Dilshan off with a ton
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan scored an unbeaten century on Friday. Photo: Getty Images
Sri Lankan veteran Tillakaratne Dilshan is planning to go out on his final Test tour of Australia with a bang, and began it in perfect fashion with an immaculate century in Canberra.
Dilshan tore apart the Chairman's XI bowling attack on a placid Manuka Oval pitch to finish with an unbeaten 110 as Sri Lanka went to stumps on the second day at 4-276 on Friday.
The most pleasing news for the tourists was that all three of their key batting cogs got in some valuable match practice before next Friday's first Test against Australia in Hobart.
Kumar Sangakkara scored 55. Photo: Getty Images
The world's former No 1 batsman Kumar Sangakkara made a composed 55, while captain Mahela Jayawardene looked in control before falling to all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for 36.
With the Chairman's XI declaring its innings at 6-439, Sri Lanka's inexperienced bowling attack has plenty to work on before they hope to make an impact in the three-match Test series.
That places a large emphasis on their marquee batsmen - Sangakkara (9893 runs at 55.89), Jayawardene (10,640 at 50.18) and Dilshan (5047 at 40.70) - to replicate their sensational career statistics.
Dilshan, 36, declared this would be his last tour of Australia as part of the Test team, while Jayawardene will hand over the captaincy after this tour.
''For me I think this is my last tour [in Australia] in Test cricket,'' Dilshan said.
''This start maybe can carry the next two months.
''Definitely in the top order someone has to put their hands up and put some big runs on the board to help the middle order and the tailenders.
''That's our target.''
Sri Lanka has never won a Test match in Australia in 25 years of trying, with its cause not helped by a disappointing 1-1 series draw with New Zealand in Sri Lanka.
That coincided with Sangakkara going through a lean spell, but the classy 35-year-old showed he's not far away from recapturing his best.
''It's really important that Mahela and Sanga come into form,'' Dilshan said.
''They're two experienced guys in the side, they both can find the plus point for the team.
''I think it's good that they spent some time in the middle and [now] we get ready in a couple of days' time for the Test match.''
Dilshan closed his innings at the tea break as Sri Lanka made the most of a batsman-friendly surface.
Only nine wickets have been taken in the first two days as bowlers from both sides struggle to extract any life out of the pitch.
''With the scores that have been posted, they're tough, but again I thought we bowled pretty well today considering that,'' Chairman's XI coach Troy Cooley said.
''History's shown they are a good batting line-up. We held them quite well today I thought, and I look forward to taking a couple more wickets in the morning.''
Only a compulsory declaration after 100 overs could stop NSW opener Scott Henry, who finished unbeaten with a majestic 207, while ACT Comets young gun Dean Solway finished not out on five.
Comets captain Jono Dean will take the place of Chairman's XI skipper Usman Khawaja, who has been excused from the final day to play for the Sydney Thunder in Saturday night's Big Bash League match with the Sydney Sixers.