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Warm-up Match: Nottinghamshire v Sri Lanka
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 9 May 1999

Mahanama steers Sri Lanka to victory over Notts

Nottingham, Sunday World champs Sri Lanka rode on Roshan Mahanama's magnificent unbeaten 142 to dump Nottinghamshire by 62 runs in their second World Cup warm-up match played at Trent Bridge here today.

The first match against Northamptonshire was washed out by rain after just one innings. The third and final warm-up match takes place at Leicester on Tuesday.

Mahanama, the experienced Sri Lankan batsman was not down to play, but a stiff neck ruled out Sanath Jayasuriya's opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana. Mahanama drafted in on the morning of the match and he didn't let the god sent opportunity go by. His superbly paced innings was just what the doctor ordered for him to make a return to the national team, after being dropped for poor form.

Nottinghamshire chasing Sri Lanka's imposing total of 288 for 5 in 50 overs, were dismissed for 226 with five balls left. Fast-medium bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Pramodya Wickremasinghe shared the spoils taking four wickets apiece to round off a very satisfying day for the champions.

The only worrying moment for Sri Lanka, was the third wicket partnership of 126 between Guy Welton and Graham Archer, who both made half-centuries. Vaas coming back for his second spell ended the stand at 154 when he had Archer caught for 70. Sanath Jayasuriya accounted for Welton at 62. The loss of these two wickets within 10 runs of each other saw the county lose the momentum of their run chase and fold up rather tamely when their last four wickets fell for four runs.

Although Mahanama's century may guarantee him a place in the team, there was no thinking by The Management to ask him to open the batting.

``Although Roshan got runs there is no guarantee that he will open. We don't want to mess around with the batting order too much. But we will decide on the combination at the right time,'' said Sri Lanka manager Duleep Mendis

He did not rule out the possibilty of Mahanama batting at no. 3.

``We have various plans. We are testing out and analysing which combination will be best to open the batting with. Pinch hitting is a strategy we started and it is the base on which we will work around. But a lot other things will change. With another match against Leicestershire starting on Tuesday, things will fall into place,'' said Mendis.

At the moment we are trying out various combinations with our batting and our bowling. In a country like England where fortunes can fluctuate, we need to arrive at a combination which will suit the occasion,'' he said.

Mendis said that he was not bothered that Jayasuriya has not been amongst the runs on the tour so far.

``There are a few players who come out on a big occasion. Sanath is one of them. He is a class above the others. He is one of the few batsmen who will come up with a brilliant performance at the right time. As long as he is middling the ball, I am not worried,'' said Mendis.

Commenting on the fielding, Mendis said: ``Fielding is coming up but it is not really there. It is a bit untidy and in the next few days it will be brushed up. It is very much better than what it was. Fielding all-round has to improve. We have got to be brilliant on the field, to compensate for the lack of a penetrative bowling attack''.

Source: The Daily News