Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Tharanga gives selectors a nudge


England captain Michael Vaughan gives instructions during the first day of the warm-up match between the Sri Lanka Cricket Board President's XI and England in Colombo yesterday.


Upul Tharanga staked a strong claim for a place in Sri Lanka's side for the first Test against England with another powerful display against the tourists yesterday.

The left-hander, who made 112 in the tour opener last week, smashed 86 as the Sri Lanka Cricket XI made 298-9 by stumps on the opening day of the three-day match in Colombo.

Strike bowler Steve Harmison added to England's worries when he left the field with back spasms after sending down the third ball of his 11th over an hour before close.

"Steve does not require scans, but is being treated and we will see how much he recovers overnight," England media manager Andrew Walpole told reporters.

Fast bowler Matthew Hoggard and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar claimed three wickets each.

Tharanga, who did not play on the recent Test tour of Australia, has been included in Sri Lanka's 14 for the first Test starting at the Asgiriya stadium in Kandy on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, with 13 Tests behind him, is one of the contenders for the batting spot left vacant by former captain Marvan Atapattu, who retired after the Australian series.

Openers Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte gave the hosts a good start with a 55-run stand for the first wicket until Hoggard broke through by having Udawatte caught by a diving Michael Vaughan at mid-on.

Malinda Warnapura hit four boundaries in his 16 before tickling a ball from seamer Ravi Bopara to the wicket-keeper.

The hosts, who went to lunch on 109-2, suffered a setback seven runs later when captain Tillekeratne Dilshan was dismissed by Harmison for 23.

Tharanga was denied a second successive century against the tourists when he edged a drive from James Anderson and was snapped up by Ian Bell in the slips.

Chamara Kapugedera, who made 141 in the previous tour game, had managed only 13 when he flicked Hoggard to Bopara in the short mid-wicket region.

Jehan Mubarak (68) and wicket-keeper Kaushal Silva (53) added 105 for the sixth wicket.

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