Tour Match: Sri Lanka v Zimbabweans at Colombo, 21-23 Dec 2001|
Sri Lanka Board XI 1st innings:
BOARD XI YOUNGSTERS HOLD UP ZIMBABWEZimbabwe’s bowlers were forced to toil harder in the afternoon as the young Board XI batsmen Ramya Kumara and Jevantha Mendis compiled an unbroken 120 run stand for the fourth wicket.
At tea on the second day the Board XI were 173 for three after 67 overs, with Mendis on 59 and a Kumara on 57.
The left-handed Mendis, who impressed during the recent Under 19 tour to Pakistan, where he won two man of the match awards, marked his first class debut with a classy half-century that clearly identifies him as a player to watch for the future.
He first announced his talents with a hundred in the Royal-Thomian match earlier this year at the Sinhalese Sports Club. Unsurprisingly, he has already been snapped up by a first class club and will start his professional career with Colombo Cricket Club.
His partner, Kumara, who celebrated his 26th Birthday yesterday with a late call-up into the side following the withdrawal of Anushka Polonowita with a hand injury, plays for Tamil Union and has been a useful all-rounder for a number of years now with his medium pacers and versatility as a left-handed batsman.
Mendis’ innings was chanceless, but Kumara had his share of good fortune. When he had made just six he was dropped at silly point and on 49 he survived a vehement bat-pad appeal off the left-arm spinner Grant Flower. He celebrated with a six over long on to bring up his fifty.
Zimbabwe declared overnight on 319 for six, thereby giving themselves further batting practice on the third day - possibly even earlier if they continue to pick their way through the Sri Lankan Board XI in the afternoon.
At lunch the young Board XI side were 80 for three after 30 overs, with schoolboy Jevan Mendis, making his debut, on 19 and Ramya Kumara on 10.
The tourists had only come into the game with three frontline bowlers – Henry Olonga, Gary Brent and Brian Murphy – which makes their disciplined performance this morning even more encouraging for the management.
Olonga did enough to guarantee his selection for the first Test next week, picking up two wickets in his two morning spells.
He made the initial breakthrough when he clean bowled the talented Ian Daniel (1) with the new ball and then grabbed the third wicket of Chamara Silva (26) who was well caught by Grant Flower at third slip in his second spell.
In-between medium pacer Gary Brent plugged away earnestly. He was eventually rewarded for his efforts when skipper Pradeep Hewage (20), the most experienced batsman in the side, drove a catch straight to Gavin Rennie in the covers.
After the loss of the third wicket, with the score on 53, Mendis and Kumara added 27 runs. Mendis, just 19, looked particularly well organized and assured for such an inexperienced player.
Date-stamped : 22 Dec2001 - 19:08