By Brian Thomas
Sri Lanka under 19s did well to win the finals of the tri nation trophy at the P.Sara stadium yesterday. The game against Pakistan as anticipated was a nail biter. Sri Lanka snatched victory from jaws of defeat thanks to an unbeaten knock of 75 by young Royalist Kitruwan Vithnanage who made a unbeaten 75 batting at number 5. The left hander hit three glorious sixes in an innings that had a blend of both attack and defense. The left hander came into bat with Sri Lanka struggling on 98 for 5 wickets and in pursuit of 210 for victory.
It was heartening to watch a youngster build his innings and guide the lower order in achieving the target. The result in the 49th over could have gone three ways. A victory to Pakistan a Sri Lankan win or a tie. Spectators were chewing their nails while some were at the edge of their seats when the last two balls were about to be delivered with the home team still in the hunt needing 2 runs to win with one wicket in hand.
Pakistan invited to bat first under cloud cover, did well with their openers Baber Azam and skipper Azeem Ghumman.The pair put on 59 runs for the first wicket. The second wicket stand also looked healthy when Azeem and Shahzaib Ahmed put on 44 runs, with the Pakistan skipper making a well compiled 65.
Sri Lanka spinners Liyanapathiranage together with Banuka Rajapakse put the brakes on the opposition who ultimately were bowled out for 209 runs in 50th over. The Pakistani Middle and lower order should have batted with more responsibility.
Sri Lanka in pursuit of 210 runs for victory lost their way midway and slumped to 114 for 6 wickets. The brilliance of Kithruwan would have made Sri Lanka’s top star Aravinda De Silva proud who incidentally is the batting coach of the under 19s.
Well played Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the fitting final was great to watch
Pakistan u 19s 209 all out in 49.2 overs
Azeem Ghumman 65
Chathuranga Peiris 2 for 31
M. Liyanapathiranage 3for 34
Sri Lanka 210 for 9 wickets in 50 overs
Kithruwan Vithanage 75 Not out
Andy Berenger 34
Usman Qadir 2 for 43