South African Invitation XI v Sri Lankans, Potchefstroom, 3rd day December 20, 2016

Warm-up match ends productively for SL batsmen

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Sri Lankans 212 for 5 (Chandimal 60, Kusal Perera 51, Tharanga 50) & 373 drew with South African Invitation XI 289 (du Plooy 142, Kumara 3-36, Pradeep 3-41)
Scorecard

File photo - Dinesh Chandimal hit a quickfire 60 on the final day of the warm-up game © Associated Press

Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal hit fifties on the final day of the Sri Lankans' practice match at Potchefstroom, which wound to a draw. Seven out of eight batsmen on tour have now struck half-centuries in the approach to the first Test, with four men having reached the milestone in the first innings. Angelo Mathews was the only batsman to miss out, but nevertheless spent time at the crease on Tuesday, hitting a 52-ball 37 before the match was called off.

Kusal Perera and Tharanga opened the innings after Nuwan Pradeep had quickly claimed the last two South African Invitation XI innings in the morning. They put on 91 together and were each retired out after reaching their half-centuries. Dinesh Chandimal then struck a 52-ball 60 that featured nine fours and a six, before being dismissed by left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin. Kusal Mendis had hit a fifty in the first innings, but also fell to Fortuin for two.

The batting group, in particular, will have emerged from the tour match with confidence - no drastic changes appear necessary to the top order that played in the home series against Australia. Sri Lanka are travel to Port Elizabeth on Wednesday ahead of their Boxing Day Test. The major point of contention may be the No. 3 spot, with Kusal Mendis having now settled in at No. 4. Kusal Perera is the leading contender to come in at first drop, but the management may consider Upul Tharanga for that position as well, following his success in Zimbabwe.

Questions remain about the make-up of the attack however. Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep appear sure to play, but Dushmantha Chameera's modest showing since his return from injury may hurt his chances of playing. Despite an unconvincing start to his career in Zimbabwe, Lahiru Kumara's 3 for 36 in the practice match has now put him in contention for the XI.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rajcan on December 23, 2016, 4:53 GMT

    @@CRICINFOUSER, Cricket is not about youngsters, it is about performance, Spectators on the ground or off the ground watching on TVs are paying to see perfomances. They dont care whether 20 yr old in the field or 40 yr old. It seems only you care about that.

    When people put out statistics from a reliable source espncricinfo, you simply calling them UT fans.

    Yes, Tharanga has and had better averages than many who opened or still opening for SL. Karunaratne, Kaushal and Kusal should be replaced and should have been replaced, period.

  • SLHerath34786 on December 22, 2016, 15:07 GMT

    @crzcric: How come Tharanga, dragged into the SL list of eternal failures during past 4 yrs? Upul had contributed 611 @ 41 av from his 8 repeatedly interrupted random tests allowed for him, since recalled in 2014 (axed 4 times within 8 tests to cut his progress & salvage DK/KS). This is the best test record among all seniors apart from Chandi since 2014. Even Mathew's recent 8 tests 313 @ 19 av (4-singledigits). I wonder why "who ever failing" policy did not apply to DK, KS, KJP despite repeated failures during past 4 yrs? 1) Dimuth's last 8 consecutive tests had 450 @ 30 av (8-single-digit). 2) K Silva's last 8 consecutive tests had 470 @ 29 av (7-single-digit) apart from world's worst openers record, similar to KJP's single-digit under 10 ball world record as SL ODI opener 27in /105 runs @ 3.88 av/HS 9/ 204 b/ 51 SR

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/300631.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=start;runsmax1=9;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

  • htr9 on December 22, 2016, 7:27 GMT

    @CRICINFOUSER first of all I'm not UT fan so please do not be hypothetical. Second do not take anything personally then you can your inner peace :).

  • Cricinfouser on December 22, 2016, 5:46 GMT

    @UTFan, yep those players are over 31 but never cried about not having enough matches or being a very experienced but very unexperinced average. We cry for youngsters hoping they would mature and have better status when they get to 30s so they would not have to give excuses for having very low average.

  • htr9 on December 22, 2016, 3:44 GMT

    Please stop crying about player's age , See most of the SA players(Alma-33,ABD-32,Faf-32,DPdumuny-32,Steyn-33,Morkel-32,Thahir-37,Philander -31) are over 30 . but our fans cry for youngsters, Talent which maters not age.

  • crzcric on December 22, 2016, 3:34 GMT

    This series should decided the fates Dimuth,Kaushal ,Kusal perera and Tharanga. Who ever failing must be dropped and give chance to new players. Dhanushka Gunathilake,Niroshan Dickwella and Minod Bhanuka making some big runs and proving they deserve at least half of the opportunities current lot got. Selectors have a responsibility to give them opportunities when they are in form.

  • Cricinfouser on December 22, 2016, 3:24 GMT

    Oh no, andrew, why cant you put blame on KJP , dimuth, kaushal duo, mathews, mendis and praise the worlds best batsmen ever 31 year old younster Tharanga with world best average of 33. I think now president should look in to the matter of the conspiracy, bashing of village boy by the colombo boys basher club, which prevented UT from go past Sangas records. lol. this is getting funnier and funnier.

  • rajcan on December 22, 2016, 2:34 GMT

    @ANDREW FIDEL FERNANDO, With due respect, I have never seen you writing anything about Kusal Perera when he has been walking wicket putting lot of pressure on other batsmen, but you have written about other player's weakness.

    Even in this match, his strike rate is so poor batting at no.s and opening. What makes you to suggest there is no need in changing the XI played for Autralia series?

    Thanranaga deserve and proved time to time he is better batsman than Kusal and he is able to contribute consistently, rather once in a blue moon cameo from Kusal.

  • rajcan on December 22, 2016, 2:22 GMT

    When is the selectors going to drop Kusal J Perera from top order, endless chances and proved it again Selectors are wrong. Where as Tharanga proved it again that he is an opener, thats where he scored a lot and thats where he belongs to.

    Kusal J perera batted no.3 position first innings and scored 25 runs at the strike rate of 51. Batted second innings as an opener scored 51 at the rate of 58.

    Tharanga opened second innings in his favorite position scored 50 at the rate of 64.9

    Do we still need to experiment and allowing inconsistent walking wicket Kusal Perera to continue in the top order. He should be send as no.7 or 8 batsman.

  • Cricinfouser on December 22, 2016, 1:41 GMT

    @UTFan, oh thanks mate, you really opened our eyes to the truth, the road of the salvation, the path of the righteous. Sri Lanka have a problem with batting, have problem with opening, we never understood that until today. Lets put the promised batsmen that sent for the redemption, the greatest opener of all, the mighty Tharanga with average of 33

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