Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Perera and fringe allrounder Shehan Jayasuriya all strengthened their cases for being picked for the World Cup squad with strong performances in the second round of the Super Four Provincial Limited-Over Tournament.
De Silva was clearly the standout player of the round. Coming in at No. 3 for Galle, he struck 89 off 76 balls against a Dambulla attack featuring Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando, Jeevan Mendis and Lakshan Sandakan, helping propel his team to 345 for 8, in Dambulla. Lahiru Thirimanne (82 off 96 as opener), Milinda Siriwardana (65 off 44) and Minod Bhanuka (44 off 36) also made substantial contributions to that total.
As had been the case in the recent tour of South Africa, de Silva was also effective with the ball, taking 3 for 57, even though he conceded runs at 6.33 in his nine overs. Only Mathews could muster a half-century for Dambulla, making 78 off 84, as his team fell short by 76 runs.
It was offspinning allrounder Jayasuriya, however, who produced the only century of the round, making 115 off 133 for Colombo in what turned out to be a nail-biter against Kandy. That Jayasuriya innings was supported by Angelo Perera's 84 off 82 balls - the pair putting on a 138-run fourth-wicket stand to lead Colombo to 289 for 6 batting first in Pallekele.
No World Cup hopeful put in an eye-catching performance for the Kandy side. Dimuth Karunaratne, who is being talked about as a captaincy option despite not having played an ODI in years, made 44 off 58 balls. The only batsman to cross fifty for Kandy was 24-year-old Sangeeth Cooray, who hit 82 off 100.
Galle captain Lasith Malinga also extended his good run with the ball. Two days after taking 7 for 49 against Kandy, he took 1 for 32 off eight overs.