By M. Shamil Amit
Openers Dhanushka Gunathilaka and Sadeera Samarawickrama together with Skipper Ashan Priyanjan sent the New Zealand bowlers on a leather-hunt as they helped the Sri Lanka Board President’s (SLBP) XI to reach a formidable 323 for six in their first innings on the opening day of the three-day tour warm-up match played at the FTZ Grounds in Katunayake yesterday.
Priyanjan won the toss and elected to take first lease of the wicket after the match got off to a late start due to a wet outfield.
Dhanushka and Sadeera went on the rampage with the pair having things their own way with little threat coming from the New Zealand bowlers.
They accumulated their runs with the minimum fuss and were also associated in a massive 154-run stand in only 162 balls.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel made the breakthrough for the visitors with the wicket of Sadeera who made a 90-ball 80 that included 13 boundaries.
Patel dealt a double blow when he got rid of Oshada Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa for the addition of 23 runs as the SLBP XI slid to 177 for three.
Dhanushka found a reliable partner in Angelo Perera and the pair held on together as they went into the tea break at 194 for three.
After the break, Dhanushka became Patel’s fourth victim as the home side lost their fourth wicket at 214.
Dhanushka’s knock of 98 came off 97 balls comprised 12 boundaries and one six.
Angelo also did not last long as he was dismissed three runs later becoming Patel’s fifth victim having made a breezy 35-ball 32 inclusive of two boundaries and two sixes.
However, Skipper Priyanjan and young Pathum Nissanka denied further success for the New Zealand bowler for a considerable period as the pair added 81 valuable runs for the sixth-wicket.
Patel ended with impressive figures of five for 41 in 10 overs.