SOUTHAMPTON, August 22 - Giles White, a 26-year-old right-handed opener in his fourth season, made full use of the luxury of two dropped catches by stand-in captain Sanath Jayasuriya to become the fourth batsmen to score a hundred off the Sri Lankan bowling on the first day of the 3-day tour match played here today.
White made a career best 156, before edging a catch to slip off part-time bowler Russel Arnold in the penultimate over of the day. Hampshire were 347 for eight wickets at the close.
White batted 385 minutes and his 23 fours in what was his third century of the season and the seventh of his career. His previous highest was 150 against Oxford University at Oxford this year.
Jayasuriya dropped White on both occasions at slips, when he was on five in Pramodya Wickremasinghe's second ball of the innings and later at 45 after the lunch break off the other seamer Mario Villavarayen.
White went on to complete his century in 302 minutes off 221 balls with 14 fours, and reached his second score of 150 for the season in 359 minutes off 287 balls with 23 fours.
His stand of 118 with Will Kendall (59) for the second wicket was the most productive of the innings.
Jayasuriya compensated somewhat for his double lapses, by ending the day as Sri Lanka's most successful bowler with figures of three for 42 off 14 overs, including that of Dimitri Mascarenhas (0), whose parents were born in Sri Lanka. Mascarenhas was born in London, but resides in Perth.
The county looked in sight of a massive first innings total when they reached 195 for one at one stage, but after Wickremasinghe had forced Kendall to edge a catch to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, and Mahela Jayawardene had run out captain Robin Smith for 11, Jayasuriya took a wicket either side of tea, to reduce the county to 213 for five.
Jayasuriya picked up a further wicket when Mark Garraway, the reserve wicket-keeper, lofted a catch to mid-off to end a threatening seventh wicket stand of 59 with White.
Villavarayen was finally rewarded with a wicket when Prasanna Jayawardene brought off a spectacular diving catch on the leg side to dismiss Kevan James for 11.
Arjuna Ranatunga rated Jayewardene as the 'find' of the tour, and predicted a bright future for him. Jayasuriya used as many as nine bowlers in the innings, but only three were successful.
A green pitch provided a false alarm for Sri Lanka who sent Hampshire to bat first after winning the toss.
The pitch although lushly grassed, didn't offer the assistance the three Sri Lankan seamers were looking forward to, but turned out to be a friendly batting track, which during the season has seen a lot of runs scored in the championships and the limited-over Sunday league games. Sri Lanka took only one wicket in the first session when Hampshire made 90 runs.
Ravindra Pushpakumara playing his first game after hurting his knee at Northampton, two weeks ago, bowled only four overs for 13 runs before retiring to the pavilion. He returned after the tea break, but according to the rules had to serve the time he was off the field before he could bowl. It seemed that he had not recovered 100 percent from his injury and does not look like making the Test side.
Sri Lanka rested five of their key players who will figure in the one-off Test against England at the Oval starting on Thursday skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, vice-captain Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Muthiah Muralitharan. Kumara Dharmasena and Suresh Perera were also rested.
Sanath Jayasuriya led the side for the third time on the tour following the matches against Somerset and Middlesex.
Hampshire, led by former England Test batsman Robin Smith have two former West Indian Test cricketers as coaches - Desmond Haynes for batting and Malcolm Marshall for bowling. They played without five of their regulars Nixon McLean, the West Indian quickie, Peter Harvey, Shaun Udal, wicket-keeper Adrian Aynes and John Stephenson. Despite the presence of these top West Indian stars, the county are not doing all that well, being placed eighth in the county championship table as well as the Axa Sunday League.
Day 2: No play due to rain
There was no play before lunch on the second day of Sri Lanka's 3-day tour match against Hampshire here because of rain.Light rain continued to fall throughout the morning and the prospects of any play taking place for the rest of the day looked bleak.
This is Sri Lanka's final first-class fixture before they meet England in the one-off Test at the Oval on Thursday.
Hampshire put into bat first, declared their innings at their overnight total of 347 for eight wickets with Giles White hitting a career best 156.
Day 3: Sri Lanka chasing 309
SOUTHAMPTON, Monday - Two declarations within the space of a matter of minutes left Sri Lanka chasing a target of 309 runs off 82 overs to beat Hampshire on the third and final day here today.
By lunch, Sri Lanka had scored 58 for one wicket off 13 overs in their second innings with Sanath Jayasuriya unbeaten on 35 scored off 44 balls with seven fours and Mahela Jayawardene on 19 with three fours. Both batsmen are short of a big innings before Thursday's one-off Test against England at the Oval. Following a total washout of the second day due to rain, Sri Lanka began their first innings under overcast conditions today, but found the conditions not to their liking.
The pitch left covered the whole of yesterday was soft and the ball started to move around, much to the discomfort of the batsmen. Thus, it was no surprise to see Sri Lanka suddenly down to 39 for four after 12 overs in reply to Hampshire's first innings of 347 for 8 declared. With only four front-line batsmen in the side and a long tail, Sri Lanka declared their innings at this total after batting 55 minutes, with the hope of getting some valuable batting for some of their top order batsmen who failed in the first innings.
Hampshire obliged by forfeiting their second innings, which left Sri Lanka with a target to chase and gain the batting practice their top order needed. Russel Arnold failed to make use of the opportunity of pressing a claim for the number three berth when he was out for a pair before lunch. Arnold lasted four balls in the first innings before mistiming a drive to mid-off, and five balls in the second, before being trapped lbw. Alex Morris claimed his wickets in both instances. Assuming that Arnold doesn't play in the Test match, at this juncture his chances remain very remote, it would be a sad ending of the tour for him, having begun it in commanding fashion with a double century against Somerset at Taunton. The gloom of the morning was replaced by bright sunshine and blue skies when Sri Lanka batted a second time, conditions under which they are very much comfortable and happy with. However, the forecast for the rest of the day is not quite good.
Hathurusinghe steers Sri Lanka to victory
SOUTHAMPTON, Monday - Chandika Hathurusingha put himself in line for a Test recall after a lapse of almost three years when he hit a chanceless unbeaten century to give Sri Lanka a morale boosting five-wicket win over Hampshire, three day's before the one-off Test against England, in the three-day tour match concluded here today.
But Hathurusingha, if he does make the final eleven on Thursday at the Oval, may be in for the wrong reasons. He was picked for the tour primarily as a bowling all-rounder - for his ability to seam and swing the ball in English conditions. In this regard, he has not done anything outstanding to warrant inclusion.
However, the former Sri Lankan opening batsman's hundred is something the tour selectors can ill-afford to overlook when they pick the final eleven. If Hathurusingha does play, he will strengthen the batting order considerably, stretching it right down to number eight.
BBatting is Sri Lanka's forte and if they plan to stop England from continuing their successful run of Test wins this summer, they will need the men in form to do it for them.
Sri Lanka left with a target of 309 off 82 overs by Hampshire, won quite comfortably with 17 balls to spare to record their second successive win inside four days.
Last Thursday, they beat England in the Emirates Triangular final by the same margin and the number of balls.
The victory was Sri Lanka's second over a first-class county on the tour. They had earlier beaten Leicestershire by nine wickets.
Sri Lanka coach Roy Dias was not far away from the truth when he said: ``Whatever happens in the Test, this is the most successful tour we have ever undertaken to England''.
Leading up to the Test, Sri Lanka's overall record on the tour is two wins, one loss and two draws in five first-class games, five wins out of five one-day games against county sides, and champions of the tri-nation Emirates tournament.
The victory was more or less not an authentic one. It was achieved by the batsmen rather than the bowlers. Hampshire made 347 for 8 declared on the first day. Following a blank second day when rain washed out play, Sri Lanka declared their first innings closed at 39 for 4 on the third and final day with the hope of gaining valuable batting practice for their top order batsmen, who had failed in the first innings. Hampshire on the other hand, were eyeing the prize money of 11,000 pounds sterling offered by sponsors Vodafone for any county beating a touring side. They still had the chance of collecting a minimum of 2,750 pounds sterling if the game had ended in a draw.
Thus, with such intentions in mind, Robin Smith, the former England batsman and Hampshire captain, forfeited his side's second innings, leaving Sri Lanka to chase a target for victory.
When it comes to a run chase there are very few sides that can rival Sri Lanka. Smith and Hampshire were left with shattered dreams, when Sri Lanka raced away to victory.
The foundations for it was laid by the third wicket pair, Mahela Jayawardene and Hathurusingha who put on 108 runs off 27.2 overs, after the departure of Russel Arnold for his second duck of the day in nine balls, and stand-in captain Sanath Jayasuriya for a well struck 40 with eight fours.
Jayawardene missed out on a maiden tour century by ten runs, but Hathurusingha batted throughout until victory was achieved, scoring the winning boundary, a cover drive off part-time bowler Giles White, who took the Man-of-the-Match award for his career best knock of 156 on Saturday. Hathurusingha, whose previous highest score on the tour was 60 against Leicestershire, batted with increasing confidence to stroke 13 fours in his 184-ball innings lasting 229 minutes.
Jayawardene's innings of 90 would have given him some confidence for the Test, but it was not a very convincing one. He went to tea with his score on 89, and threw away his wicket by playing a rather loose shot in the second over after resumption, to be caught off the outside edge by the lone slip fielder. He batted 173 minutes and faced 117 balls, hitting 15 fours.
Hashan Tillekeratne (23) and Upul Chandana (34 off 30 balls with one six, five fours) shared in half-century partnerships with Hathurusingha, after Jayewardene's dismissal at 178, to see Sri Lanka to victory. Thankfully, the weather which had looked threatening in the afternoon cleared away for bright sunshine, and didn't Sri Lanka revel in it.
Sri Lanka will return to this venue next year when they meet Kenya in a World Cup match on May 30. On the present tour, Sri Lanka have played matches at all their World Cup venues - Lord's, Northampton, Worcester, Taunton, and Southampton.