Sri Lanka A prevail in high-scorer despite Umar heroics
Sri Lanka A 348 for 6 (Udawatte 161, Kapugedera 101, Kandamby 59, Razzaq 4-70) beat Pakistanis 333 (Umar 103*, Alam 85, Razzaq 56, Fernando 3-50, Maharoof 3-75) by 15 runs
It was a day of big hundreds as Mahela Udawatte and Chamara Kapugedera lifted Sri Lanka A to a huge total batting first, before another supreme knock from Umar Akmal drew the Pakistanis close. The visitors narrowly missed out in the high-scorer at the Welagedera Stadium, which would have been a big confidence booster ahead of the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka which gets underway on Thursday.
Sri Lanka A were off to a horror start once captain Thilina Kandamby opted to bat. Abdul Razzaq struck with the first two balls of the match to send back Upul Tharanga and Kaushal Silva. Sri Lanka A though, mounted a superb recovery as Udawatte and Kandamby put on 114 for the third wicket. Udawatte was at his imperious best during his 135-ball knock, which included 19 fours and two sixes. Kapugedera joined Udawatte in the 20th over, and from then on it was Sri Lanka A all the way. Kapugedera hit six fours and two sixes during his 91-ball stay, and compounded Pakistan's misery further by putting on a massive 222-run stand for the fourth wicket with Udawatte. Both batsmen were dismissed by Razzaq who finished with 4 for 70.
Dilhara Fernando and Farveez Maharoof buoyed by their team's big score, rattled the Pakistani top order during the chase. The visitors had slipped to 29 for 3 before Shahid Afridi (34) and Fawad Alam (85) kept them in with a chance. Following their dismissals, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan failed to kick on and that left the lower order with too much to do.
But that did not worry Umar, who smashed seven fours and three sixes in a mature display. The 19-year-old grew in confidence through his strokeplay and was lent support by Razzaq, who stroked a blitzkrieg 56 off 29 balls, that pushed Sri Lanka A all the way. But lightning struck twice, with Maharoof and Fernando doing the damage towards the end, as Umar was left stranded on an unbeaten century.