Jayawardene, spinners shine in warm-up win
Sri Lanka 296 for 9 (Jayawardene 74, Tharanga 55, Thirimanne 40, Gray 3-52) beat Emerging Cape Cobras 218 (Gray 93, Herath 3-33, A Mendis 3-49) by 78 runs
Sri Lanka's top order made the most of their practice game against Emerging Cape Cobras, before their spinners got a good work-out to seal a 78-run win at Brackenfell Sports Field.
The fixture was not on the original tour itinerary, but was added on a request made by the Sri Lankan team management. Batting first, Sri Lanka lost their captain Tillakaratne Dilshan cheaply, but were stabilised by a 123-run second wicket stand between Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga. Jayawardene had endured a barren Test series, and his poor run seemed set to continue when he offered opening bowler Brendan Young a return catch, but it was put down.
Jayawardene capitalised with 74 at better than run-a-ball, while Tharanga chipped in with a half-century in his first game on the tour. Thereafter, the Sri Lankans were propped up by chirpy cameos from the youngsters in the middle order - Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal. Legspinner Alistair Gray slowed down the visitors with three strikes in the middle overs, but Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis slogged efficiently, striking three sixes between them to the push the score to 296 for 9.
The Emerging Cape Cobras' chase got off to a poor start when they lost their biggest name, Richard Levi, for a duck in Malinga's opening over. Gray, the other opener, continued to have a good game, though. He made 93 off 126 balls to keep the home team in the hunt, but the spinners made frequent incisions at the other end. Mendis and Rangana Herath accounted for six of the victims as ECC's chase lost steam to collapse from 127 for 2 to 218 all-out.
Sri Lanka play the first of five ODIs against South Africa on January 11 in Paarl.