Sonal steers Sri Lanka to a nervy win at Antigua

Sri Lanka-England-West Indies - Tri-Nation U19 Tournament in West Indies 2019/20


Sri Lanka youth team faced the Windies U19 team at Antigua today, 10th November, in their first game of the Tri-Nations Series in West Indies involving Sri Lanka, West Indies and England.

Sri Lanka U19 won the toss and chose to field first. Sri Lanka opted to go with 4 spinners among whom Sonal Dinusha is an all-rounder and 2 fast bowlers. Chamindu Wickramasinghe, the pace bowling all-rounder from St. Anthony’s College, Kandy was slotted into the side as the new-ball partner for Amshi de Silva and 5 other genuine batsmen occupied the top-order. 

Sri Lanka U19 Team: Nipun Dhananjaya (Captain), Kamil Mishara, Navod Paranavithana, Chamindu Wickramasinghe, Ravindu Rashantha, Ahan Wickramasinghe, Sonal Dinusha, Dilum Sudeera, Ashain Daniel, Kavindu Nadeeshan, Amshi de Silva.

The surface was of those kinds in which you really have to dig in deep to score runs. Slightly in the slower side and was sticky. It did have some sharp turn too.

Amshi de Silva brought the breakthrough in the 8 over of the game when he managed to edge the Windies skipper back to the keeper. He soon followed it with another blow in his very next over. He got rid of Micah Joseph caught-and-bowled. 

The surface was such that the home team started struggling very early in the game. There wasn’t much with the bat from the Windies boys who followed the openers. Kevlon Anderson was the man to put some friction on the flow for the host afterwards. Anderson scored an anchoring 43 runs to keep the hopes alive in the Windies camp. 

Number 9 and 10 batsmen Jayden Seales (23) and Ashmead Nedd (21) gave a valuable hand late down the order as West Indies U19 ended at 137 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in 50 overs.

The bowlers did a tremendous job to see the home team off for such a cheap score. Right-arm leggie from Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda, Kavindu Nadeeshan recorded his best figures in youth international cricket with a brilliant spell of 4 for 20 in 10 overs. Speedster Amshi de Silva also picked up 3 wickets with his fiery pace and artistic swing work.

The visitors got off to a sloppy start as well. Kamil Mishara gave a ‘Yes-No-Sorry’ to his opening partner Navod Paranavitana in the 6th over of the innings to see both of them at the same end of the wicket. Paranavitana walked off being run-out for 3 runs. 

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Shortly after that, there was a brief interruption by rain but the game was unharmed.  

Skipper, Nipun Dhananjaya played a sensible innings worth 31 runs before edging one off the tall right-arm seamer Jayden Seales trying to negate a full-length delivery which was too close to his body through covers. 

Before him the lanky Royalist, Ahan Wickramsinghe was given a debatable LBW call to end his innings at 13 runs. 

Apart from these two batsmen and the star of the game, Sonal Dinusha, the rest of the team looked as if they do not know how to drive the ball along the ground and how to play the short ball or rather how not to play at it. 

There were 3 short balls pulled rashly, without any control, to the hands of the fielders, a hideous slog hoicked straight up in the air, and two cover-drives hit uppishly to the man at extra-covers. They were batting as if they had 6 feet tall stumps behind them, blindly swinging the bat at deliveries which would pass the stumps at double its height. All these at utterly unwanted situations where they were chasing just 137 runs. All six of these batsmen and of course Paranavitana didn’t even get to double figures while 3 of them were ducks.

Sonal Dinusha played an anchor role, holding his nerve and playing shots with purpose. He showed a lot of composure and the ability in him to handle pressure. He scored 46 runs seeing off 63 deliveries and took Sri Lanka past the line. He swept, danced down the track and slogged, punched and drove, but all within his control. 

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It was a great show by the home bowlers to bring such a low-scoring match to the wire. Left-arm speedster Ramon Simmonds was the stand-out for his accuracy, excellent use of the short-ball and a bit of extra pace. Simmonds picked 3 wickets for 31 runs while right-arm fast bowler Jayden Seales and medium paceman Nyeem Young bagged 2 wickets each. 

The Windies pulled the game back so close that the Sri Lankan number 11, Amshi de Silva had to put out a bit of heroics of his own to support Sonal to guide the Lankans to victory. 

Brief Scores

West Indies U19 137/9 (50) : Kevlon Anderson 43, Jayden Seales 23, Ashmead Nedd 21, Kavindu Nadeeshan 4/20, Amshi de Silva 3/18

Sri Lanka U19 139/9 (40.1) : Sonal Dinusha 46*, Nipun Dhananjaya 31, Ramon Simmonds 3/31, Jayden Seales 2/23, Nyeem Young 2/37

Sri Lanka won by 1 wicket

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