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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up match: Sri Lanka v Nottinghamshire
Charles Randall at Trent Bridge - 9 May 1999

Mahanama stakes claim

Sri Lanka (288-5) bt Notts (226) by 62 runs

The surprise choice drafted in by Sri Lanka to raise their fielding standards during the World Cup scored 142 not out against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge yesterday. Roshan Mahanama was back with a vengeance for England's first opponents this week at the age of 32.

Mahanama, the third most experienced one-day player in the party with 208 internationals under his belt, thought he was heading for the scrap heap after the triangular series with England in Australia early this year.

As expected, he proved the most effective fielder yesterday - his bullet-like direct hit from extra-cover ran out Mathew Dowman - but his hundred as an opener had special significance.

It appeared that Sri Lanka were assessing likely partners to give Sanath Jayasuriya some adhesive support in the knowledge that the machine-gun style of Romesh Kaluwitharana might not necessarily prove effective in English conditions.

Kaluwitharana, the wicketkeeper, withdrew from yesterday's warm-up game with a stiff neck, and Mahanama, a work colleague outside cricket in Colombo, was handed his chance.

Mahanama's fifty arrived in 72 balls and his hundred in 125 before he carted 42 more runs off 20 balls, poor Alex Wharf suffering the heaviest punishment when his last three overs of medium pacers went for 35 runs.

Jayasuriya did not last long - it is difficult to believe he will be a force in this tournament - and it was the arrival of Aravinda de Silva that galvanised the momentum. His third-wicket stand of 131 with Mahanama came at more than five runs an over. Mahanama scored fluently, and in molten-metal time during the final five overs or so he peppered the boundary with pulls and off-side forcing shots of out- rageous power.

He staked his claim before the first World Cup game against England at Lord's on Friday as an opening batsman with the ability to bat through.

The Nottinghamshire seam bowlers maintained a tidy enough line until de Silva began to disrupt them with his 66 off 80 balls.

Jason Gallian had him caught on the midwicket boundary with his first ball, but Mahanama ensured that Nottinghamshire would have to go in search of a daunting 50-overs score.

This was a commanding Sri Lankan performance, though Guy Welton, with 62, and Graeme Archer (70) kept Nottinghamshire in the hunt almost to the point of respectability.

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