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Tour Match, New Plymouth, January 28, 2001, Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand
(46.4/50 ov, T:277) 248

won by 28 runs


Exhilarating Adams smashes weary Sri Lankans in tour opener

The delights of cricket at Pukekura Park are many and varied - there is no ground in the world which so simply unites beauty and utility - but Andre Adams added another with an innings which contributed substantially to the North Island's 28-run over

Steve McMorran
The delights of cricket at Pukekura Park are many and varied - there is no ground in the world which so simply unites beauty and utility - but Andre Adams added another with an innings which contributed substantially to the North Island's 28-run over Sri Lanka at that jeweled setting today.
It may be proper, in setting the backdrop to Adams' innings of 90 from 52 balls, the specifics of which make magical reading, to first make on behalf of the Sri Lankans a number of reasonable and obvious excuses.
Firstly, they arrived at their New Plymouth hotel late yesterday afternoon after a flight from Johannesburg to Auckland, after the inevitable problems of marshalling luggage and clearing customs in a new country, after the formalities of an official welcome and after the last short but wearisome domestic hop from Auckland to their tour's first venue.
They had a single night to rest from both the onerous experience of international air travel and from South Africa itself and from the whirlwind end to a tour and a series of matches which brought them very little good news.
They were then rushed into this match which was an addendum to their original tour itinerary, concocted at a late stage to allow the tourists to prepare themselves for the first of their series of one-day matches against New Zealand to be played at Napier on Wednesday.
The North Island XI - it at last settled on that label after toying with such grandiose titles as a Shell Cup XI or a New Zealand selection - was something of a hobbledehoy, giving every indication of having been thrown together at the last moment and with great speed.
The players had no generic strip but began the match, instead, in the respective uniforms of their home provinces - respectively the blue pinstripes of Auckland, the bold gold of Wellington and the suggestive maroon of Northern Districts. But by the halway stage of the game, as if there had been some major upheaval in the home team's dressing room or at least as if the lights in that dressing room had gone out, the players emerged wearing a jumble sale hybrid of all of those uniforms.
There were players in blue striped pants and maroon tops and there were others literally black and blue. So in that sense both sides had their excuses for not performing - in short travel-weariness on the part of Sri Lanka and lack of preparation time on the part of the local selection.
But it was ultimately the Sri Lankans who were under the greater burden. Their performance in the field didn't truly suggest tiredness - they fielded with a mixture of efficiency and vim and vigour but their bating performance was oddly subdued and the middle of their innings was cored-out with three run outs.
The North Island XI had won the toss and batted on a pitch which, with the combination of Pukekura Park's short boundaries, offered many more runs than these players have been used to seeing in their Shell Cup matches this season. North Island's total of 276/8 was at least 100 runs larger than a single innings in any of the Shell Cup finals.
The innings took place in three portions - nominally the overture, the adaggio and the crescendo.
Chris Nevin, James and Hamish Marshall and Lou Vincent gave the innings a sprightly tempo at the start, Nevin particularly fastening on to anything which gave him width. He hit four fours in an innings of 25 from 13 balls.
The North Island were 98/3 when Nevin and both Marshalls were out but the innings then entered its slow movement and the middle overs saw the fall of four wickets for only 50 runs. Lou Vincent, Tama Canning and Kyle Mills were all out after making promising starts.
It was then Adams and Dion Nash who revived the innings and brought it to its resounding conclusion. Nash made a watchful start and had finally lingered 94 minutes over his innings of 45 which was boosted near its end by a single four and a six out of the ground.
But it was Adams who was the conductor of the quickstep at the end. He dashed to his 50 in 38 minutes from 42 balls and he shared a partnership of 101 for the North Island's seventh wicket which lasted only 43 minutes.
But that was only a warmup for his grand final. After reaching his 50 with a four, he added his last 43 runs from only 11 balls and 10 scoring shots. For the record, and it deserves to be recorded, the last scores against his name were 4, 6, 4, 4, 4, 6, 4, 6, 1, 4.
The first 28 runs of that sequence came from a single over - the last by Kumar Dharmasena who saw each delivery despatched to or over the boundary. He had 2-31 after nine overs and finished with 2-59, his figures ritually brutalised.
Brooke Walker joined the fun as the last North Island batsman to the wicket, adding 11 from only five balls with two fours.
Of the Sri Lankan bowlers, Ruchira Perera who opened, seemed a sharp and effective medim pacer and he finished with 3-64 from nine overs. Aravinda de Silva, who bowled through the middle stages of the innings, discharged his 10 overs for 23 runs, taking two wickets.
The total was an imposing one, even on Pukekura Park which calls itself a batsman's paradise but Sri Lanka set about it with typical urgency. They sent out Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana who are both batsmen who don't hang around and they had 60 runs on the board from the first nine overs.
But Jayasuriya was out for 23 after only 40 minutes and Kaluwitharana after a vibrant innings of 40 two overs later. Kaluwitharana's timing and placement were sometimes breathtaking.
There was then a decline in the Sri Lankan innings, fuelled by those run outs and in turn by outstanding fielding particularly from Hamish Marshall and Brooke Walker who played as if they were being billed for every run Sri Lanka scored.
There was also the recovery in an innings which neatly mirrored the three tempos of the North Island effort. Kumar Sangakkara and Eric Upashantha were the architects of the reivval, lifting Sri Lanka from 127/7 to 218/8.
Sangakkara made 65 from 69 balls with 10 fours and Upashantha, who delighted with his extravagant strokeplay, made 52 with a four and five sixes.
Sri Lanka had needed 120 from the last 12 overs - an enormous task - but with Upashantha and Sangakkara's efforts, they were down to eight runs per over through the last 10. Sangakkara was out six overs from the end, the third of Daryl Tuffey's victims, and Upashantha was the last man out, caught, appropriately, by Nash off Adams.

Sri Lankans Innings
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