Warm-up tie: Sri Lankan batsmen acclimatise for India series with dominating show
Given the myriad threadbare India-Sri Lanka contests in recent years, it's hard to fathom the fact that most of the visiting team have no previous experience of playing in India. They last toured the country for a Test series in 2009. Only Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath from the current team were part of the series that Sri Lanka lost two-nil. However, in their first competitive outing at the Jadavpur University campus ground here, Sri Lanka did well to acclimatise to unfamiliar terrain with a dominant batting display.
Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella plays a shot during a warm-up match against Board President's XI in Kolkata on Saturday. Pic/PTI
The pedestrian Board President's XI bowling attack was made to toil, as the visitors galloped to 411 for six at stumps on Day One of the two-day practice match. As many as four Sri Lankan batsmen notched half centuries and others spent valuable time in the middle. "We need a bit of confidence. Only Angelo (Mathews) and Rangana (Herath) have played here in India, so I think it's good to get some confidence in these conditions. It's all about runs," said opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who led the way for the visitors with a fine half century. In addition to Karunaratne, the triumvirate of Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Mathews also struck fifties. From Sri Lanka's point of view, each of those innings were notable positives to emerge from the match so far.
Samarawickrama's blistering 74, which meant that the tourists were rollicking along at close to six runs over in the first session, could not have been more timely for a side that has been scouring for Karunaratne's co-star at the top of the order since 2015. They have tried as many as six other options during the aforesaid period, with only two of them managing hundreds. Matthews, who missed the Pakistan tour due to injury, showed no signs of rustiness in his 54-run knock. His return should augur well for an inexperienced batting line-up.