Sri Lanka A put it across India A
Sri Lanka A 301 for 3 (Arnold 96*, Jayantha 92) beat India A 300 for 8 (Gambhir 113) by 7 wickets
The things confidence can do. Sri Lanka A, buoyed by a gritty victory in the recent third Test, ran all over India A at Kolkata's Eden Gardens in the first one-dayer of the Kenstar Tournament, which also involves Pakistan's A team. A target of 301 was achieved with two overs - and more emphatically, seven wickets - to spare.
Russel Arnold (96*) and Saman Jayantha (92) could not quite reach centuries, but they scored rapidly, and helped the team achieve a monumental target with ease. Naveed Nawaz, who captained Sri Lanka A in the Tests, highlighted the inadequacies of the Indian attack, slamming 57 in 44 balls with three sixes and four fours.
An early breakthrough by Sanjay Bangar - dismissing Shantha Kalavitigoda - when Sri Lanka A were on 39 was an encouraging start, but it all went downhill from there. Jehan Mubarak came out and toyed with the bowling, putting 25 on the board before Sairaj Bahutule struck him on the pads in front (76 for 2). Jayantha and Arnold then went about scoring runs as if they were going out of fashion until, 126 runs later, Jayantha fell to Dinesh Mongia's part-time left-arm spin (202 for 3). Then came Nawaz, and there went the game.
The Sri Lankan innings, from start to finish, was one continuous assault and nothing anyone did could stop the flow of runs. Consider this: Amit Bhandari bowled six overs for 41 runs, and his replacement, Munaf Patel, gave away 49 in five. Bangar went at five an over, and Bahutule's legspin close to that. Even Sarandeep Singh went for 54 in 10 - no matter who bowled, the runs wouldn't stop.
Earlier Gautam Gambhir had scored a sparkling century to power India to 300, but even that was a below-par total considering the phenomenal start. With 11 hits to the fence, and one beyond it, Gambhir stamped his authority on the bowlers, while Mohammad Kaif (71) ran a lot, not bothering too much about the boundaries. The rest of the batsmen didn't do a great deal, though Mongia did hold the tail together and was unbeaten on 23 at the end of the innings.
Nuwan Zoysa, opening the bowling for Sri Lanka A, took the wickets of Hemang Badani and Bahutule, but gave away 81 runs, 24 of them through extras (18 no-balls and six wides). Rangana Herath was the hardest to get away, going for only 45 in 10 - very economical in the context of such a high-scoring game - and dismissing Kaif in the process.
Sri Lanka A take on Pakistan A at Kolkata tomorrow in the next match of the series.