Batsmen draw level for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Academy XI 236 for 6 (Mendis 70, Siriwardene 66) beat Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy 233 for 9 (Kayes 98, Naeem 52, Karunanayake 3-41) by four wickets
An impressive performance from the middle order helped Sri Lanka Academy level the three-match one-day series with a four-wicket win over the Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy in Colombo. Captain Jeewan Mendis scored 70, while Milinda Siriwardene made a 62-ball 66 and Nadeera Nawela chipped in with 40 as the hosts chased down a target of 234 in 48.5 overs.
Mahbubul Alam struck in his first two overs to reduce Sri Lanka to 12 for 2, but Nawela and Mendis steadied the innings with a 79-run stand. An 85-run partnership followed between Mendis and Siriwardene after Nawela was run out. Mendis took 121 deliveries for his 70, while Siriwardene kept the chase in pace with the required-rate, hitting four fours and two sixes in his innings.
When Siriwardene was lbw to offspinner Naeem Islam, Sri Lanka still needed 25 off 27 balls. Arafat Sunny, the left-arm spinner, took his second wicket of the match to leave the hosts at 216 for 6 off 46.3, but wicketkeeper Gihan De Silva and Sachith Pathirana steered them to victory.
Bangladesh would perhaps rue not having scored a few more runs in their innings. Imrul Kayes top scored with 98 and at a strike-rate of around 80, but the other top-order batsmen Shamsur Rahman and Sunny were unable to push the scoring. Captain Naeem gave the innings momentum with his 58-ball 52. However, Shalika Karunanayake, who conceded 41 in his seven overs, removed Kayes, Naeem and Ziaur Rahman, Bangladesh's hero in the first game, in his three successive overs. Three run-outs didn't help their cause as they finished on 233 for 9.
Both the teams will face off in the series decider on Thursday.