THE warm-up match between the visiting Sri Lanka outfit and the West Indies President’s XI ended in a tame draw yesterday but not before the visiting openers posted half-centuries at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.
This three-day game was the lone practice match for Sri Lanka before their three-Test series against the West Indies, which will bowl off this Wednesday at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair. There will be two more Tests in St Lucia and Barbados.
The President’s XI, resuming their first innings at 223 runs for seven wickets after overnight rain caused a 45-minute delay, were dismissed for 272 shortly before lunch with all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall unbeaten on 54 (84 balls, seven fours) – making a case to selectors again.
Pacer Lahiru Kumara trapped Jomel Warrican (eight) leg before wicket, before a run was added. Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera then got rid of tail-enders Miguel Cummins (10) and Keon Joseph (duck) to wrap up the innings and give Sri Lanka a 156-run lead.
Witha result impossible, the Sri Lankan openers Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera took the opportunity to engage in some batting practice. The left-handed Kusal Perera reached a brisk 50 (54 balls, seven fours and a six) before he retired hurt with soreness in his lower back.
Mendis was on a more sedate 60 (113 balls, five fours and a six) and Roshen Silva on 22 when the teams decided, on the stroke of tea, to call off proceedings with the Sri Lankan total on 135 without loss.
WI President’s XI assistant coach Rayon Griffith was pleased with the batting of Cornwall, as well as left-handed openers John Campbell (62) and captain Kieran Powell (60).
“The positives in the game for us were Keiran Powell and John Campbell,” said Griffith. “I think they batted very well. The start that we had was a positive. Otherwise from that, I think also Rahkeem Cornwall, who took us over 250.”
The WI President’s XI bowling was steady but unpenetrative, in both innings.
Griffith acknowledged, “You have to give credit to the Sri Lankans. I think they batted well.”
He added, “They were more patient and they played the conditions well. They capitalised on the mistakes that we made and that’s how they eventually got over 400 runs.”
The West Indies A team will be touring England, for a limited-overs series involving England Lions and India, later this month.
Griffith, who will be part of the WI A team technical staff for that tour, hopes to see some more improvement in the regional players.
“Some of them still need to understand how they approach the game,” he said. “I know most of them (were) not playing much cricket but, at the end of the day, I don’t want to say that made us not play our best cricket. We have the series against England and I’m looking forward to that.”
SRI LANKA 428 – Dinesh Chandimal 108, Niroshan Dickwella 74, Kusal Perera 65, Angelo Mathews 41; Jomel Warrican 4/81, Rahkeem Cornwall 3/124 and 135 without loss – Kusal Mendis 60 not out, Kusal Perera 50 retired hurt vs WEST INDIES PRESIDENT’S XI 272 – John Campbell 62, Kieran Powell 60, Rahkeem Cornwall 54 not out; Akila Dananjaya 3/46, Lahiru Kumara 3/47, Dilruwan Perera 3/50. Match drawn.