Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 23 News List

England bowlers toil as Sri Lankans pile on runs

AFP , COLOMBO

Sri Lankan XI cricketer Chamara Kapugedera, left, is watched by England wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, center, as he plays a shot during the second day of a three-day warm-up match at the Colombo Cricket Club Ground on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

England's bowlers got a taste of the perils that await them in the upcoming Test series as Sri Lanka's second-string lineup battered them in a practice match on Wednesday.

The Sri Lanka Cricket XI batted through the second consecutive day to take their overnight total of 218-3 to 500-5 declared by close with three young batsmen flaying centuries off the tourists' attack.

Opener Upul Tharanga, 22, who was sent home early from the senior team's Test tour of Australia to prepare for the home series, began the carnage with a well-crafted 112.

Chamara Kapugedara, a 20-year-old who has played in six Tests and 22 one-dayers, enhanced his claims for a Test berth with a brilliant 141 studded with 16 boundaries and three sixes.

Unheralded Thilana Kandamby, 25, came in at number six to plunder an unbeaten 107 and wicket-keeper Kaushal Silva hit 54 not out.

Monty Panesar gave away 117 runs in his 27 overs for one wicket and spinning partner Graeme Swann went for 1-112 in 25 overs on a slow wicket that afforded no assistance to the bowlers.

England's hopes of getting some batting practice were dashed as heavy rain flooded the Colombo Cricket Club soon after home captain Tillakeratne Dilshan declared the innings.

Strike bowler Steve Harmison, a late entrant to the touring squad, was unable to bowl till the 119th over of the innings because a bag containing his boots went missing on the journey from South Africa.

Harmison was playing domestic cricket in South Africa to prove his fitness after hernia trouble kept him out of the home series against India.

He had arrived in Colombo a few hours before the match commenced on Tuesday but could have had a good work-out since England were granted permission to rotate all their 16 players.

In the end, Harmison bowled just six wayward overs and conceded 48 runs, which included six no-balls and a wide.

Harmison gets another chance to impress the tour selectors in the lone first-class match against the same opposition in Colombo from Sunday before the first Test starts in Kandy on Dec. 1.

"All I can do is fight," the lanky fast bowler said. "If it's good enough I'll play on the first of December. If it's not, then the people who have earned their place will keep their place."

"I have always wanted to play for England, but I'll have to wait and see. I'm here to fight but whether I play or not is not my decision. I've got nothing to prove to anyone but myself," he said.

The day began on the wrong foot for England captain Michael Vaughan when James Anderson was not allowed to bowl the first over by the umpires because he had sent down the last over on the previous day.

The start was delayed by five minutes as the umpires consulted with Vaughan, who then threw the ball to Panesar to open proceedings.

After the Kandy Test ends on Dec. 5, the second Test will be played in Colombo from Dec 9-13 and the third in Galle from Dec 18-22.

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