Sri Lanka’s veterans crushed the Emerging Proteas by 215 runs after running up a massive target of 376-3 in the first of three unofficial ODIs, at Dambulla.
The Sri Lankans have a strange view of what constitutes an ‘Emerging’ player, unless they feel that Dimuth Karunaratne, who has played 51 Tests, 17 ODIs and 121 List A matches, still has much to learn. His opening partner, Sadeera Samarawickrama could perhaps scrape into that category after just four Tests, three senior ODIs and 38 List A matches.
And next up was Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka captain making his return after being banned for two Tests and four ODIs for refusing to take the field in a ball-tampering row in the third Test against the West Indies last month. He is ‘Emerging’ after 48 Tests and 139 ODIs.
It is little wonder, then, that they were able to put on 252 in 38 overs for the first wicket, against a seven-man bowling attack. None of whom have played at senior level.
Karunaratne, who performed with distinction against the Proteas senior side in their two-match series with a top score of 158 and three other fifties, cruised to 125 off 117 balls, with 14 fours, before he was trapped lbw by Gregory Mahlokwana, the Northerns left-arm spinner who has 10 List A matches on his CV.
Samarawickrama pushed on to 141 off 127 balls (17 fours, one six) until Lutho Sipamla, the 20-year old pacer, had him and Shammu Ashan (duck) caught behind within four balls as the 300-mark approached.
Chandimal ended unbeaten on 58 off 38 balls (five fours, two sixes), while Asela Gunaratne (six Tests, 29 ODIs) was on 35 off 19.
On the negative side, the Emerging Proteas were unravelled by one of the few Sri Lankans who could be considered as ‘Emerging’; the 20-year-old offspinner Nishan Peiris, who has played just 11 List A matches. In 4.2 overs, he had removed three of the top five Proteas batsmen, leaving them deep in the mire at 69-4.
Matthew Breetzke offered some resistance, scoring 41 off 51 balls, but at 91-5, it was a lost cause.
From an ‘Emerging’ perspective, I suspect the South Africans got more out of this match than the Sri Lankans.
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