Sri Lanka survive Scottish scare

Sri Lanka 187 for 6 (Serasinghe 64, Goudie 3-25) beat Scotland 186 (Farid 76, Perera 3-26) by 4 wickets

Hosts Sri Lanka were given a scare by Scotland but were the eventual winners of their opening match in the Under-19 World Cup at the R. Premadasa Stadium .

After being put into bat, Scotland gave a good account of themselves after recovering from a hopeless position of 30 for 5 to make a respectable 186. They then had Sri Lanka struggling at 98 for 5, but a lack of experience was the telling difference between the two sides.

A combination of factors had Sri Lankan nerves jangling; a mix-up between openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Sameera de Zoysa, followed by some loose batting from the middle-order and lively bowling by Gordon Goudie provided a perfect start to the tournament for Scotland.

However, Sri Lanka can count themselves fortunate that Scotland were let down by some poor catching and bowling. The most crucial of those misses was the catch offered by Sachithra Serasinghe, on 34 at the time, off Calum Macleod, which Moneeb Iqbal spilled at third man. At that stage, Sri Lanka were 129 for 4 in the 30th over and anything could have happened. Serasinghe was dropped again soon afterwards off a no-ball.

To add to their woes Scotland also conceded 38 extras which they could ill-afford to do especially in a one-day match. In their two warm-up matches they had shipped 51 extras, so it was not a real surprise.

Kasiam Farid, Scotland's captain, admitted his team had let themselves down: "In a one-day game extras are always going to be costly," he said. "It's always going to take it out one way or the other. We were in a very good position to disappoint Sri Lanka and all the boys put in a big effort to do that."

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said that the game was an eye-opener for his team and added that he was not happy with their performance, although they ran out eventual winners.

"We should have won more convincingly. We started off well in the morning but we threw it away in the latter stages," he said. "We can't afford to make such mistakes in the future games. We need to take these matches very seriously and perform better," said Mathews.

With regard to failure of the top-order batting, Mathews said: "We haven't done very well in the recent past and we'll need to come good soon if we are to make an impact. The batsmen are normally free scoring. They will have to concentrate more on their batting and stick it out."

Serasinghe, though, made use of the lapses of Sri Lanka's top-order and made 64 off 91 balls, with six fours and a six, but Farid bagged the Man-of-the-Match award for his fighting knock of 76 off 89 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes) without which Scotland would have been hard pressed to come up with a competitive total.

Sri Lanka's seamers - Mathews, Tissara Perera and Shalika Karunanayake - revelled in the conditions and captured eight of the ten wickets. The Sri Lankan batting was pushed onto the back foot by Goudie who rocked them with three wickets for 10 runs in his first spell of seven overs. It was Scotland's inexperience that allowed Sri Lanka to wriggle out of a tight situation. Both sides were guilty of being penalised for no-balls and wides which contributed to a total of 69 extras in the match.