New Zealand bowlers were made to work hard for their wickets in their 3-day warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI who racked up a score of 323 for six wickets in a rain-affected opening day at FTZ grounds, Katunayake yesterday.
Most successful of the eight bowlers used by New Zealand was slow left-arm bowler Ajaz Patel who finished with an impressive haul of five wickets for 41 runs off ten overs.
Patel caused a middle-order slump after SLC President’s XI openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Sadeera Samarawickrama had put together a partnership of 154 off 162 balls by claiming the wickets of Samarawickrama (80), Oshada Fernando (4), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (0) and Angelo Perera (32) to reduce them to 217-5.
However, skipper Ashan Priyanjan and Pathum Nissanka checked the slide with a stand of 81 to enable the home side to reach a respectable first day total.
Priyanjan remained unbeaten on 56 scored off 76 balls inclusive of nine fours. Nissanka was dismissed before the close for 35 falling to off-spinner William Somerville who conceded 70 runs in 13.5 overs.
Gunathilaka and Samarawickrama both missed out on scoring centuries after getting on top of the New Zealand bowling.
Gunathilaka who has been included in the 22-member Test squad missed out on a golden opportunity to put pressure on the selectors for an opener’s berth ahead of the first Test at Galle starting on August 14.
The left-hander struck 12 fours and one six in his attractive knock of 98 scored off 97 balls before being dismissed by Patel.
Samarawickrama hit 13 fours in his 90-ball innings for 80. The match began late due to the wet outfield the – result of heavy rain early morning. On a flat pitch, the home team had no hesitation in winning the toss and batting first.
Kane Williamson celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday and a section of the spectators who were present brought a cake to celebrate the occasion. The Kiwi skipper obliged them by cutting it during the tea break. The match resumes on day two today.