Sri Lanka A triumph in style
Sri Lankan players celebrate the dismissal of Sridharan Sriram
Sri Lanka A 198 for 3 (Mubarak 61, Jayawardene 54) beat India A 197 (Sriram 65, Maharoof 4 for 30) by 7 wickets
Mohamed Maharoof lead the way with some accurate medium pace bowling as Sri Lanka A romped home in the final of the Kenstar tri-series tournament in Kolkata. Having restricted India A to a modest 197, Jehan Mubarak and Prasanna Jayawardene stroked their way to half-centuries and steered their team home.
After losing the toss, the Sri Lanka A bowlers stuck to a nagging line that kept the batsmen, most of them in fine fettle, in a tight leash. Gautam Gambhir creamed five fours before Nuwan Zoysa, the left-arm medium-pacer, rattled his stumps. The run-rate was always kept under check and India A found partnerships of sizeable proportions hard to come by. Sridharan Sriram and Hemang Badani added 46 for the third wicket but both were tied down by some disciplined bowling.
Badani spooned a catch back to Rangana Herath, the left-arm spinner, and things went downhill from then. Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Mongia perished trying to up the rate and only Sriram's half-century prevented a collapse. Maharoof then got stuck into the lower order, fired in some incisive yorkers, and grabbed three wickets in the space of five balls.
The Sri Lankans began as if they were chasing 280 and whipped everything that was a shade off line. Shantha Kalavitigoda, after hammering four boundaries, was out lbw when he was rapped on the pads by Amit Bhandari with one that jagged back at the last moment. That caused a huge uproar in Eden Gardens, which was packed for today's game, but Mubarak and Jayawardene literally reduced the volume with some flourishing strokes. They added 104 in only 16.3 overs and Mubarak's 61 came off 65 balls. Both fell in quick succession to the spinners, but Russel Arnold and Naveed Nawaz maintained the tempo and applied the varnish without panicking. Maharoof was adjudged the Man of the Match while Arnold was declared the Man of the Series.