Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) drive to harness young talent to the next level of feeding the national grid mainstream team has been impacting! The Sri Lanka A XI did complete a successful tour against the West Indies A recently and returns home on Wednesday on a triumphant note. Skippered by Dhananjaya De Silva Sri Lanka A defeated its Caribbean counterparts 2-1 in the 3-match Test series, and drew 1-all the 3-match ODI series.
Significantly, the tour served as a feeding curve for the national selectors keen on stabilizing the mainstream national team in so much as striking the right player balance. Accordingly, the performances of Dhananjaya De Silva with the bat and that of all-rounder Dasun Shanaka did serve as a window to call ups to the 15-member squad to India.
Particularly in the test series, Sri Lanka A did well to come from behind having trailed West Indies A 0-1 having lost the first test and win the second and third tests comprehensively. Wholly it was a refreshing comeback in to contention by the 26-year old right hand batsman who led the side quite pleasingly in delivering the goods. In the lost first test De Silva scored a back to the wall century which West Indies A won by an innings and 13 runs.
The skipper came back strongly to reel off two half centuries in the second and third tests in lifting the side from the dumps to dictate terms to the opposition. Sri Lanka A won the second test by 280 runs. Having batted first and made 294 and 267 for 9 wickets declared West Indies A was dismissed for 137 and 144.
The third test was won by ten wickets with West Indies A bowled out for 181 and 118. Sri Lanka A made 273 and 27 for no loss. Dhananjaya headed the batting totaling 260 runs at an average of 52 while Dasun Shanaka struck a timely century and half century being the second highest run getter with an aggregate of 183 in two outings averaging 61. Left hander Roshen Silva scored two half centuries. The bowling hero was off spinner Malinda Pushpakumara who reaped a record haul of 23 wickets followed by Shehan Jayasuriya with 13 wickets. All in all, the team performance was glowing in serving the selectors new options for Sri Lanka’s tour of India.
The first ODI series was won by Sri Lanka by 2 wickets at Kensington while the second match was rain washed out, and the third was won by West Indies A by 45 runs to square the series.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-