February 17, 2002

Sri Lanka A complete clean sweep against Kenya


Sri Lanka A completed a three-nil clean sweep in their unofficial Test series against Kenya on Sunday when they defeated the visitors by 199 runs at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

The third game was the most keenly contested of the series, with Kenya showing greater discipline and determination than they had hitherto displayed, but the hosts always looked likely winners having posted a formidable 404 run target.

Kenya's openers, Ravindu Shah (48) and Kennedy Otieno (45), begun resolutely on Saturday and this morning they extended their opening partnership to 88 before they were parted.

But once separated only Steve Tikolo provided substantive resistance, the 31-year-old scoring a solid and unusually restrained 58 from 131 balls.

Tikolo finished the series with one century and two fifties to become Kenya' s highest run scorer of the series with an aggregate of 314 runs.

Shah, the only other visiting batsman to impress on the tour, displaying an unflappable temperament and an organised technique, finished with a 307 run aggregate.

Collins Obuya was the pick of the Kenyan bowlers, finishing with 11 wickets.

Upul Chandana was Sri Lanka A's outstanding player, the highest run scorer (287) and wicket taker (18).

Tillakaratne Dilshan also impressed, probably doing enough to book a berth on Sri Lanka's tour of England, where his soundness against fast bowling gives him an edge over his rivals.

Of the bowlers, Ruchira Perera was typically full of energy and effort, despite unfavourable conditions for the faster bowlers.

Muthumudalige Pushpakumara had a relatively poor series with the willow, but made an impression with his off-breaks, taking 12 wickets.

Rangana Herath waited the final innings before he made his mark, picking five for 52 with his accurate left-arm spin.

Indeed, it was Herath that eventually broke Kenya's gritty first wicket partnership, as Shah feathered a catch into the safe gloves of Prassana Jayawardene behind the stumps.

He then picked up Otieno at short leg off bat and pad. Next over, Maurice Odumbe also perished from a bat-pad catch, this time off Chandana.

Kenya, 88 for no loss at one stage, were now in trouble on 104 for three.

Hitesh Modi and Tikolo tried to consolidate, adding 32 for the fourth wicket, but when Modi - who hit four boundaries in his 22 - was bowled around his legs whilst trying to sweep, Kenya started an inevitable slide to defeat.

David Obuya registered a 24 minute duck before edging to slip and Palusthi Gunaratne, a 28-year with a strong slingy action, took two wickets in two balls: Collins Obuya trapped lbw and Martin Suji clean bowled.

Gunaratne also trapped Joseph Angara lbw and Herath picked up Brijesh Patel before Tikolo was last man out, caught and bowled off a leading edge.