South African Invitation XI 285 for 8 (du Plooy 142, Kumara 3-36) trail Sri Lankans 373 (Kaushal 80, Olivier 4-54) by 88 runs
Lahiru Kumara, Sri Lanka’s 19-year-old seamer, boosted his chances of playing the first Test in Port Elizabeth by claiming three wickets on day two of the practice match at Potchefstroom. Dushmantha Chameera, meanwhile, went wicketless and proved expensive, conceding 68 runs from his 10 overs. The Sri Lankans had the South African Invitation XI 285 for 8 by stumps. The visitors had made 373 in the first innings.
Kumara may not have been in the likely XI for the Port Elizabeth match after taking only three wickets across two Tests in Zimbabwe. However, team management may consider him on the basis of form. Among his three wickets was the scalp of Leus du Plooy, who top scored for the Invitation XI with 142 off 159 deliveries. He also claimed the scalps of allrounders Jason Smith and Bjorn Fortuin, with the latter caught behind.
Dinesh Chandimal wore the gloves for the Sri Lankans, having now sufficiently recovered from the broken hand he sustained in September. Chandimal took three catches and effected a stumping off Dilruwan Perera’s bowling.
The seam attack appears Sri Lanka’s shakiest discipline heading into the Tests, and, among the other frontline quicks, only Nuwan Pradeep was able to take a wicket, removing the highly-rated Aiden Markram to end the day with figures of 1 for 37.
Suranga Lakmal also went wicketless, but it is Chameera’s form Sri Lanka will be most concerned about, as he is the only bowler capable of consistently bowling at speeds in excess of 140 kph. Before Sri Lanka left the island, Chameera had made a modest return to competitive cricket, taking 2 for 76 in a first-class game, though that had been on a spin-friendly pitch.
The visitors will be buoyed, however, by a successful return to bowling from Angelo Mathews. Having been laid low by multiple leg injuries in recent months, Mathews took 2 for 15 from his seven overs. Dilruwan Perera also took two scalps for 22, but is unlikely to play in Port Elizabeth over Rangana Herath.
Earlier in the day, Dhananjaya de Silva had managed to add only five runs to his overnight score, as he and Upul Tharanga were dismissed by seamer Duanne Olivier.
Sri Lanka remain 88 runs ahead in the innings, with Tuesday being the final day of play.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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