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The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill
August 9, 2010
Sri Lanka 176 for 5 (Vithanage 51*, Rajapaksa 46, Best 2-38) beat England 175 (Gregory 87, de Mel 3-23, Rajaguru 3-33) by five wickets
Sri Lanka Under-19 drew level in their limited-overs series against England Under-19, Kithuruwan Vithanage's unbeaten fifty setting up a five-wicket win in the second match at Arundel. Paul Best won the toss yet again and decided to bat first, but his side were soon in trouble and England were bowled out for just 175 in the final over of their innings, Lewis Gregory's 87 the only score of note. The Sri Lankans pegged England back as several players contributed in the field, and it was a similar story when they batted with runs spread through the middle order.
It had looked as though this would be another close-fought affair between these two sides when Yasoda Lanka was run out by Adam Ball for just 7 in the sixth over and Rumesh Buddika's aggressive innings was cut short soon afterwards as Sri Lanka slipped to 32 for 2. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Vithanage's 72-run stand for the third wicket put their side firmly on top.
Rajapaksa cracked eight fours as he and Vithanage rattled along at well over a-run-a-ball, but his dismissal for 46 by Best shortly after Sri Lanka's score had gone past 100 sparked a nervous passage of play. Wicketkeeper Denuwan Rajakaruna was trapped in front of his stumps by Joe Root fifth ball and Best had his second wicket three overs later when he bowled Dhanushka Gunathilleke for 14 as Sri Lanka slipped to 125 for 5.
But Vithanage kept calm, finding an able partner in Akshu Fernando, who struck two fours and two sixes in an otherwise circumspect unbeaten 29. Together they carried Sri Lanka over the line with more than 15 overs to spare, putting on 51 for the sixth wicket. Vithanage capped his day by cracking James Thorpe for four to go past fifty and seal the win in one stroke. This is just the sort of nerveless innings he is already becoming known for after steering Sri Lanka to a tense one-wicket win over Pakistan in the Tri-Nation Under-19 tournament in Sri Lanka last year
As they have done several times already in helpful conditions on this tour, Sri Lanka's left/right new-ball pair of Chathura Peiris and Sanitha de Mel made early inroads into England's line-up. On this occasion de Mel proved particularly destructive, removing Joe Root, Jack Manuel and Alex Barrow in quick succession in his opening spell before Rajapaksa had Zafar Ansari, on his England Under-19 debut, caught behind to leave the home side tottering at 41 for 4.
Gregory and Luke Wells clawed things back for England with a half-century stand for the fifth wicket - the highest partnership of the innings - before Wells gave Nadeera Rajaguru the first of his three wickets. Gregory went to his own fifty from 105 balls, and picked up his scoring rate thereafter, but wickets continued to fall around him and he was the last man out as England's 10th wicket fell with two balls remaining in their innings.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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