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Andrew Fidel Fernando
October 24, 2013
Board XI 501 (Sangakkara 169, Jayawardene 82, Dilruwan Perera 3-107) and 91 for 0 (Karunaratne 48*, Silva 41*) lead Sri Lanka A 125 (Udawatte 47, Senanayake 4-36, Herath 3-23) by 467 runs Scorecard
A dismal first-innings for Sri Lanka A may not necessarily end in defeat at SSC, as Board XI batted again at the end of penultimate day at SSC, perhaps in an effort to give key batsmen time in the middle. Sri Lanka A surrendered haplessly to the spin of Sachithra Senanayake and Rangana Herath, managing only 125 in response to the opposition's 501, and perhaps would have been staring squarely at defeat, had Board XI chosen to enforce the follow-on.
With the selectors keen to lock in their Test squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE however, it seems men like Kaushal Silva and Prasanna Jayawardene will get one more opportunity to push their case. At stumps Board XI were 467 runs ahead, with all ten second innings wickets remaining.
Senanayake now seems almost certain to assume the second spinner's role in the UAE after another encouraging first-class performance on his home ground. His 4 for 36 was the best haul yet in the match, and he had also taken seven wickets in the previous game - though that was in Herath's absence. Herath himself picked up 3 for 23 in 7.3 overs, while Nuwan Kulasekara and Suranga Lakmal shared the remaining three wickets.
Sri Lanka A will wonder how they have wound up in a situation so dire, given the first day's play was abandoned due to a sodden outfield. Offspinner Dilruwan Perera cleaned up the Board XI lower order with three wickets in the morning, and with victory almost impossible, Sri Lanka A only required two solid sessions with the bat to effectively get themselves to safety.
They began losing wickets in the first over, however, and the dismissals came in quick succession thereafter. Mahela Udawatte was the only man to offer meaningful resistance, hitting 47, while none of his remaining team-mates managed to eclipse 20. Herath, who came last into the attack, wiped out the lower order wickets early in the third session, after Senanayake had struck the definitive blows in the afternoon.
Board XI openers Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne moved to 41 and 48 respectively by stumps.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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