Sri Lanka Emerging XI had another memorable day at Canterbury as the batters, led by Nishan Madushka, went on a rampage against the Kent bowlers on day 3 of of the 1st 4-day encounter.
Overnight batters Lasith Croospulle and Nishan Madushka came out to resume their partnership of 187 from Day 2 and solidified their dominance further over the Kent bowlers. The duo added 107 more runs today (8th May), breaking the record for the highest partnership by a Sri Lankan duo on English Soil previously held by Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya (243). When the partnership was blossoming at 294, Kent finally managed a long-awaited breakthrough as Jaskaran Singh dismissed Croospulle for 136, a knock which included 14 fours and 2 sixes. The right-handed batter from Sinhalese Sports Club Nuwanidu Fernando walked out to bat at number 4 and this was the beginning of another exceptional partnership for Sri Lanka Emerging XI.
Fernando started from where Croospulle left off as he and Madushka punished the Kent bowlers with a rapid scoring rate. The pair put together a 171-run stand for the 3rd wicket in just 34 overs. Fernando, who was looking for his 2nd first-class century, fell a solitary run short, to the South African spinner George Linde. His knock of 99 included 14 fours and 2 sixes.
At this stage, Sri Lanka’s emerging XI were 479 for the loss of just 3 wickets. The rest of the Sri Lankan middle-order couldn’t contribute much to the score as Dhananjaya Lakshan was bowled by Max Luckett for 24 while Ashen Bandara only scored 9 before being dismissed by Max O’Riordan.
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Madushka, who also kept wickets for 137 overs, was in fine touch as he finished with 269, breaking a 27-year-old record by the legendary Aravinda De Silva of the highest individual score by a Sri Lankan on English soil in First-Class cricket.
Interestingly de Silva’ 255 was FOR Kent, the same opposition Madushka faced in this game. He also solidified his name at number 4 on the list of highest individual scores by a Sri Lankan away from home (First-Class). After a marathon stay at the crease, the 22-year-old was finally dismissed for 269 just a few moments before stumps on Day 3 by Linde nicking behind to keeper Billy Mead; his knock included 37 fours and 2 sixes.
After the dismissal of Madushka, Dilum Sudeera & Santhush Gunathilaka survived without any more blows as Sri Lanka Emerging XI ended on 573/6, 22 runs behind Kent at stumps on Day 3. With 1 more day to go, it would be interesting to see whether Sri Lanka Emerging XI would bat on on Day 4 or declare and ask Kent to bat in their 2nd innings in the hope of forcing a result. The final day is surely going to be an interesting battle between these 2 teams.
The 4th and final day of this encounter will begin at 3.30 PM Local Time on the 9th of May.