Batting worries for Sri Lanka as de Silva makes fruitful return
The team was all out for 172 in the first innings despite having nine batsmen in the practice-match line-up
Sri Lanka XI 172 (Fernando 47, Chandimal 40, Phillip 3-47, Roach 2-41) and 56 for 0 (Karunaratne 27*, Thirimanne 23*) drew with West Indies President's XI 294 (Hope 68, Mayers 57, Chase 52, de Silva 3-26, Embuldeniya 3-69)
Dhananjaya de Silva marked his return to competitive cricket with a three-wicket haul, while left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya warmed up for the West Indies Tests with three wickets of his own, but concerns over Sri Lanka's batting persist following an underwhelming performance in a drawn two-day practice match in Antigua. The West Indies President's XI, meanwhile, had contributions from Shai Hope (68), Kyle Mayers (57), and Kemar Roach (2 for 41). The game's standout performance, however, belonged to Roston Chase, who claimed 4 for 12 with his offspin to cut down the Sri Lanka XI's lower middle order, before making 52 with the bat. Chase is not in the Test squad, nor is Hope. The West Indies XI made 294, establishing a 122-run first-innings lead. On the first day of the match, the Sri Lanka XI was out for 172, with Oshada Fernando top-scoring with 47 while three of the top five failed to make it out of single-figures. The only other batsman to make 40 was Dinesh Chandimal, who batted at No. 6. That the team was all out for 172 inside 50 overs was especially worrying given nine batsmen were in this practice-match line-up. In the second innings, Sri Lanka's openers - Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne, remained not out after 13 overs, the team score on 56. Sri Lanka's spinners made more headway than their batsmen on what appeared to have been a Coolidge surface suited to slow bowlers. Embuldeniya - now Sri Lanka's premier long-format spinner - took 3 for 69, with Chase among his victims. Offspinner De Silva's figures were even better. Playing his first match since Boxing Day, when he tore a muscle in his thigh, he claimed 3 for 26 from 10 overs. Seamer Suranga Lakmal also returned good figures with the ball, taking 2 for 14 from his ten overs. Dushmantha Chameera, who is likely to be in the Test XI, was rested for this game.
The first of two Tests - both to be played in Antigua - begins on Sunday.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf