Top-order, Pradeep shine under dark Edinburgh skies



Fernando notched up a fine hand of 74

Fernando notched up a fine hand of 74 © Getty

Sri Lanka head to the World Cup with a little top-order reassurance as fifties from Avishka Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis setup a comprehensive 35-run victory [DLS method] over Scotland in another rain-hit game at Edinburgh. The rain that washed away the first ODI, interrupted the game for 97 minutes in the chase before Nuwan Pradeep closed out the victory with a four-wicket haul.

The visitors, still very uncertain with where their 50-over game is at because of their constantly-changing personnel, drew some confidence of a top-three off Fernando, captain Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis as the trio scored 217 off the 322 the team accumulated after being put into bat. Karunaratne, whose appointment as ODI captain came under much scrutiny, top-scored with 77. He added 123 for the first wicket with Fernando, who dominated the stand with a 78-ball 74.

Karunaratne was happy to play the passive role even in the second-wicket stand with Kusal Mendis, who underscored his importance to the line-up by smashing four fours and three sixes enroute his 56-ball 66. That the top-three missed out on centuries offered the middle-order a chance to brush off some of their own cobwebs. Unfortunately, both Thisara Perera and the returning Angelo Mathews fell for 0 and 1 respectively. Lahiru Thirimanne, batting at No.6, held fort with an unbeaten 44 to take Sri Lanka past the 300-run mark. Scotland seamer Bradley Wheal finished with impressive figures of 3 for 49.

Scotland’s best chance of chasing the total down lay in the fortunes of their openers Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross. To their credit, the pair made a real fist of the challenge in the first PowerPlay, adding 51 quick runs before Pradeep had the Scotland captain caught by Thirimanne. Callum MacLeod and Craig Wallace departed cheaply before the heavens opened up.

Just when it seemed as if the contest would peter out to a soggy end, a resumption of play was possible with Scotland needing to score 103 from seven overs as part of the DLS recalibration of targets. George Munsey began that post-interval phase by hitting a six and a couple of fours off Perera. But when Cross was dismissed in the next over for 55, the target had reached unsurmountable levels. Munsey kept finding the boundaries from one end but batsmen at the other end perished in their similar endeavours. Eventually Scotland were bowled out for 199 with four balls remaining in the truncated 34-over chase. Pradeep, who effected a double strike to take out Munsey and Tom Sole, finished with match winning figures of 4 for 34.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka322/8 (Dimuth Karunaratne 77, Avishka Fernando 74; Bradley Wheal 3-49) beat Scotland199 in 33.2 overs [34] (George Munsey 61, Matthew Cross 55; Nuwan Pradeep 4-34) by 35 runs [DLS Method]

© Cricbuzz

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