International Cricket

Sri Lanka batsmen make merry against President's XI on day one of warm-up game

Four batsmen scored half-centuries to take Sri Lanka to 411/6 in the two-day game.

Four batsmen scored half-centuries to take Sri Lanka to 411/6 on day one of their two-day warm-up against Board President’s XI on Saturday.

Sadeera Samarawickrama geared up for a potential opening slot scored 74 off 77 balls and shared a 133-run stand with Dimuth Karunaratne (50 retired) as Sri Lanka declared at the end of day’s play after being put in to bat by Board President’s skipper Sanju Samson.

Wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who retired on 53, resumed his innings after the dismissal of Suranga Lakmal (3) in the 80th over and lit up the proceedings in final session with an unbeaten 73 off 59 balls. His innings was studded with 13 boundaries.

Comeback-man Angelo Mathews (54 retired) also struck a half-century while Dilruwan Perera (48 from 44) too enjoyed his time in the middle against an ordinary bowling attack before bad light stopped play after 88 overs.

Samarawickrama, who made his Test debut in the second and final Test against Pakistan in Dubai last month, faced the first delivery and showed his positive intent with a fluent off drive. The in-form left-handed opener Karunaratne, fresh from a career best 196 against Pakistan in the second Test last month, gave fine support at the other end as the duo gave the team a brisk start with 102 in 16 overs. Samarawickrama looked exquisite with his stroke making as he drove and cut with equal ease.

He was also not afraid to step out to Board’s spin duo of Jalaj Saxena and Akash Bhandari and completed his fifty off 46 balls, while his senior opening partner Karunaratne got to the mark in 62 balls before retiring in the 23rd over.

In the next over, Samarawickrama looked unsettled and miscued a hook from Avesh Khan and was caught at fine-leg as his impressive innings has virtually sealed the opening slot in place of axed Kaushal Silva in the first Test at Eden Gardens from November 16.

Silva, who made a comeback in the two Test series in UAE against Pakistan, made 67 runs in four innings with a top score of 27. Ace all-rounder Mathews, who is making a comeback after sustaining a calf injury in September that ruled him out of the entire Pakistan series, also looked in rhythm in his 93- ball effort before retiring at tea.

Sri Lanka had little trouble against the inexperienced bowling attack from the Board’s team barring pacer Avesh Khan, who returned with figures of 1/68 after a marathon 11-over spell. Pacer Sandeep Warrier and legspinner Akash Bhandari returned with two wickets each.

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