Sri Lankans 212 for 5 (Chandimal 60, Kusal Perera 51, Tharanga 50) & 373 drew with South African Invitation XI 289 (du Plooy 142, Kumara 3-36, Pradeep 3-41)
File photo – Dinesh Chandimal hit a quickfire 60 on the final day of the warm-up game © Associated Press
Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal hit fifties on the final day of the Sri Lankans’ practice match at Potchefstroom, which wound to a draw. Seven out of eight batsmen on tour have now struck half-centuries in the approach to the first Test, with four men having reached the milestone in the first innings. Angelo Mathews was the only batsman to miss out, but nevertheless spent time at the crease on Tuesday, hitting a 52-ball 37 before the match was called off.
Kusal Perera and Tharanga opened the innings after Nuwan Pradeep had quickly claimed the last two South African Invitation XI innings in the morning. They put on 91 together and were each retired out after reaching their half-centuries. Dinesh Chandimal then struck a 52-ball 60 that featured nine fours and a six, before being dismissed by left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin. Kusal Mendis had hit a fifty in the first innings, but also fell to Fortuin for two.
The batting group, in particular, will have emerged from the tour match with confidence – no drastic changes appear necessary to the top order that played in the home series against Australia. Sri Lanka are travel to Port Elizabeth on Wednesday ahead of their Boxing Day Test. The major point of contention may be the No. 3 spot, with Kusal Mendis having now settled in at No. 4. Kusal Perera is the leading contender to come in at first drop, but the management may consider Upul Tharanga for that position as well, following his success in Zimbabwe.
Questions remain about the make-up of the attack however. Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep appear sure to play, but Dushmantha Chameera‘s modest showing since his return from injury may hurt his chances of playing. Despite an unconvincing start to his career in Zimbabwe, Lahiru Kumara‘s 3 for 36 in the practice match has now put him in contention for the XI.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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