Sri Lanka run Namibia into the ground
Sri Lanka 263 for 8 (Cooray 64*) beat Namibia 126 (Weerasinghe 4-24) by 137 runs
Sri Lanka made short work of Namibia at the R. Premadasa Stadium, beating them comfortably by 137 runs as they prepared for sterner tests ahead in the Under-19 World Cup. It was Sri Lanka's second successive win in Group C, following their four-wicket victory over Scotland on the opening day of the tournament.
From now onwards, however, they will be fully tested as they come up against stronger opposition, starting with the tournament favourites India whom they meet in their final group match on Friday. But with two wins under their belts already, Sri Lanka look assured of a place (barring any surprises) in the next round of the competition, the Super League quarter-finals.
Sri Lanka's batting yesterday showed more character than it did against Scotland, and the way they performed will have given them confidence for the remaining matches in the tournament.
After wiinning the toss, Sri Lanka ran up an impressive 263 for 8 off 50 overs with Dilan Cooray making a top score of 64 not out off 73 balls, with two fours and one six. A feature of the batting was the excellent running between the wickets which enabled them to reach an imposing total despite being somewhat tied down at 144 for 4 at the end of the 35th over.
The allround excellence of Sachitra Serasinghe, who bagged the Man-of-the-Match award, and the offbreaks of Supersub Rajeev Weerasinghe, who took 4 for 24, then proved too much for the inexperienced Namibians who succumbed to 126 all out in the 39th over.
Weerasinghe came into the attack in the 22nd over and took a wicket in his first over. He then proceeded to tie down the Namibian batsmen who looked much more comfortable playing the quick bowlers than the spinners. With Serasinghe, another offspinner, taking 3 for 22 to add to his knock of 41 off 56 balls (six fours) and the left-armer, Malinda Pushpakumura, taking 1 for 18, Namibia were all at sea against spin.
Namibia's coach, Andy Waller, described the running between the wickets of the Sri Lankan batsmen as "unbelievable".
"We had them at 144 for 4 off 35 overs and we thought we had a chance to restrict them to something like 220. I couldn't believe their professional levels on the field and their running between the wickets. Our guys kept looking for the boundaries instead of going for the singles. Really it should have been the other way around. Hopefully our guys will have learnt from that.
"I was disappointed with the way our guys gave away their wickets," added Waller. "We needed someone to put up their hands and do the job for us but no-one is doing it at the moment. We've got guys getting to 20s and 30s in every game and throwing it away. You can't keep telling them. They've got to put better value on their wickets."
Namibia's final match is against Scotland at the CCC grounds on Thursday and Waller considers the chances against them are much more `evenly balanced'. Meanwhile Sri Lanka's coach, Sumithra Warnakulasuriya, said that his team worked hard on their running between the wickets after their game against Scotland and was happy that it paid off yesterday.
"We were not happy the way they ran in the first game," said Warnakulasuriya. "In fact at the team meeting yesterday [Monday] it was the key discussion. We found our players were not running the first run fast, they were not communicating. These are the two areas we had problems. I think we came out quite well today and we are quite happy about it.
"We were also a little bit rusty in the first game. We didn't apply ourselves. Our players were far too relaxed. Sometimes that happens before a game. Today they got their act together." Warnakulasuriya added that his team was ready to take on India in their final group game and added: "We are quite capable of beating India.
"In the Afro-Asia finals we missed a few catches. That is why the game went the other way. We have the chance to get even here. Our fielding has shown a big improvement since then, with Ruwan Kalpage [the SLC fielding coach] with us full time."