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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up Match: Leicestershire v Sri Lanka
Charles Randall - 11 May 1999

Sri Lanka show signs of recovery

Sri Lanka (143-5) bt Leicestershire (95) by 48 runs

The so-called clash of the champions went, as to be expected, to the world versions, who made mincemeat of their county equivalents; the sigh of relief from the Sri Lankans had been almost audible as fierce morning rain disappeared northwards to allow time for a 25-over match at Grace Road.

England, their opening World Cup opponents on Friday, had already completed their warm-up victory at Southampton when Sri Lanka's match here made a start.

It took an excellent 54 not out off 65 balls from the experienced Aravinda de Silva to give the Sri Lanka innings substance on a slow pitch, because Leicestershire were making inroads after an entertaining blast from Sanath Jayasuriya.

This afternoon Sri Lanka travel to Lord's for net practice in good spirit as the build-up to the tournament reaches its conclusion. Their one-day record since they lifted the Emirates Trophy in England last summer has been poor, only five wins in 20 matches, but they would view this World Cup as a new chapter.

Sri Lanka's decision to arrive early in England was based on health reasons as much as the need to practice in juicy English conditions. Most of the squad have suffered from colds or sore throats and have had time to recover.

Chaminda Vaas, a lethal swing bowler with the lacquered Dukes ball, has proved a case in point. He missed the first warm-up at Northampton through illness and returned to take four wickets in each of the remaining two games.

Yesterday, in case anyone doubted whether their 143-run total would be sufficient, the Sri Lankans snapped up their first wicket with the first ball of Leicestershire's innings. The left-armer Vaas trapped Darren Maddy, who played no stroke, with an inswinger that bent in late for a plumb leg-before decision.

Last Friday, Leicestershire had presented a reasonably stern front against India, with David Millns bowling especially well. This time he could do little right.

Millns' first over cost 13 runs, including seven wides, and the left-handed Jayasuriya hit 16 off his third over before miscueing a full toss to mid-on in the eighth over with the score already 54.

``Jaya'' faced only 28 balls for his 36, though the cheap dismissal of Romesh Kaluwitharana, his fellow opener, was something Sri Lanka's selectors could have done without.

It would certainly be a risk to open with the sparky ``Kalu'' against England, and yesterday's events suggested that Roshan Mahanama would be favoured as Jayasuriya's partner for Lord's.

Kent have signed former Durham fast-medium bowler Martin Saggers for the rest of the season. Saggers, 26, was released by the North-East county last summer.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk