Lahiru Gamage claimed a second five-wicket haul in as many four-day matches, as the rain-affected second round of the Super Fours Provincial Tournament produced two further draws. The matches at Hambantota and Dambullla were played under lights with the pink ball – SLC’s attempt to prepare the Test players for their forthcoming day-night Test in Barbados, in June. Although the rain ate up too much time for a result to be possible, the bowlers nevertheless returned good figures in this round, with Kandy seamers Kasun Rajitha and Isuru Udana taking four wickets apiece in the first innings against Colombo, and legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga claiming 4 for 40 for Colombo, in the same match.
It was Gamage’s figures of 5 for 78 against Galle, however, that stood out from the round, and that his good form will put the national selectors at ease. With Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Shehan Madushanka all in doubt for the Tests against West Indies in June, Gamage will likely feature in Sri Lanka’s seam attack there. This performance – during which he took the wickets of Roshen Silva and Galle captain Dasun Shanaka – followed his 5 for 71 against Kandy last week. Led by Gamage, the seamers have continued to outperform the spinners in this tournament – a welcome trend in Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket, which is often overwhelmingly dominated by spinners.
On the batting front, the Dambulla team’s Sachithra Serasinghe was the only one to make triple figures in this round, hitting 112 from 208 balls to help set Galle 315 to win. Elsewhere in that match, Kusal Mendis made 89, Chaturanga de Silva hit 54 and Ashan Priyanjan followed his century from the first round with a 95 in the second, putting on a 141-run stand with Serasinghe in the process.
In the other match, former Under-19 captain Charith Asalanka, and Priyamal Perera hit half-centuries for Kandy. And, although, thanks to Rajitha and Udana’s four-wicket hauls, they reduced the Colombo side to 138 for 9 dec (in response to their own 270), the extended rain delays had long made a result impossible.