Northamptonshire v Sri Lankans, Tour match, Northampton, 1st day June 5, 2014

Silva and Thirimanne flay weak Northants


Sri Lankans 358 for 3 (Silva 152*, Thirimanne 120*) v Northamptonshire

Wantage Road provided an atmosphere far removed from the tension that surrounded the end of the one-day series at Edgbaston as the Sri Lankans eased into Test preparation ahead of Lord's next week.

They will have been highly satisfied by their day's work. Kaushal Silva, who will open in the Test series, batted compactly and confidently throughout the day during a 186-ball hundred, and Lahiru Thirimanne, leading the tourists in the absence of the rested Angelo Mathews, benefitted from being dropped first ball by Ben Duckett to join Silva with a century during the final session from 151 deliveries.

"It was nice to spend some time in the middle. Overall they bowled really well. It's a nice pitch to bat on," Thirimanne said, before acknowledging his fortune. "It was a nice ball, I just nicked it and I was lucky to bat through the rest of the day."

The pair added 238 for the fourth wicket against a friendly Northamptonshire bowling attack, which delivered just six maidens in the day, although Steven Crook generated enough pace to keep the batsmen on their toes.

For David Willey it was his first outing with the ball in the first team this season, following the stress fracture of his back which has plagued him since the winter, ruling him out of the Lions, and he felt his way back into the bowling crease with 12 overs. He is expected to be limited to 20 in the match.

Alongside Mathews, who gave himself the match off, Rangana Herath was not given an outing before the Test series - offspinner Dilruwan Perera was offered a chance - while the pace attack next week could be made up of any combination of the seamers in the party.

Dimuth Karunaratne is clinging onto his Test berth at the moment so could have done with more than falling in the second over of the day, getting an inside edge into his thigh pad which flew to gully, and will have looked on wistfully as two colleagues filled their boots on a flat pitch in pleasant sunshine.

His opening partner, Silva, has far fewer concerns. A solid series against Pakistan in the UAE was followed by a maiden Test hundred in Dhaka. With a bat and pads that really looked too big for him, the diminutive Silva barely put a foot wrong as he compiled a textbook first-class innings, seeing off the new ball then building his tempo throughout the day. His first fifty took 123 balls, his second just 63, as a 16th boundary, driven through the off side, took him to three figures.

He was given a life on 124, dropped down the leg side off Matthew Spriegel as Duckett missed his second chance, and responded by clobbering the next delivery over deep midwicket for his second six. In the penultimate over of the day he ticked through to his 150 and, if the hunger persists in the morning, his career-best 193 is in sight.

At 120 for 3, the weakened Northamptonshire attack could be satisfied with their work having removed Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. That should have become four down straightaway when when Thirimanne edged Crook but Duckett, the England Under-19 player, spilled a regulation chance slightly to his left.

Thirimanne struggled at the start of the one-day series, especially against James Anderson, but found some form on moving down the order and was unbeaten on 60 when the series was wrapped up amid acrimony two days ago. If Sri Lanka decide not to persist with Karunaratne he could move back up the order although appears more at ease in his current role.

After the escape he was strong through the off side, although was fed plenty of take advantage of, and later added a six over the longer boundary towards deep midwicket off Graeme White. The final session of 30 overs brought 137 runs.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene had promised more substantial innings before both falling to excellent catches. Sangakkara could barely believe it when he pulled the part-time medium pace of Kyle Coetzer, who had just four first-class wickets, to deep backward square-leg, where debutant Chad Barrett judged the catch superbly near the rope.

After lunch Jayawardene - having skipped 46 with seven boundaries - was spectacularly held in the gully by Spriegel but the rest of the day became toil.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip on June 6, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    It is batting practice nonetheless and a good one at that too. Time in the middle is important and that is what is required.

    England may think they are playing a fast one on SL by letting Northants field a weakened team which could be referred to as not in the spirit of the game. How quickly things change.

    With players like Mathews and Herath to come back, this unit is pretty good.

    Not a one man band that is for sure. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • ESPN on June 6, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Thanks Kavum. I did indeed confuse those 2, not being a regular follower of the Sri Lankans. Feel they might be fairly competitive though given the right conditions in the tests coming up.

  • Martin on June 6, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    If Sri Lanka were to take the Test matches seriously they could give England - a side in transition and lacking in confidence - a real challenge. So it's a shame to see them rest players for their only 4-day warm up match. Surely they should be trying to put out a side as close to their Test starting eleven as possible. Herath has had very little cricket of late, so why rest him here? And when did Matthews, their captain and a key player, last play with a red ball?

  • Dummy4 on June 6, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    England is doing the exact thing what Australian did to them during the last year Ashes series down under; providing a very weak team practice matches. Anyway, it may backfire for England as it's better to spend sometimes in the middle against weaker bowlers to get use to English conditions rather than getting out cheaply against good bowlers. I think Sri lanka do well if the weather will stay sunny.

  • Sinhhalaya on June 6, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    @Mee Lainge who has obviously confused Kusal and Kaushal. Understandable if s/he also confuses Brian with Bryan or Jon with John. Agree with several posters that Northants is the bottom feeder in Div 01 and, as a warm up, the match is close to useless. Its like playing Fulham or Norwich instead of Man City, Liverpool or Chelsea. SL batters should not get overconfident that they scored against the worst team in Div 01. As it is, they should have scored around 400-450 in a day against this hapless, weakened and low-end bowling. Dimuth must be kicking himself for missing out.

  • Dummy4 on June 6, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    WOW Thirimanne is getting better and better every match... hope one day he can be Great Sangakkara!!!!

  • Nimmie on June 6, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    with a 1st Cl Bat Ave of 55+ to be groomed in this No 3. He has been sent everywhere but, No 3 because, it would be a big headache for the S'tors if he had scored big 100s, as he did against SA 'A',India,England (batting at No 3). The demoralizing of confidence gained over the years (from young age) by these quality players, in sending them low down in the batting order,can be considered as a heinous crime on the part of whomever responsible. They have become the Best schoolboy Cricketers of the Year for the reason that the consistency maintained, throughout their school careers. Players that can maintain consistency at school level is always in a position do so in his entire career, provided he is properly valued and guided by the persons responsible. Incidentally, in spite of our not winning a single Test series, since 2007, except B'desh, the keeping of these over hyped 2 at these top positions is a clear proof, that exhibits ignorance of S'tors.

  • Nimmie on June 6, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    Cricket fans must be puzzled, why these two 37 year olds are still batting at these No3 & 4 positions meant for young strokes(well controlled) filled batters of lightening reflex. Kausal & Dimuth are 2 good examples that we don't need services of aging 3. Surely these positions aren't meant for sticky-footed, reckless, risky stroke makers, yet to make a chanceless 50 at consistent basis. It should have been S'weera(the Best Schoolboy Cricketer 94&95) the ideal No 3 for the Country; unfortunately s'tors weren't competent enough to comprehend his value(sent him to bat@ No 8-11 positions in his 1st 10 mchs). The keeping of over hyped 3, for too long, is a clear indication of ignorance of both local media & S'lctors. Having too much faith on these defective inconsistent aging batters and keeping them too long in this vital positions would make things difficult for the Country in the long run. There's no better player than Chandimal (the Best Sch'lboy Cr'kter the Y2009) in the squad,

  • Ranil on June 6, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    Again a question of spirit of game comes here;is it in the right spirit the ECB to organise a very weak county lot to a visiting team??

  • sachit on June 6, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    While encouraging for SL I wouldn't read too much into the outcome here. Northants are finding it hard to compete in Division one and have been hapless all season.

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