Nuwan Pradeep celebrates a dismissal with teammates
In what was their last game before heading into the World Cup warm-ups, Sri Lanka took a few positives from their victory over Scotland on Tuesday.
The form of the top three in a regularly changing line-up was a big plus, but newly-appointed Captain Dimuth Karunaratne was all praise for fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep, who finished the rain-truncated game with figures of four for 34.
In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 322, Scotland started brightly, until Pradeep took his skipper’s words and caused a vital breakthrough - dismissing Kyle Coetzer in the 11th over with a sharp bouncer.
That one dismissal brought two more as Calum MacLeod was undone by Pradeep’s in-seamer while Craig Wallace fell to Isuru Udana, putting Scotland in a spot of bother.
“When Scotland were going quite well, I spoke to Nuwan Pradeep and asked him to try a couple of bouncers. He did that really well and we were able to squeeze them through that middle period,” Karunaratne said on Tuesday.
“It’s not easy to bowl yorkers, especially with the ball getting wet because of the rain. If you don’t execute it well it will go for a six. But Pradeep knows how he has to bowl, and he went for the straight yorker. I hope he takes that confidence into the World Cup,” Karunaratne said.
Before Pradeep could be all over the hosts, Sri Lanka were set up in the game thanks to half-centuries from each of the top three batters.
“Playing an international one-dayer after such a long time is not easy. I was under pressure early on and was struggling a little bit. But once I got set and thought about how to play - which bowlers I should target - I felt better. Fortunately, I got a couple of chances. But thanks to the runs I got, I got some confidence,” Karunaratne revealed.
He also lauded 21-year-old opener Avishka Fernando, who made his ODI debut as a teenager in 2016 but is only now looking to slowly establish himself.
Karunaratne stated that the youngster has been spoken to about the expectation that the team has from him, and hopes the attacking batsman can breach the three-figure mark at the World Cup.
“Avishka was excellent as well. We know how capable he is. He can hit hard and rotate the strike as well. We talked to him about what we needed from him. Unfortunately he couldn’t get a hundred, but I think he can get a big hundred in the World Cup,” Karunaratne said.
Karunaratne also reserved some applause for Lahiru Thirimanne, who saw the team through to the end of the innings after they had struggled a slight wobble in the middle.
Thirimanne batted well with the tail and finished unbeaten on a 40-ball 44, that ensured for Sri Lanka a winning total. (Agencies)