England v Sri Lanka, Under-19 World Cup, Dubai February 16, 2014

Sri Lanka fight back for one-wicket win


Sri Lanka Under-19s 231 for 9 (Samarawickrama 82, Sumanasiri 43) beat England Under-19s 230 for 9 (Tattersall 95, Anuk 3-49) by one wicket

In a match that ebbed and flowed, Sri Lanka Under-19s last-wicket pair edged past England Under-19s in the most thrilling match of the tournament so far. With all men in the ring, Anuk Fernando, Sri Lanka's No.10, dabbed the ball towards point and risked the single even with eight balls remaining. They scampered through and Sri Lanka had all but booked their place in the quarter-finals, with wins from both their games.

At 160 for 7 in the 35th over chasing 231, England looked the favourites but they weren't prepared for Sri Lanka's lower-order fight. Thilaksha Sumanasiri and AK Tyronne, the eighth-wicket pair, batted positively, exploiting an attacking field to even it up with a 43-run stand. The required rate was never a concern for Sri Lanka, and it was more a matter of keeping wickets in hand. Sumanasiri's dismissal, caught off a top edge, gave England an opening. Tyronne's scoop to cover tilted the scales towards England, but Anuk held his nerve, defended the odd delivery and saw his side through.

Both teams displayed character in an absorbing contest. Jonathan Tattersall grafted his way to 95 to get England to a total they could defend while the Sri Lanka opener Sadeera Samarawickrama kept his side in the hunt with a more aggressive 82.

The batsmen not only had to negotiate a slow surface but also an unusually large outfield. Curiously, the ropes were not brought forward, which meant that it was always going to be difficult scoring boundaries on one side of the wicket. Muscling the ball over the ropes would have been challenging even for more mature batsmen. The junior batsmen today had to work within those limitations and naturally, had to cover a lot of ground between the wickets. The England innings featured just ten fours, three sixes and a massive 178 dot balls.

The England top order failed after being asked to bat, losing their first four wickets for 43 within 11 overs. Sri Lanka's left-arm pace duo of Anuk and Binura Fernando hurried them on for pace and movement when the conditions suited them best. The left-arm spinner Harsha Rajapaksa claimed two wickets in his second over, beating Harry Finch with one that went through with the arm and bowling Ed Barnard off an inside edge.

England were in a similar position to India's yesterday, when a quick burst of wickets put extra pressure on the middle order. While India's recovery hinged on a century stand for the fifth wicket, England's was based on three half-century stands, with Tattersall the pivot. Will Rhodes added 71 with him for the fifth wicket, hitting two boundaries in his 38 before he was trapped lbw to Binura's inswing.

Tattersall kept pushing the singles and eventually reached his fifty, off 89 balls. His first boundary came off his 55th ball, when he lofted the offspinner AK Tyronne over long-on. He swept the same bowler down to deep square leg to bring up the fifty stand with Joe Clarke.

The last ten overs was the most productive for England as 78 came off it, with 55 of those coming off the last five alone. However, there were only three fours and two sixes in that period, indicative of the amount of running they had to do. Tattersall moved close to the 90s with a six off Binura over long-on in the 49th over, but a deserving century eluded him. He fell five short, caught brilliantly by Kusal Mendis running forward from long-on on the penultimate ball of the innings. He walked back satisfied, having helped England to a competitive 230.

The Sri Lanka openers found the boundaries easier to come by. Samarawickrama played some delightful drives through the covers to set his side racing to 46 after seven overs. Spin came to England's rescue as Rob Sayer trapped both Hashan Dumindu and Kusal Mendis lbw off successive balls. Priyamal Perera then edged to the keeper, leaving Sri Lanka in trouble at 87 for 4.

Binura made 19 before he was run out thanks to a sharp underarm throw by Tattersall. England continued to attack but it produced mixed results. It helped Samarawickrama and Sumanasiri clear the infield but also created opportunities for wickets. Samarawickrama was done in by the extra bounce and top-edged to cover. The pressure got to England when Sumanasiri, who looked dangerous after Samarawickrama's fall, was dropped by Dominic Sibley at deep square leg. He went on to score 43 off 42 balls.

Sumanasiri too succumbed to a top edge, off the captain Rhodes. Rhodes gambled by keeping many men in the ring, but the bowling didn't help his cause. Full tosses were driven and flicked and with every boundary, Sri Lanka ensured that they were never out of it.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • thusin on February 17, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    saw the match in intervals, and as a neutral observer, WHAT A MATCH... just refreshing and wicked to see how the youngsters absorb pressure and keep their heads above the water... nice going from the SL boys and what a game it has turned out to be.. Good TV viewing if these games are televised again as the World cup u19- is just hotting up.. Congrats to Sl boys for the entertainment.. Good fielding unit ,mind you..


  • udendra on February 17, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    @bjcm12: these players have been selected on their performances in the cricket field, not English. I think he should have been interviewed in Sinhala.

  • sunil on February 16, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    Good to have a SL commentator as long as it is not Sanath J, for God's sake. THE WHOLE WORLD CRINGES WHEN HE COMES ON. Good to see SL youngsters doing well. But be humble & smiling lads. Keep your feet on the ground. Thats how we have won so many hearts of the cricketing world.

  • Android on February 16, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    Great victory for SL youngsters...

  • Samapth on February 16, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Weldone Sri Lankan under 19 boys...Sadeera Samarawickrama rimind us the school days of Marven and Mahela,,,,Hope will be our future along wth stylish captain Kusal Mendis.....Hard hitting Thilaksha Sumanasiri can be a future ODI and T20 asset....The strength of the team is their batting line up which is down to the wire...Anuk fernando batting at number 10 shyows our batting depth...Any batsman up to number 10 is capable of scoring a century..Only worried factor is batting failure of wicket keeper Bhanuka....Sadeera Samarawickrama and captain Kusal Menddis also capable wicket keeper....Selector may thought to free our too top batters from extra responsilities...Otherwise better to replace Kavindu Kulakara

  • ESPN on February 16, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    I remember when we used to blood the cricketers in quite young back in the 80's. That's when they brought in Arvinda, Ranathunga, Ranjan Maddugala and siddath wettamuni few of those who made it to the top at a young age. Hope some of these boys will get an early opportunity to perform at national level. Mendis is a class player who is due a big one soon. Common selectors give these guys a break soon. Very proud of these guys who can bat down to number 11.

  • Danushka on February 16, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    sri lankan U19 team is clear favourites to the title because of their unbeaten run in last 8 matches.They have good batting side,decent bowling side and great fielding side.What else you want.India and pakistan got good sides.But the form team in the tournament is sri lanka.Best of luck to our team

  • Android on February 16, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    dat match was full of pure class !!!when i saw dat cover drives!!i think sanga came in to play for under19 matches!!one commentrator said that dat cover drives are more tecniqual than mahels cover drives!!wow dat is a nice show of cover drives!!

  • Android on February 16, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    srilanka under 19 beat india by 5 wickets in warm up matches

  • Rizwan1970 on February 16, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    In this game Sril Lankan youngsters shown a quality, which is sadly lacking in senior team. that is absorbing pressure and not cracked under it. When each of the player lost there wickets in crucial moment of the game out going player's face never showed dejected emotion but the body language to incoming player was as saying "I have done my job now it is your turn to do it". In contrast in senior team players are showing to much negative emotions when few thing are started to go wrong, quality opposition pound them and tune the tide to there way.It cost SriLanka two 20-20 world cup final, two world cup final, the Sarja test match with Pakistan and almost cost last two 20-20 match with Bangladesh from winning position. I will recommend seniors to watch this match and learn the lessons, even learning from juniors is not a thing to be shame.

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