British Universities v Sri Lankans, Fenner's, 2nd day April 25, 2006

Samaraweera shines after top order stumbles

Cricinfo staff

Sri Lankans 289 and 140 for 4 (Samaraweera 82*, Kapugedera 40*) lead British Universities 125 (Clinton 44, Vaas 4-34, Zoysa 4-38) by 304 runs

Thilan Samaraweera steadied the Sri Lankan second innings after they fell to 38 for 4 © Getty Images
Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa helped themselves to four wickets apiece, but Sri Lanka's top order then wobbled on the second day against British Universities. Vaas and Zoysa helped knock the students over for 125, but Sri Lanka slipped to 38 for 4 before Thilan Samaraweera steadied the ship.

On an overcast day the bowlers found plenty of assistance, but Sri Lanka hit early resistance as David Wainwright and Damien Shirazi took the score from the overnight 13 for 2 to a healthier 59 for 2 when rain forced an early lunch. But Vaas was immediately into the action on the resumption removing both batsmen in quick succession.

Vaas claimed his third of the day when he trapped Luke Parker, the captain, lbw after having the batsman prodding and poking at swinging deliveries. Nick Lamb fell to a bat-pad catch leaving Richard Clinton, the Surrey batsman, to carry the innings. Clinton fought hard for his 44 as Zoysa ran through the lower order with late swing.

Unsurprisingly Sri Lanka opted not to enforce the follow-on, but if they'd entertained thoughts of some comfortable batting they were given a shock. In a flash they were 6 for 3 and when Tillekeratne Dilshan fell for 7 it was 38 for 4.

Samaraweera averted any further embarrassment as he built on his first-innings 36 with an attractive half-century. Together with the promising Chamara Kapugedera they pushed Sri Lanka's lead forward with an unbeaten stand of 102.

However, with the first Test just over two weeks away there is limited time for the Sri Lankans to find their feet in the early-season conditions. A strong England A side has been named to play them in 10 days time, then an inexperienced top order will have to front up at Lord's. This is early days on tour, but there is plenty of work to do.