Rookie SL bowlers shine in drawn match
Sri Lankans 173 for 9 dec (Thirimanne 50, McCord 3-30) and 261 for 8 (Dickwella 63, Karunaratne 52) drew with New Zealand's Chairman's XI 125 (Hickey 57, Chameera 3-13, Kaushal 3-13)
Sri Lankan's rookie offspinner and seamer were the major movers and shakers on the second and final day of the drawn warm-up match in Queenstown, as they claimed three wickets apiece to help reduce the New Zealand Chairman's XI to 125 all out. Quick Dushmantha Chameera and offspinner Tharindu Kaushal only bowled 7.5 overs between them, but claimed 3 for 13 each. Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella also hit fifties in the second innings.
The Chairman's XI resumed play on 37 for 3, after Sri Lankans had made 173 for 9 declared, and the regular fall of wickets that had defined the first day, continued on the second morning. Dhammika Prasad was the first to strike, removing Matt Taylor for 19, before Chameera had opposition captain Cole McConchie caught behind to reap the first of his scalps.
The Chairman's XI was at 108 for 5 when Kaushal dismissed innings top-scorer Jono Hickey for 57 which sparked a deluge of lower-order wickets. The last five wickets fell for 17 runs, leaving Sri Lankans with a 48-run lead. Karunaratne retired out after hitting 52 from 75 balls, but even he was outdone for aggression by Niroshan Dickwella, whose 63 retired out was struck off 51 balls. Dinesh Chandimal remained 36 not out at the end of the match, after Lahiru Thirimanne added a 35 to his first-innings 50. Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews failed to make substantial contributions for the second time in the match, falling for 29 and 19 respectively. Sri Lankans scored 261 for 8 in 62.1 overs despite this.
Kaushal's haul places him well in contention for a Test cap on Boxing Day, with fellow offspinner Dilruwan Perera not having made a breakthrough in his eight overs. Perera has bowled with plenty of control in support of Rangana Herath this year, but is seen as a less attacking option than uncapped Kaushal, who comes highly-rated from the domestic circuit.
Chameera, who is among Sri Lanka's quickest young bowlers, will find it tougher to make it into the XI, despite his performance. Prasad, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep are also in the squad, and have played key roles in Sri Lanka's Test successes in the first six months of the year.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando