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July 27, 2011
Durham 303 and 222 for 8 (Plunkett 65*, Stokes 51) beat Sri Lanka A 203 and 319 (Senanayake 48, Plunkett 3-70)
A 112-run stand for the eight wicket dragged Durham over the line in a tight contest against Sri Lanka A at Chester-le-Street.
Entering the day with Sri Lanka A 184 for 4, Durham did well to force a result but on a day when 14 wickets fell, they will be relieved it was the result they wanted. Some gutsy lower-order batting Sachithra Senanayake and Shaminda Eranga pulled the visitors up from 192 for 6 with a 75-run stand. Both batsmen were positive, striking at over a run a ball and Senanayake was unlucky not to reach a deserved half-century, being bowled by Scott Borthwick for 48. Eranga ran out of partners and was left high and dry on 45.
That left Durham needing 220 for victory which looked plenty more when they lost their openers with just 30 on the board. A half-century for Ben Stokes, on his return from injury helped set the foundations and will be pleasing for Durham fans who have missed his hard-hitting in the middle order. He made 51 from 64 balls with five fours and a six.
While he was progressing, though, Durham lost much of their middle order and looked in real trouble when Stokes departed leaving the score at 104 for 7. That's when the eighth wicket pair of Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood took over and produced a matchwinning effort.
Plunkett finished unbeaten on 65 from 79, stroking six fours and a six while Wood made a more patient 48 from 82 before being run out near the end. Plunkett and Chris Rushworth ensured no further slip ups as the home side edged a good tussle.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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