British Universities v Sri Lankans, Fenner's, 1st day April 24, 2006

Sri Lanka indebted to Tharanga

Cricinfo staff

British Universities 13 for 2 (Shirazi 5*, Wainwright 4*) trail Sri Lanka 289 (Tharanga 100) by 276 runs

Tharanga apart, Sri Lanka's batsmen lacked intent and purpose on the opening day of their tour © Getty Images
Sri Lanka opened their tour of England with a tame batting display against the British Universities, but were buoyed by an impressive and energetic hundred from Upul Tharanga. The tourists were dismissed for 289 from 74 overs, with Ruel Brathwaite and Mali Richards bowling impressively for the university side.

Brathwaite - the 20-year-old seamer from Loughborough - delivered an early blow to Sri Lanka, removing Michael Vandort, feathering an edge, in just the third over. After confidently getting off the mark, the Sri Lanka captain, Mahela Jayarwardene received one from the same bowler which nipped back sharply to bowl him through the gate. All of a sudden, Sri Lanka were in a spot of trouble.

Tharanga then dominated the attack, accompanied by Thilan Samaraweera, hitting some scorching drives mainly through the off side. He brought up his hundred from 134 balls, and though he fell to a tame slog-sweep immediately after lunch, the significance of his knock soon became apparent as none of his team-mates could capitalise on his efforts. Following the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya, and injury to Marvyn Atapattu, the opening position for Sri Lanka is up for grabs ahead of the first Test.

In contrast to Tharanga's fluency, Samaraweera - though he batted solidly - lacked intent and purpose; he fell to Richards just before tea for a turgid 36 from 109 balls. Sri Lanka's innings then fell away, thanks to tight bowling from the seamers and four catches from the wicket-keeper, Josh Knappett. Nuwan Zoysa, the No. 10, swung lustfully for his 32 clobbering four fours and two enourmous sixes to edge his side up to a score of relative respectability. Richards, son of the former West Indies legend Viv, ended with 3 for 62 while Brathwaite grabbed 3 for 61.

The university side had to endure a tricky six over before stumps, losing two wickets to Zoysa and Chaminda Vaas's inswingers with just 13 on the board.