This was the sixth match of Sri Lanka A’s tour of England. They had won one and drawn one of their three first-class three-day games, one further fixture being completely abandoned. This game would be their fourth one-day match; in the previous three there had been a seven-wicket victory over Worcestershire, a 35-run defeat to Lancashire and a no result against Kent.
The Sri Lankan eleven included four members who had played in the equivalent fixture three years previously; Yorkshire had one (Andrew Gale). Joe Sayers, leading an inexperienced side in the absence of Darren Gough, won the toss and decided to bat. Two wickets to the left-arm medium-paced bowling of Wijekoon Ramyakumara brought Chris Gilbert to the crease and he joined Gale, who had opened the batting, in an 84-run stand made in 20 overs. Wickets fell regularly thereafter although Gale, batting steadily to make his highest score in limited-overs matches, held the innings together until he was lbw to the off-spin of Dilruwan Perera with six overs to go. The left-handed Greg Wood, in what turned out to be his only appearance in a Yorkshire shirt, struck a breezy 26 from 25 balls and wicket-keeper Simon Guy continued the acceleration with 36 from only 22 balls. He was caught from the final ball of the innings, the third of three wickets for leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi.
The tourists used six bowlers, all of whom subsequently played full international cricket and only one of these did not appear in Test cricket. Chanaka Welagedara was ultimately the most successful; he has played in 20 Tests, including making his debut in a match against England six months after this Yorkshire fixture. Along with two others from this match, Perera and Dammika Prasad, he was also a member of the full Sri Lanka party which toured the British Isles earlier this summer. Although all three played in international matches, Prasad was the only one to play in a Test and made his solitary appearance at Headingley taking a crucial five for 50 in England’s second innings to propel the visitors to a cliff-hanging 100-run win.
The Sri Lankan innings began very badly, Ajmal Shahzad taking three early wickets including that of their skipper, the experienced 30-year-old Thilan Samaraweera for a five-ball duck. During the 25th over the tourists reached their nadir of 73 for six but Talina Kandamby and Lokuarchchi then staged a dramatic recovery with a stand of 128 made at a rate of 7.5 runs per over. This put the tourists in a very strong position with 39 being required from 53 balls. Shahzad returned, however, and in the 42nd over removed Lokuarchchi, who was batting at number eight in the order, for a match-turning 77 from only 55 balls. He had struck seven fours and two sixes.
Two more wickets quickly followed: Kandamby was caught off the bowling of David Wainwright, giving the left-arm spinner his second victim, having made 66 from 77 balls, and Akalanka Ganegama was bowled by Shahzad. This left the Sri Lankans wanting 32 from their final 27 balls but with the last pair at the crease.
Prasad ‘held his nerve’ (Wisden) and with 28 from only 21 balls took his side to an unlikely victory with the relative comfort of ten balls to spare. Although Shahzad was the most successful bowler in terms of wicket-taking, Steve Patterson was the most economical, his nine overs costing only 33 runs.
Sri Lanka A completed their tour with just two more games. Each of these was a three-day first-class fixture, a draw against the Indians, whose full Test side was also touring, was followed by a successful conclusion – a 154-run win over Durham.
Sri Lanka A’s 2007 match heroes:
Talina Kandamby was born in Colombo in 1982 and made his first-class debut aged 18 for Bloomfield CAC with whom he spent seven seasons before moving to Sinhalese SC. Unusually, Kandamby is a left-handed batsman and a leg-break bowler. Although he has not played Test cricket he has appeared in 38 one-day internationals; these included four on the tour of England in 2011, one being at Headingley. His final ODI occurred on that tour. His best year in a Sri Lanka shirt was 2009 when he scored 548 runs in 14 games at an average of just under 50. His 11 innings included four half-centuries.
Kandamby has scored over 5000 runs in all limited-overs matches (211 games) including three centuries. At first-class level his most notable feat is the scoring of a triple-century. This occurred in the 2012/13 season in a game at the P Sara Oval, Colombo, when he made 340 not out. Truth to tell, his side batted the Tamils out of the game by taking two days to score 787 for eight before a declaration came and leaving only one day for the rest of the game. Kandamby scored his runs out of 546 made while he was at the wicket, his innings including 40 fours and eight sixes, his runs coming from only 367 balls.
Kandamby continues to be a success in his country’s domestic cricket. In the 2013/14 season he averaged over 60 in both first-class and limited-overs matches.
Kaushal Lokuarachchi has a career-pattern which follows a similar line to that of Kandamby. He also was born in Colombo in 1982, also made his first-class debut aged 18 and also played for Bloomfield and Sinhalese. Lokuarachchi, however, also played for Wayamba for two seasons. His international cricket consisted of four Tests and 21 ODIs. All of these were played in the period 2002/03 to 2007/08 although his only T20 Internationals (two games) came in 2012. A right-handed batsman and leg-break bowler, Lokuarachchi’s figures make him out as a genuine all-rounder. His 139 first-class games have brought him over 4500 runs and 370 wickets while in his 148 limited-overs matches he has scored over 2000 runs and taken almost 200 wickets.
Lokuarachchi’s best performance with the ball in first-class cricket came in the 2005/06 season when he was the main factor in Singha SC being bowled out for a mere 36. Lokuarachchi’s figures of seven for 17 in nine overs were the main factor in his side winning by six wickets. In limited-overs matches his best return was figures of five for 27 early in his career. This was during the ICC Six Nations Challenge in 2001/02 when Sri Lanka A were playing against Kenya at Windhoek in Namibia. Unfortunately his analysis had no impact on the outcome as the game concluded as a no result match.
There is an unfortunate sequel to the story of this cricketer. On June 18 of this year Lokuarachchi was banned from cricket for 18 months. During his involvement in the Bangladesh Cricket League he had failed to report approaches regarding match-fixing and so suffered a penalty. However, the ban is not a long one and this talented player should be able to return to the game as a wiser player.
(YORKSHIRE v SRI LANKA A IN LIMITED-OVERS MATCHES)
Played 2, Yorkshire lost 2.
Highest individual innings:
Yorkshire 81 AW Gale Headingley 2007
Sri Lanka A 77 KS Lokuarachchi Headingley 2007
Yorkshire 5-51 A Shahzad Headingley 2007
Sri Lanka A 3-31 KTGD Prasad Headingley 2004
Most dismissals in an innings by a wicket-keeper:
3 (3 ct) HAPW Jayawardene Sri Lanka A Headingley 2004
Most catches in an innings by a fielder:
3 (2 ct) CR Gilbert Yorkshire Headingley 2007
A half-century and three wickets in the same match:
KS Lokuarachchi 77 & 3-59 Sri Lanka A Headingley 2007
*Text and statistics
compiled by Paul Dyson*