Valuable practice for SL

Sri Lanka eased their way into their New Zealand tour with a draw against Otago at Dunedin’s University Oval. The four-day match provided an opportunity for Sri Lanka’s batsmen in particular to find form ahead of the two-Test series, with the side scoring over 400 in both innings.

Resuming at 240-2 with a lead of 377 runs. The two wickets to fall had been the two openers – Sanath Jayasuriya, who made up for his first-innings duck with 85, and Upul Tharanga for an excellent 108.

Although the match was merely a warm-up, it appeared that Sri Lanka were very interested in achieving a result. They batted through to 404-4 from just 87 overs before captain Mahela Jaywardene, who himself scored 67, declared and set Otago an impossible target of 541 but with enough time for Sri Lanka to bowl the home side out.

This didn’t happen, as Otago survived the first 17 overs with a score of 46-2 before bad light and the rain that came with it brought a close to the day’s play and with it the match. The recalled Craig Cumming was unbeaten on 8.

Considering the team lineup was missing Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka’s performance against Otago indicated that their discomfort in New Zealand conditions in past tours has at least decreased, and that they will be a difficult team to beat for a New Zealand side that has played very few tests in the last year and that is struggling to find its best team combination.

The first test begins in Christchurch on Thursday.

Sri Lanka 413
Chamara Silva 70, Chamara Kapugedera 68
Bradley Scott 4-56, Aaron Redmond 3-41

Otago 276
Jordan Sheed 57, Aaron Redmond 53
Lasith Malinga 3-67, Akalanka Ganegama 2-50

Sri Lanka 404-4 dec
Upul Tharanga 108, Sanath Jayasuriya 85
Craig Smith 1-43, Bradley Scott 1-73

Otago 46-2
Shaun Haig 18, Greg Todd 10 no
Akalanka Ganegama 1-3, Farveez Maharoof 1-7

Match Drawn.

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Upul Tharanga (108)

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Richard Edmunds