Karunaratne leads SLC Combined XI to victory
SLC Combined XI 212 for 3 (Karunaratne 109*) beat Sri Lanka A 211 (Priyanjan 51, Serasinghe 3-34) by 7 wickets
A faltering Sri Lanka A were beaten comprehensively by SLC Combined XI, in the third match of the List A tri-series in Pallekele. SLC Combined captain Dimuth Karunaratne hit an unbeaten hundred as his side ran down Sri Lanka A's 211 with seven wickets in hand and more than nine overs to spare. Both teams have been beaten once by the Rest of Sri Lanka side so far in the tournament.
Offspinning allrounder Sachithra Serasinghe also contributed significantly to the win, first removing three top-order batsmen in a long first spell, then returning with the bat to help secure smooth passage towards victory. He bowled Niroshan Dickwella, who, upon promotion to the top order, had built a 45-run stand with Udara Jayasundera after the early loss of Dilshan Munaweera. Serasinghe then had captain Angelo Perera lbw not long after, before dismissing Jayasundera in the 23rd over. Serasinghe conceded just 34 in 8.4 overs.
A half-century from Ashan Priyanjan helped Sri Lanka A post an acceptable total after having been 79 for 5, but his rebuilding efforts were repeatedly thwarted by regular wickets at the other end. Coming in at No. 6, he largely had to make do with tailenders for company. Priyanjan was dismissed in the 45th over by Malinga Bandara, and his side was bowled out in the 49th.
In response, Karunaratne forged an 80-run opening partnership with Mahela Udawatte that became the foundation of SLC Combined's innings, which was never put into strife. Suranga Lakmal and Vimukthi Perera - the bowlers who had wreaked havoc on the Rest of Sri Lanka's top order on Tuesday - were expensive in this match, giving away runs at more than six and seven runs an over respectively. The spin bowlers fared better, but were unable to add more than two wickets to the scalp Lakmal earned.
Serasinghe joined Karunaratne with 68 runs to get, and the pair breezed through the rest of the chase, hitting their target in ten overs, as Karunaratne crossed 100 with a six off Lakmal. His 109 not out came in 125 deliveries, and featured 12 fours and a six.
Sri Lanka A will play their third match in three days against Rest of Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here