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September 20, 2013
Sri Lanka A 252 (Silva 103, Sodhi 3-34) and 498 for 7 dec (Kusal 147, Chaturanga 103*, Priyanjan 103) drew with New Zealand A 299 for 9 dec (Cachopa 104, Dilruwan 6-87)
Three tons for Sri Lanka A on the final day's play, ensured that the first unofficial Test against New Zealand A ended in a stalemate in Pallekele. Kusal Perera had heralded the hosts' second-innings run glut with his unbeaten 62 from 45 on the penultimate evening, and his 147 on day four was followed by hundreds for Ashan Priyanjan and Chaturanga de Silva. Sri Lanka A's rapid scoring rate of 5.59 an over placed them in a position to set the visitors a target of around 230 and push for victory, but the hosts refused to gamble. They finished the match 451 runs ahead, with three wickets in hand.
Perera and his overnight partner Kithuruwan Vithanage attacked from the outset, as they had done the previous day, and soon had Sri Lanka's lead hurtling towards 200. Vithanage moved past 50, and Perera was three runs shy of his sixth first-class ton when rain interrupted play, forcing an early lunch. Vithanage departed soon after play resumed, giving legspinner Todd Astle his first wicket of the match. The pair had put on 145 in 140 deliveries, for Sri Lanka A's fourth wicket.
Perera then forged another century stand with Priyanjan, who also made his runs briskly, before falling to Doug Bracewell. Perera hit 17 fours and three sixes in his 147, and struck at better than a run-a-ball.
Perera's dismissal only gave the New Zealand A bowlers minor respite, as Priyanjan and de Silva moved quickly toward their hundreds. The medium pace of Daryl Mitchell eventually removed Priyanjan for 103, but the visitors could not dismiss de Silva, who moved to three figures with the final act of the game. Bracewell was New Zealand A's best bowler in a difficult second innings, taking three wickets for 102.
The series now moves to Dambulla, where the teams will begin their second unofficial Test on Monday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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