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Andrew Fidel Fernando
October 3, 2013
New Zealand A 274 for 9 (Munro 50, Ellis 46*, Rambukwella 4-30) were defeated by Sri Lanka A 278 for 7 (Karunaratne 70, Chandimal 48, Milne 2-44)
Ramith Rambukwella was impactful with ball and bat, as he drove Sri Lanka A to a series victory against New Zealand A, in the deciding unofficial ODI in Dambulla. New Zealand A scored 274 for 9, after Rambukwella's 4 wickets for 30 leashed the middle order, and curbed promising partnerships partnerships.
His 36 from 29 then swung the chase definitively in Sri Lanka's A's direction, who surpassed their opponents with three wickets in hand and nine balls to spare. Dimuth Karunaratne also hit his fifth consecutive score above 50 - three of which had come in the one-dayers, for which he won the player of the series award. He hit 271 runs in the series - almost twice as many as the next-best batsman - averaging 90.33.
Rambukwella's offspin accounted for four wickets in succession between the 15th and 32nd over, after Suranga Lakmal and Sachithra Serasinghe had struck once each, early in the innings. Colin Munro hit the only half-century for New Zealand, put on 74 runs for the fifth wicket with Luke Ronchi - the largest of the innings - before Rambukwella removed them both in quick succession.
His burst had left the visitors struggling at 169 for 6, but New Zealajd A recovered through Andrew Ellis, who hit 46 not out from 42 and Ronnie Hira, who struck 30 from 23. The pair hit 60 runs for the ninth wicket in 41 balls.
Sri Lanka A's seam bowlers had an expensive day again, as Shaminda Eranga went at ten an over during this three overs, and Lakmal managed little better, conceding 49 from his 6 overs - though he also took two wickets.
Kusal Perera provided another lightening start to the hosts' innings - albeit a briefer one than he had provided in the previous match, as he hit three fours and a six in a 25-ball 16 before being bowled by Adam Milne.
Karunaratne hit only seven fours in the innings, but progressed busily too, hitting 70 from 78, having forged a 110 run stand with Dinesh Chandimal along the way. Chandimal's demise for 48 and Angelo Perera's fall soon after left the hosts with 97 to win from 92 balls and five wickets remaining, but Rambukwella's salvo and a fine finishing innings from Ashan Priyanjan, who hit 47 from 40, secured the match for the hosts.
Milne and Ellis took two wickets apiece for New Zealand A, but their spin bowlers were unable to emulate the efficacy of Sri Lanka A's slow-bowlers.
The match brought New Zealand A's difficult tour of the subcontinent to a close. They had drawn two four-day matches with India A, before being whitewashed in the one-dayers, and they have now lost both the first-class and List A series against Sri Lanka A.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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