Debutant Asitha bowls Sri Lanka A to narrow win

Sri Lanka A 299 (Udawatte 64, Hasan 4-63) and 131 ( Azizullah 4-21, Nawaz 4-31) beat Pakistan A 277 (Nawaz 68) and 120 (Asitha 5-33, Pathirana 3-27) by 33 runs

Asitha Fernando, who was Sri Lanka's leading wicket-taker in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, claimed seven wickets on first-class debut, including five in the last innings, to secure a slim victory for Sri Lanka A in Leicester. The result meant Sri Lanka A went 1-0 up in the two-match series against Pakistan A in England.

Seamer Asitha returned 2 for 42 in the first innings to help bowl Pakistan A out for 277 and gain Sri Lanka A a first-innings lead of 22 runs. Spin-bowling allrounders Ashan Priyanjan and Sachith Pathirana also took two wickets each, after a 104-run partnership for the third wicket between Mahela Udawatte (64) and Roshen Silva (48) had underpinned Sri Lanka A's total of 299.

Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Nawaz made half-centuries for Pakistan A, but the rest of the batsmen fell away. From 190 for 4, Pakistan A were dismissed for 277 in 88 overs.

Nawaz then starred with the ball as well, as he and seamer Azizullah picked up four wickets each to skittle Sri Lanka A for 131 and set Pakistan A a target of 154.

Asitha combined with the other Fernando - Vishwa - and wiped out Pakistan A's top order quickly, leaving them 35 for 5 at one stage. Ultimately they were bowled out for 120 in 46.5 overs. Asitha ended with figures of 5 for 33 in 9.5 overs. Barring opener Jaahid Ali (38) and wicketkeeper Mohammad Hasan (24), who came in at No. 9, no Pakistan A batsman managed to pass 20.

The two teams will meet again in the second four-day match at Worcester, starting July 10.