Opening batsmen Danushka Gunathilaka struck a run a ball 98 and Sadeera Samarawickrama a 90-ball 80 putting the New Zealand bowlers to the sword as the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI the Board XI amassed 326 for 6 wickets after winning the toss yesterday on the first day of the 3-day warm up match at the FTZ Sports Complex (BOI), Katunayake. Both staked strong claims for test selection. Sri Lanka’s first test match against the visiting team starts on August 14.
They were associated in a rollicking 154-run alliance for the first wicket with Gunathilaka clobbering 12 boundaries and a six with Samarawickrema striking 13 boundaries as their partnership consumed 27 overs. Samarawickrama was the first to depart when he was dismissed by left arm off spinner Patel to a catch by Rayal. Test hopeful Oshada Fernando lasted only 8 balls striking a boundary before he was caught and bowled by Patel with the total on 159 and Banuka Rajapaksa was clean bowled by Patel for a duck for his third wicket making it 177 for 3. Gunathilaka was fourth out with the total on 214 caught by Latham to give Patel his fourth wicket. Angelo Perera was the next to go for a 32-ball 35 as the Board XI slipped to 217 for 5 before skipper Ashan Priyanjan and Pathum Nissanka steadied the innings adding 81 for the sixth wicket. Priyanjan was unbeaten on a polished 76-ball 56 containing 9 boundaries while Nissanka made a 55-ball 35 inclusive of 2 boundaries before being dismissed by Somerville. Manoj Bhanuka joined the skipper adding 28 runs remaining unbeaten on 14 off 29 inclusive of a six at the close of play. Ajaz Patel finished with fine figures of 5 for 41 on a day the Kiwi pace bowlers took a heavy toll.
Sri Lanka Board President’s XI 326 for 6 in 65.5 overs Run Rate: 4.9
(M.D. Gunathilaka 98, S. Samarawickrama 80, A.K. Perera 32, S.M.A. Priyanjan n.o. 56, P. Nissanka 35,M. Bhanuka n.o. 14, A.Y. Patel 5/41)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-