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February 22, 2023
Nipun Dhananjaya Player of the Match 65 n.o. Sri Lanka A defeat England Lions by 6 wkts. to take series 2-1

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

Twenty two-year old Dushan Hemantha stole the honours with the bat stroking a typical Player of the Match workmanlike unbeaten 65 off 76 balls inclusive of 4 boundaries to guide Sri Lanka A to a comprehensive 6-wicket win over England Lions and pocket the 3-match ODI series 2-1 at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. It was significant that Nipun Dhananjaya, who skippered the Sri Lanka A Test team to a series triumph over the England Lions, returned in champion style having sat the reserve bench in the first two ODIs in carving out what was a composed innings bordering on the verve of seeing off the England howling attack to carrying the host team home. It was a pleasing fifth-wicket left hand combination of Dhananjaya, the former St. Joseph Vaz, Wennappuwa product and 26-year old Sahan Arachchige, the former Ananda College product, scripting the winning act displaying the wait and see maturity of inching their way in an unfinished 45-run alliance with the latter coming out of the cautious approach to sounding the solitary boundary in his 22-run innings with the winning hit.

Indeed, it was a refreshing new look fresher laden Lankan side drawn from several youngsters who had acquired themselves well in the on going National Super League domestic tournament breathe a new aura in this clinical sweeping aside of the England Lions. While Arachchige capped a good performance throughout the series having been among the wickets as well with his slow stuff, the new brigade also hinged on a 3-wicket take by debutante 25-year old Isitha Wijesundera, an all-rounder who cut his teeth in the game at Thurstan College, Colombo, and Dushan Hemantha the 28-year old leg spinner produced by St. Peter’s College with a 3-wicket haul as well ploughing through the England Lions batting as the visitors were bowled out for 166 in 45 overs on taking first lease. Hemantha went on to collect the Best Bowler of the Series award.

CHIEF SCORES: England Lions 166 (45 Overs) (Jacob Bethell 50, Jordan Cox 31, Tom Hartley 22, James Rew 15, Tom Prest 12, Jack Haynes 13, Isiltha Wijesundera 3/14, Dushan Hemantha 3/27, Dunith Wellalage 1/33, Sahan Arachchige 1/37) Sri Lanka A 167/4 (32.1 Overs) (Nipun Dhananjaya n.o. 65, Sadeera Samarawickrama 23, Sahan Arachchige n.o. 22, Lasith Croospulle 18, Nuwanidu Fernando 10, Mason Crane 2/41, Saqib Mahmood 1/24, Tom Hartley 1/46)

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